It is vital to have a contingency plan in the event of a natural disaster.
This may include taking the following actions:
If you intend to evacuate your property and cannot take your animals with you, ensure they are in a safe place.
- Move livestock to higher ground if there is a risk that lower areas may become flooded. This may also mean opening gates and giving animals access to other paddocks or areas to escape rising waters or out of control bushfires. If possible, keep a map of where you are placing animals in case you are unable to return to your property and other people need to know where they are.
- Remove or clear flammable items – especially near where animals might be kept. Remove rugs and halters from horses as these can often burn or melt.
- Purchase emergency fodder supplies and store them in a safe place, preferably under cover. Ensure that animals have sufficient stocks of food, medication and water to last a period of emergency.
- Confine your animals in a safe place, preferably inside and under cover, and ensure they have access to plenty of water.
- Ensure that animals can be identified to help facilitate their return in case they become lost and displaced. Effective methods of identification include brands, NLIS devices, microchips and name tags.
- Keep stock registers up to date and in a safe place.
- Secure loose objects around the home that may become airborne during high winds and cause damage to animals and property.
- Move animals to an alternative property if practical.
If you are in charge of an animal, you have a duty of care to that animal – no matter why you are in charge of it, what you are using it for or how long it will be in your care. Duty of care is based on the internationally recognised \’5 freedoms\’ of animal welfare.
If you have a duty of care for an animal, you are legally obliged by the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 to provide \’appropriate care\’ for it by providing for its needs in a reasonable way.
- providing food and water
- providing accommodation or living conditions
- understanding your animal\’s normal behavioural patterns
- treating disease and injury
- handling the animal appropriately.
Caring for animals in natural disasters
There are some simple steps to follow when addressing the needs of animals in natural disasters:
- Make sure your animals have clean water and food.
- Be careful when handling animals, as they may be frightened or disorientated.
- Be aware of straying stock and wildlife, and be careful on the roads.
- Do not allow animals in extreme distress to suffer.
- Contact your local veterinarian regarding sick or injured animals, and contact the RSPCA or your local council regarding lost and found animals.
For more information see the Get Ready Queensland website @getready.qld.gov.au and Business Queensland @business.qld.gov.au