Washington, D.C – Today Dina Titus of Nevada’s First Congressional District joined with Rodney Davis of Illinois’ Thirteenth Congressional District to introduce the Providing Responsible Emergency Plans for Animals at Risk of Emerging Disasters (PREPARED) Act. The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by over 115 Members of Congress.
The bill would require entities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act – such as zoos, commercial animal dealers, and research facilities – to have contingency plans in place to safely evacuate and care for animals in an emergency or disaster situation.
“Sadly, through countless disasters, we’ve witnessed that if animal facilities do not have a plan in place when emergency strikes, it is already too late,” said Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). “The safety of animals shouldn’t be an afterthought. This bipartisan bill will ensure that zoos, commercial breeders, and research centers are able to save the lives of animals under their care by preparing for disasters ahead of time. I’m grateful for the support of Representative Davis and the many animal advocacy organizations that are helping advance this important legislation.”
“When natural disasters strike animals are put in danger the same as people and property which is why it is imperative those caring for them have an emergency plan in place,” said Congressman Davis (IL-13). “The bill that Rep. Titus and I are introducing will require USDA-regulated facilities to have a disaster emergency plan in place to ensure the welfare of the animals under their care.”
“The unprecedented winter storms in Texas demonstrate how a lack of preparation for disasters can lead to dire consequences for animals as well as the humans who risk their lives to protect them,” said ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker. “Facilities that hold licenses under the Animal Welfare Act bear a special responsibility to plan ahead for severe weather, fires, floods, and other emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, and we thank Representatives Titus and Davis for their efforts to protect these very vulnerable animals.”
“Laboratories, zoos, dealers, and other licensed and registered entities have an obligation to protect animals in their care from devastating natural and man-made disasters,” said Animal Welfare Institute President Cathy Liss. “These animals are at the mercy of these operations. The PREPARED Act would ensure that, in a crisis, every USDA-regulated facility is in a position to act on behalf of all of its animals.”
“Preparation is crucial to effective disaster response,” said Association of Zoos and Aquariums President and CEO Dan Ashe. “AZA-accredited zoo and aquariums are leaders in preparedness, and on behalf of our 240 member facilities we applaud Congresswoman Titus and her cosponsors for their leadership in introducing the PREPARED Act. In an era of changing climate and increasingly unpredictable and severe weather events, it is needed now, more than ever.”
“The devastation in Texas shines a spotlight on the increasing need for adequate disaster planning, and that extends to animals,” said Humane Society Legislative Fund President Sara Amundson. “The bipartisan PREPARED Act sets a common-sense requirement for puppy mills, roadside zoos and other regulated facilities to have plans in place to care for their animals. We hope Congress will follow the strong lead of Representatives Dina Titus and Rodney Davis and the more than 115 original cosponsors and quickly enact this crucial bill.”