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Why looking after animals during calamities reflects on our humanity

By Bim Santos Published Nov 02, 2020 6:48 am Updated Nov 02, 2020 7:01 am

"The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members," goes a well worn out saying. During times of natural disasters, an oft looked upon community member that is dismally overlooked during the mad scramble for self-preservation is none other than our dear animals.

Whether they be pets or livestock, such animals are often only given second thought during evacuation procedures, like what happened to the woeful Taal horses left to their helpless selves after the eruption of Taal Volcano last January. It wasn't only until weeks after the eruption when the horses were finally rescued, after photos and videos of their awful state blanketed in every inch by the ashfall circulated on social media.

In the wake of Typhoon Rolly, some users have documented rare scenes where residents evacuated along with their furry friends.

On its Facebook page, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society also shared a number of pet safety measures during emergencies.

In a widely shared Facebook post, an animal advocacy group also urged residents not to abandon their animals during a calamity.

Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo also called on local government units to put up evacuation centers for animals to better ensure a more thorough evacuation process during natural disasters.

Robredo said that based on experience, a number of evacuees at times insist to stay in their homes despite an unfolding disaster because of their pets or livestock.

“Kapag ganitong sakuna at nagfo-forced evacuation, may mga lumulusot pa rin na ang mga pinapa-evacuate lang ay mga babae, mga seniors, mga bata,” Robredo said in her radio show.

“Kaya kahapon ni-remind ko na naman sila na dapat may evacuation center na ang mga hayop para wala nang dahilan para magpaiwan kasi minsan kahit forced evacuation talagang may mga tumatago,” Robredo added.