Welfare of animals in disasters


In 2017, the welfare of animals in disasters was identified as a new priority topic for the 2nd Action Plan of the OIE Platform on Animal Welfare for Europe.

The OIE Platform on Animal Welfare for Europe for in collaboration with the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise “G. Caporale” / OIE Collaborating Center (IZSAM) have consequently developed a 3-year stepwise pilot approach on natural disaster preparedness which main objective is to assist the European OIE Member Countries build a culture of preparedness among Veterinary Services and relevant stakeholders. This is to encourage the development of Veterinary Services Contingency Plans (VS-CP) for animal welfare during natural disaster situations and ensure appropriate livestock, wildlife, and companion animal welfare assistance during and after natural disasters with flooding scenario used as an example.

Following the conclusion of this project, three out of nine participating countries (Bulgaria, Romania, and North Macedonia) developed their VS-CPs. The other countries remained committed to further building their preparedness, strengthening competencies, and improving Veterinary Services’ skills on contingency planning for farm, companion, and wild animal welfare. The aims are ensuring the continuity with the pilot project by closely analysing challenges, and developing new actions based on the knowledge and experiences gained at regional level. It will pave the way to the implementation of the 4th Action Plan initiatives on DMRR and further contribute to strengthen the Veterinary Services’ operational capacity to deal with animal welfare emergencies from an “One Health” perspective.



In addition, WOAH published Guidelines on disaster management and risk reduction in relation to animal health, animal welfare and veterinary public health, with the aim of strengthening the capacity of Veterinary Services in its Members (link). Experience has shown that the prospects for sustainable recovery from natural disasters in affected communities are closely linked to the condition of their animals.

More on developments in animal welfare [info on the WOAH website]