Animal welfare in emergencies

Page last updated: Tuesday, 24 October 2023 - 1:08pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

An emergency such as fire, extreme weather (cyclones), floods, hazardous chemicals, pollutants and others may endanger the safety of livestock, horses, companion animals and wildlife.

It is the responsibility of landholders to properly plan for emergencies in order to keep their animals safe. The best protection is to be prepared for a range of hazards and threats, and to plan how you will both respond to and recover from emergency situations.

Emergency preparedness should also include safeguards in place not only for animals but also for animal owners. Responding to emergencies can vary from changes to food and water management through to evacuation or relocation.

The best emergency preparedness starts with identifying, prioritising, and mitigating issues to ensure protection and safety not only for your animals but also yourself. Proper planning can ensure that property owners can protect their animals without putting at risk the safety of both themselves and rescue workers. Planning can ensure good decision-making instead of risky behaviours such as refusal to evacuate, attempts at re-entry into unsafe areas, or unsafe rescue attempts.

When planning for the management of animals in emergency situations, landholders need to consider how to be prepared for an emergency, how they will respond to the emergency, and how they will recover following the emergency.


Amanda Nardi-Wallace