Monday, March 14, 2011

Equally catastrophic for animals

One newspaper photo showed a few people with a dog wandering through the wreckage after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan. That was the first reference of any kind to animals that I’ve seen since news of the event last weekend.

It’s hard to imagine how animals would have reacted to the killer quake and the giant waves that followed, utterly changing the world they knew. In all cases, they were unable to ask, “What happened?” or figure out what to do on their own. Imagine the terror they must have felt: first, the earth rumbled and moved; buildings collapsed and people panicked; then the "walls of water" swept away and destroyed all they encountered.

Also unknown: whether people took care of their animals while fleeing for their own lives. That Japan has strict building codes to minimize damage after quakes is well known. What’s not known: whether people had emergency/evacuation plans for the animals in their lives.

There are some reminders of Hurricane Katrina here. After it, we learned the Red Cross would not let people take their pets with them when they evacuated their homes. Still later, we heard about some pets who were sent elsewhere in the US after not being claimed by their people in New Orleans.

Is Humane Society International (HIS) doing anything to help the animals trapped by this horrific event? How about other animal welfare organizations? When will we hear from them about how animals fared in Japan and what these organizations are doing to help?


Lee Hall said...

Thank you, Pat Summers, for this important message.

I hear the death toll is expected to exceed 10,000. But humans, as you say, aren't the only communities in Japan. So we are really talking about a death toll of many tens of thousand lives.

I did hear that when the deadly waves swept the Taiji area, the dolphins could be heard crying. This was said on Twitter, and I don't recall the source. But would that be a surprise? I did find this:

Lee Hall said...

"...and loss of livestock..."