Sir Roger Gale
Member of Parliament for North Thanet (Margate, Herne Bay & The Villages)
Disasters Emergency Committee – Need for Animal Welfare Representation
August 5th 2010
North Thanet`s MP Roger Gale (Conservative) has again called for animal welfare charities to be included on the board of the Disasters Emergency Committee.
The demand comes in the light of the DEC appeal for funds to assist with rescue work following the floods in Pakistan.
The MP, who is a Trustee of SPANA (The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) said this morning:
“This is not some dewy-eyed bunny-hugging plea: it is a hard-nosed life-saving reality that has been proved over and over again that if you do not save livestock at the same time that you save human life then in the longer term more people will continue to die.
There is an impression that “we must save women and children first” and, of course, every effort has to be made to rescue people who are stranded, in danger and without water and food. But unless a simultaneous effort is made to save donkeys, goats and other livestock then in the long-run, once the floods have receded and the media spotlight has moved on, people left without any means to sustain themselves will starve to death. There is, I would suggest, small point in saving life today only to perpetuate the system that means that some of those lives will be lost tomorrow.
In Darfur this situation has occurred not once but twice. In Kenya SPANA unilaterally worked to save thousands of animals. In Haiti the livestock has been decimated. And in Pakistan we are seeing that in some areas a donkey is more use in assisting the rescue effort than mechanised transport.
The DEC does good work but it is an exclusive “club” that has resisted the inclusion of animal welfare representation for too long and I believe that the time has come for Government to intervene and, in the interests of life-saving humanity, insist that animal rescue is afforded the representation and priority that its importance warrants”.