They seem invisible, they do not appear on televisions or in the news, the damage to them is practically not accounted for. But the animals are also suffering the harsh consequences of the storm Filomena.
For days it was warned of the arrival of a historic snowfall, the snow of the century, something that would be completely unusual and extraordinary. And no, Madrid was not prepared. Not remotely.
Despite the efforts of professionals, technicians and volunteers, we have witnessed absolute inefficiency in the before and total disaster in the during and after. The management of this storm of exceptional dimensions has been improvised on the fly.
This for the animals means that no one assured sufficient food, water or adequate shelter for the feline colonies, for the ornamental animals that live in parks and gardens such as turkeys, geese, geese or swans. Neither for urban fauna, such as sparrows, pigeons, blackbirds, robins, blue tit, chickadee, squirrels or rabbits that inhabit the green areas of the city.
Mayor Almeida must have thought that “they will find their lives.”
And the result has been hundreds of huts buried under the snow, many with animals locked inside, others trapped in the sewers, dead birds in the streets due to starvation due to the impossibility of finding food, managers of feline colonies authorized by the Madrid City Council that For days they have not been able to feed the animals they care for or check their health. Etc.
Neighbors have also had to take charge of animal protection, organizing trips in 4×4 vehicles to take the teams to the animal shelters and clean the entrances, to collect kilos and kilos of feed in the face of shortages, to relocate the elderly, sick and more vulnerable animals after the damage to their facilities, rescuing animals trapped in the ice, renting machinery because no one opened the access to many shelters and shelters, taking hypothermic animals to the vet and paying out of pocket for the necessary treatments for their Recovery. Etc.
No, the animals did not seek life.
In a city like Madrid, we live with a multitude of species whose degree of dependence on human activity is very high. And an extreme and unknown situation to date, like this storm, is exactly the same for animals.
For them, finding streets, vegetation, fountains, ponds, meadows or rooftops turned into blocks of ice is as unusual and dangerous as it is for us. The places where they usually found food were buried under the snow, and the difficulty to protect themselves from unbearable temperatures when their nests and shelters suddenly disappeared has caused a real drama for those other species with which we share the city.
We are living in times of climatic emergency where extreme phenomena like this storm will be increasingly frequent. Ignoring it, downplaying it or hiding it as if this were not the reality we face is irresponsible.
We need a firm commitment to reducing our impact on the environment and to socially just and responsible forms of relationship, production and consumption. And that our municipalities and communities evolve towards an increasingly resilient model, with a determined adaptation to climate change. And in that adaptation, we cannot forget about the animals again.
That is why numerous entities and specialized groups have been demanding emergency plans and protocols that include animals for years, demanding that we plan adequate responses for their needs, that we ensure sufficient adequate resources for their rescue, for their evacuation, for their care and recovery. in case you need it. That we leave behind the images of animals buried, drowned, burned or seriously damaged because no one planned what would happen to them, or who would help them in case of emergencies or catastrophes.
Animals are also victims of the policies of “for himself who can.” Animal protection cannot be improvised.