Doctor¹s group condemns authorities for forcing evacuees to leave pets behind
September 5, 2005 : 9:19 PM ET
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) says leaving pets aggravates trauma people have already experienced
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a pro-animal group that advocates vegetarianism, issued a press release Sunday evening criticizing authorities for making evacuees leave their pets behind, saying that such a practice ³aggravates the trauma the flood victims have already endured. For many, companion animals are like other family members.²
As Best Friends has reported, the policy of forcing evacuees to leave their pets behind when they board buses has been changed by local government. However, stories continue to emerge of evacuees refusing to leave on boats when they are told they cannot bring their pets with them, or of tearfully deciding to leave their cherished companions behind.
This issue has received increasing coverage from the national media, and the PCRM press release is even being mentioned on a crawler on CNN.
Following is the full press release:
Doctors Say Forcing Evacuees to Abandon
Companion Animals Traumatizes Them Further
Doctors from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine sharply criticized federal authorities carrying out the New Orleans evacuation for forcing evacuees to choose between their possessions and their companion animals.
A 98-year-old woman was forced to abandon her dogher only companion for many years. A small boy¹s dog was taken from his arms; he was told by police that animals could not be saved. A 34-year-old nurse was forced to choose between bringing her dogs with her in an evacuation boat and bringing medicines for her husbanda liver transplant patient.
PCRM psychiatrists said that being forced to leave animals behind aggravates the trauma the flood victims have already endured. For many, companion animals are like other family members. ³The evacuation process is already slow and difficult. It is only more painful when evacuees are forced to leave their animals behind, condemning them to a slow death by dehydration,² said PCRM ethologist Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D.
Abandoning animals is illegal under Louisiana law. PCRM experts in D.C. and other cities are available for interviews.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, especially good nutrition. PCRM also conducts clinical research studies, opposes unethical human experimentation, and promotes alternatives to animal research.
We must enact a "Snowball's Law" which would be a Federal Law that says that pets and companion animals are "family members" and are accorded the same rights as humans for emergency evacuation and emergency sheltering situations. I have written to my Congressional Representative and my two California Senators to urge them to create such a law.
Valerie Bennett, en el Hospital de Atlanta, rompe a llorar cuando piensa en los animales que fue obligada a dejar atrás.