A report by Economists at Large on World Animal Protection's disaster management work

This report by Tristan Knowles of Economists at Large, looks at the economics of World Animal Protection’s 2012 drought intervention in Chihuahua, Mexico.

In 2012 World Animal Protection undertook a disaster assessment needs analysis of exceptional drought conditions which occurred in Chihuahua, Mexico in 2011.  It is the third economic assessment which World Animal Protection has commissioned from our Disaster Management work. The first two studies presented an economic case for responding in disasters to the needs of animals, whereas this report evaluated the potential economic benefits of taking action before a disaster occurs.

The state of Chihuahua, located in north-west Mexico, is the largest state in Mexico and is home to nearly 3.5 million people.  The climatic conditions here make the area prone to droughts, and poor land management has exacerbated the impacts of those droughts.  The beef cattle industry is the most significant industry in Chihuahua and World Animal Protection’s calculations concluded that over 30,000 cattle were affected in three particular regions assessed. It was therefore identified that drought intervention activities in Chihuahua should focus on land management practices. This intervention is essentially a mitigation programme designed to improve producers’ resilience to drought conditions through improve land and water management.

This economic assessment of World Animal Protection's activities in Chihuahua, found that the potential economic impact of our mitigation program is seven dollars of benefits for every dollar spent. This is based on the situation in which the mitigation program leads to improved condition of animals during future drought events, compared with the condition had the mitigation not taken place.  We believe that understanding the benefit of funding in mitigation and disaster risk reduction, is key to ensuring future investment and reducing suffering and losses.

Read the full report.