In recent years, Australia has been crippled by disasters, including devastating bushfires, droughts, storms, earthquakes and floods.
These events can cause huge financial and emotional hardship for individuals and communities and can often result in significant loss of life.
Consequently there have been a growing number of government agencies and non- government organisations working in the area of disaster management, from both a humanitarian and animal welfare perspective.
There have been many lessons learnt in recent years, lessons that can be shared across this network and incorporated into disaster management plans to ensure that there is adequate provision for animals, as well as humans, in emergencies.
Building stronger partnerships, within this network, will also facilitate greater opportunities for collaboration in disaster planning, preparedness, response and recovery.
Building Resilience: Animals and Communities Coping in Emergencies
In May 2011, the World Society for the Protection and Animals (WSPA) assisted the Dept of Agriculture and the Dept of Primary Industries (DPI VIC) in delivering a workshop focused on animals in disasters.
This workshop highlighted the need for animals to be integrated into disaster planning and identified critical issues that needed to be addressed to improve future emergency management arrangements for companion animals, wildlife and livestock.
The national workshop in 2012 Building Resilience: Animals and Communities Coping in Emergencies aimed to build on the outcomes of the 2011 workshop.
The Building Resilience workshop was co-funded by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) Australia and the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS).
Agreement was reached at the workshop that a coordinating group would be established to develop a national plan, which aligns with the current Commonwealth of Australian Government (COAG) natural disaster policy.
Download the full report from the workshop here
Building Capability in Communities: A National Approach to Animals in Disasters
From 24th to 25th September 2013 in Melbourne, World Society for the Protection of Animals and the Department of Agriculture - Australian Animal Welfare Strategy, co-hosted the third annual stakeholder workshop on animals in disasters: Building Capability in Communities: A National Approach to Animals in Disasters.
Delegates at the workshop reflected upon progress over the past twelve months towards the vision of animal welfare being accepted as core to emergency management.
Achievements include the formation of the National Advisory Committee for Animals in Emergencies and endorsement of the National Planning Principles for Animals in Disasters by the national Animal Welfare Committee in June 2013. There is also progress being made towards integration of animals into emergency management planning within many jurisdictions at state/territory and local government level. Progress in Australia is not occurring in isolation, with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) creating an ad hoc working group on animals in disasters.
Download the proceedings from the workshop here
Download the speaker summaries here