Save the animals during calamities – Palatino

A LAWMAKER wants the inclusion of livestock in the disaster preparedness and response program of the government during calamities.

Rep. Raymond Palatino (Party-list, Kabataan), author of House Resolution 2621, said a common problem during disaster response efforts, especially in rural communities is the refusal of residents to evacuate without their animals despite the clear and present danger.

“Farmers refuse to leave their livestock which usually include water buffalos, cows, pigs, chickens and goats, as these are their main source of livelihood,” Palatino said.

Palatino said under Republic Act 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act of 1998, the state is duty-bound to protect animals, as it states that it is unlawful to neglect or to provide adequate care, sustenance or shelter to animal.

Palatino said animals are highly valued as source of food, income, transport and recreation in the country.

Palatino said livestock and poultry account for roughly 30 percent of the total agriculture output, second only to the crop sector in terms of value contributed to the agricultural industry.

Palatino cited the Emergency Support function 11 (ESF 11) of the State of Louisiana in the United States addressing all hazard preparedness and response to emergencies related to food, agriculture, livestock, and even household pets.

“The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the lead agency for evacuation and sheltering of household pets during declared disaster, has also prepared guidelines that will help owners prepare to evacuate their livestock and household pets at the time they evacuate themselves from threatened areas,” Palatino said.

Palatino cited a familiar quote from Indian philosopher Mahatma Gandhi who said that “a nation’s moral progress may be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

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