Making it simple – protecting animals from disasters in Tamil Nadu, India

Posted on 13/11/2019 by Guest Blogger

Droughts, floods, cyclones and even tsunamis regularly threaten the lives of the 140 million farm animals of India’s Tamil Nadu State.

Your generosity is helping us use innovative ways to support owners in the most vulnerable areas protect their animals, cattle, buffaloes, goats, pigs, sheep and poultry. We visited  57 villages, inhabited by 181,120 people and 22,235 farm animals, in the Tamil Nadu districts of Ramanathapuram and Cuddalore during July and August. And through community events, we highlighted how people could protect their animals before disasters strike and what to do in their aftermath. We also encouraged them to sign an animal protection pledge.

 “In these areas it is vital that people understand the simple steps they can take to save their animals from suffering and protect their livelihoods,” said Hansen Thambi Prem, our disaster project manager.

“We want them to be able to identify the safe areas, shelters and evacuation routes close to their village for their animals. Preparing basic emergency kits with necessary emergency contacts and key documents are vital too.”

During our community activities, we also encouraged local people to sign a request calling for the Tamil Nadu government to introduce a state animal disaster management plan.

“India’s national disaster management plan, which we helped develop, was released in 2016. It is vital in giving animals the recognition they deserve and the protection they need, but it needs to be backed up by corresponding state plans“ says Hansen.

He explains that these plans should provide comprehensive details of the role of each state’s department of animal husbandry in protecting animals before, during and after disasters. They also help governments allocate resources – the money, people power and equipment needed.

Shakuntala, a 45-year-old farmer from Vadathalaikulam village, Cuddalore district, said she welcomed the World Animal Protection team’s advice.  She explained that during the last cyclone she was devastated by the loss of her cattle.

“Then, I wasn’t aware of any disaster plan to protect my animals, now after this awareness programme, I realise the importance of them in making sure my animals are evacuated on time to keep them safe. I also hope that the government will give us the necessary information and support in time.” 

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