We’re Reminding the USDA to Protect Animals Before Disaster Strikes

July 12, 2021

black cat in a pink blanket being held by a rescuer

As a leader in disaster response, the ASPCA helps animals across the country affected by wildfires, tornados, winter weather and other disasters. We witness firsthand the devastating effects of failing to include animals in disaster planning.  

Animals living in businesses and institutional facilities—like zoos, research labs and puppy mills—are particularly vulnerable. Given the size and expense of rescue efforts, which are often undertaken by first responders and volunteer organizations, businesses that profit from animals should be required to have well-formed emergency response plans in place before emergencies strike.

Fortunately, thanks to advocacy efforts by the ASPCA and animal advocates around the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is finally moving forward with a long-overdue requirement to ensure that facilities regulated by the USDA under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) have plans in place to care for animals when disaster strikes. This forthcoming USDA requirement will mirror the goal of the PREPARED Act, federal legislation currently before Congress. 

It’s been over seven years since the USDA first delayed requiring disaster planning for animals. Natural disasters are on the rise, and this requirement is needed now more than ever. Any additional delay continues to put animals at risk. 

The USDA is accepting public comments on this topic for a limited time. Please contact the agency today to express your support for this vital requirement to keep animals protected during emergencies.