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Emergency Evacuation Plans Needed for Animals Used in Commerce

Emergency Evacuation Plans Needed for Animals Used in Commerce 

Name: Providing Responsible Emergency Plans for Animals at Risk of Emerging Disasters (PREPARED) Act

Bill Number: HR 1042

Recent natural and man-made disasters have highlighted the need for planning to minimize their devastating impact, particularly on animals and the people who risk their lives to protect them.

When disasters strike, it is local first responders, non-governmental agencies and private individuals who assume the responsibility of rescuing, housing and caring for stranded animals. This bill would extend this responsibility to those who use animals commercially – including research facilities, dealers, exhibitors, intermediate handlers and carriers – by requiring that these persons demonstrate a level of readiness to protect the animals under their care through the development and implementation of emergency evacuation plans.

After Hurricane Katrina, federal legislation was passed to require states to consider animals in their disaster planning. Now it is time to require the same consideration from those who use animals for commercial gain. This requirement alone could save thousands of animals during times of natural and man-made disasters.

 

Call to Actions:

  1. Please contact your U.S. Representative and urge them to support this legislation.
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  • Your Representative

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Message

Emergency Evacuation Plans for Animals Needed for Animals in Commercial Settings

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask your support for the Providing Responsible Emergency Plans for Animals at Risk of Emerging Disasters (PREPARED) Act, HR 1042. This bill would require commercial establishments to develop and implement emergency evacuation plans for animals under their care in the event of a disaster.

With the destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, there was no shortage of images of animals who were abandoned, displaced and in need of rescue. When natural disasters or emergencies devastate a region, it is local first responders, non-governmental agencies and private individuals who assume the responsibility of rescuing, housing and caring for stranded animals.

Many of these animals could have avoided harm--and could have, in turn, kept their rescuers out of harm's way--if commercial establishments had developed and implemented proper emergency evacuation procedures.

One example: In 2001, tens of thousands of lab animals drowned when Hurricane Allison flooded the Houston area. A few years later, thousands of research animals died during Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Acknowledging these devastating numbers, Houston research facilities took precautions to protect against disasters by installing doors and floodgates to minimize the risk of flooding during storm surges. These precautions proved successful when lab animals in the Houston area were safe during and after the enormous flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. This is direct evidence that requiring commercial facilities to demonstrate a level of readiness to protect animals under their care could save the lives of thousands of animals.

The PREPARED Act would amend the Animal Welfare Act to require all commercial facilities regulated by the AWA--including federal research facilities, dealers, exhibitors, intermediate handlers and carriers--to develop and implement a contingency plan that would provide humane treatment, transportation and housing of animals during any emergency or disaster.

Advance planning for emergencies makes a difference for both animals and the economy. I hope that you will give your full support to the passage of this measure.

Thank you for your consideration of this bill.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]