Inflatable ambassadors remind governments to protect animals in disasters

May 16 2019

We couldn’t take real animals to the United Nations disasters conference in Geneva, so we brought six large inflatable animal ambassadors with us instead!

On Wednesday, May 15, the World Animal Protection team were poised in the Place Des Nations outside the Geneva UN building to send a message to UN officials: Don't forget animals in disasters.

We brought along inflatable animals - a goat, pig (named Florence), camel, cow, dog, and horse - to act as a voice for real animals and to symbolize the millions of animals in need of protection against disasters.

They’re representing six of our global organizations – India, Brazil, Thailand, USA, Kenya, and Costa Rica.

Our inflatable pig in his 'home country' USA, before making the journey to Geneva

Governments and organizations were close by at the UN Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, discussing how best to reduce the impact disasters have on the world.

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Why protect animals?

When it comes to disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods, animals are often left behind.

They suffer the same terrible effects as people – injury, starvation, thirst, displacement, illness and stress – so they deserve to be protected, too.

More than one billion of the world’s poorest people rely on animals for food, transport, livelihoods and companionship.

So, by helping animals stay safe in disasters, we’re helping people as well.

Our message is clear: Don’t forget them

It’s vital that governments remember animals in global discussions on disaster risk reduction, disaster plans, and investments.

Without action, animals will continue to suffer and die as result of disasters.

People’s livelihoods, social structures and economies will continue to break down.  

A cow in flood water in Mozambique after Cyclone Idai

Gerardo Huertas, our Global Director of Disaster Management, said: "Animals are sentient beings. They suffer in similar ways to people and depend on us for protection when a disaster strikes. The suffering and loss of animals due to disasters affects emotional wellbeing and even cultural identities. They are our companions and play a major role in the lives and social structures of communities. 

"We hope governments will include animals in their disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies. This will help contribute to better animal welfare and strengthen the resilience of people, businesses, communities and countries after a disaster strikes."

We’ll continue using the inflatables to spread our important message after the Geneva event.

Follow us on Instagram and stay tuned to our stories to follow the inflatable animals’ journeys.

The inflatables are a symbol of the millions of animals in need of protection against disasters.

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