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Articles on Animal Emergencies

This is a collection of articles on Animal Emergencies from JAAWS in relation to the studies of the human-animal relationship.  The Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (JAAWS) is the leading peer-reviewed journal on the science of animal welfare for veterinarians, scientists and public policy makers. It presents articles and reports on practices that demonstrably enhance the welfare of wildlife, companion animals and animals used in research, agriculture and zoos. To read these articles, please join ASI as a scholar or professional member!

Caring During Crisis: Animal Welfare During Pandemics and Natural Disasters. Suzanne T. Millman. Volume 11, Issue 2. Pages 85-89.

From April 29 to May 1, 2007, the University of Guelph hosted a symposium, Caring During Crisis: Animal Welfare During Pandemics and Natural Disasters, with the objectives (a) of raising awareness about how nonhuman animals and the people who care for them are affected during emergencies and (b) of sharing knowledge about how animal welfare may be addressed during these situations. The symposium attracted 150 participants, representing 71 organizations from across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Chile, and the Cayman Islands. The audience also brought a range of perspectives to the issues – from individuals representing animal protection and commodity organizations to municipal government officials responsible for community safety and correctional services; many of these individuals had little or no animal experience. To take advantage of this diverse audience and range of interests, the symposium was structured with formal presentations by internationally recognized experts, followed by panel discussions at the end of each session to facilitate contributions by the audience. At the conclusion of the 3 days, it was clear that our emotional, economic, and ecological relationships with animals require thoughtful integration of animal care within formal policy and planning for emergency response.

Emergency and Disaster Planning at Ohio Animal Shelters. Shanna M. Decker, Linda K. Lord, William L. Walker & Thomas E. Wittum. Volume 13, Issue 1. Pages 66-76.

Results of a cross-sectional study to determine the level of emergency and disaster response planning at Ohio nonhuman animal shelters and the role Ohio agencies have in emergency and disaster response planning in their communities indicated a lack of preparedness coupled with underutilization of the agencies as a resource. A total of 115 agencies (68%) responded to a standardized survey mailed to 170 Ohio agencies. Most (68%) agencies agreed that emergency and disaster response planning was important to their organization, although only 13% of agencies had completed a written emergency and disaster response plan. The majority (80%) of agencies indicated they would provide critical resources in an emergency or disaster in their community. Only 38 (33%) of the responding agencies were aware of the PETS Act of 2006. Although many agencies indicated the importance of an emergency and disaster plan, there may be insufficient resources, including time and proper training, available to ensure plans are developed. Improved coordination among veterinarians, local veterinary medical associations, emergency preparedness agencies, and animal shelters would enhance the relief efforts in a crisis.

How Is Animal Welfare Addressed in Canada’s Emergency Response Plans? Carin Wittnich & Michael Belanger. Volume 11, Issue 2. Pages 125-132.

In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita clearly revealed that even in the United States the welfare of companion animals and nonhuman animals in the wild, zoo, or aquarium was not considered within the evacuation plans for their human caretakers (owners). The lack of proper planning and trained individuals resulted in a huge loss of animal life as well as suffering and trauma to both animals and their owners. The present Canadian Federal Emergency Response Plan does not have adequate procedures for the evacuation of animals together with their owners, nor do Canada or the provinces and territories have a plan in place that consists of properly trained and equipped individuals to respond to this aspect of disaster management. The Canadian Veterinary Reserve (CVR) was thus organized at a national level to respond properly to disasters or emergencies of all types and thereby reduce animal suffering and loss of life. This article describes the formation of the CVR and its anticipated national role in addressing animal welfare during times of catastrophic need.

Testing Refrigeration Trucks for the Emergency Evacuation of Companion Animals, Vaughan A. Langman, Nancy Ellifrit, Debra Sime, Mike Rowe & Allan Hogue, JAAWS,  Vol. 18, No. 4, 2015.

The purpose of this study was to quantify the changes in oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) in sealed refrigerator trucks scheduled to be used for transporting companion animals (dogs and cats) during an emergency evacuation. A total of 122 nonhuman animals (total weight = 1,248 kg) housed in individual crates were loaded into a 16-m refrigeration truck. Once they were loaded, the doors were closed and the percentages of O2 and CO2 were measured every 5 min by O2 and CO2 analyzers, and they were used to quantify the changes in gas pressure in the sealed truck. CO2 had a much higher-than-predicted increase, and O2 had a higher-than-predicted decrease. These 2 pressures in combination with the functionality of the respiratory system will limit the animal’s ability to load O2, and over time, they will initiate asphyxia or suffocation. Over time, the partial pressure of oxygen (PO2) in the sealed truck will decrease, causing hypoxia, and the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2) will increase, causing hypercapnia.

Why Should We Care About Nonhuman Animals During Times of Crisis?. Michael C. Appleby & Tonya Stokes. Volume 11, Issue 2. Pages 90-97.

Incentives to care for nonhuman animals derive in part from the extent to which people depend on animals for food, for livelihood, and for cultural and psychological reasons as well as from the duty to protect animals in their care. When attention is turned to solving and preventing animal welfare problems at times of crisis, it becomes clear that those problems are also associated with problems for human welfare and environmental impact. The incidence and spread of animal diseases is affected by how animals are treated, and this can have very important effects. Similarly, during disasters caused by either natural or human-made events, outcomes for animals are important both in themselves and for their effects on humans and the environment. The need to plan and prepare to care for animals in advance of disease pandemics and disasters—and then to provide coordinated, measured management in response when such crises occur—requires collaboration between all agencies involved as well as increasing attention and resources.

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