AVA Natural Disaster Advocacy
The current Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), a cost-sharing initiative between the Australian Government and State/Territory Governments, commendably aids individuals, businesses, and communities following disasters. However, a critical gap exists in its provisions, as it fails to include emergency veterinary care for disaster-affected animals as an eligible relief and recovery measure. The consequences of this omission in DRFA have led to government support arrangements for disaster impacted animal welfare varying greatly across the jurisdictions, and often inadequate or non-existent. Despite the essential nature of these veterinary care services to disaster impacted animals, often the financial burden is relegated onto veterinary private practice. To ensure animal welfare is sufficiently supported, the AVA strongly believes that arrangements for veterinary services to disaster impacted animals needs to be clearly recognised at a national level through the DRFA to assist state and territory arrangements and establish assistance measures. This will ensure the provision of necessary veterinary services in disaster-stricken regions, safeguarding animal welfare and reducing the financial strain on private veterinary businesses. This inclusion is crucial for the overall resilience of our nation in the face of future natural disasters.
The AVA are advocating for all disaster impact reporting include data on animal injuries and deaths. Current disaster reporting frequently fails to account for the wide-ranging and devastating effects on animals, including livestock, companion animals, and wildlife, by omitting comprehensive statistics on animal injuries and fatalities. This oversight in disaster reporting contributes to a systemic underestimation of the impacts on animals, leading to a lack of government and public awareness, and consequently, insufficient support. Such animal welfare information would provide a more accurate reflection of the disaster's impacts, thereby prompting a more suitable response and support from government, veterinarians and the public.
The AVA has been highlighting the critical role that public awareness plays in ensuring animal welfare during disasters. There is a pressing need for increased government-funded public awareness campaigns specifically tailored towards animal disaster preparedness. Preparedness is the first line of defence against the detrimental effects of disasters. By Governments investing in public awareness campaigns, we can equip livestock and pet owners with the knowledge and tools needed to safeguard their animals' wellbeing. Such campaigns should focus on educating the public about the importance of creating disaster plans that include their animals, the value of microchipping and tagging for identification, evacuation arrangements, and knowledge what to do if their animal is injured or dies from the disaster. These measures can greatly assist in the event of a disaster and significantly reduce the pressures on emergency and veterinary services. Moreover, wildlife is often the forgotten victim in disaster situations. A public awareness campaign could help highlight the role citizens can play in protecting local wildlife, including understanding how to respond if they come across an injured wild animal in a disaster response.
AVA seeking information to inform disaster funding advocacy
To assist the AVA advocacy on national Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements veterinarians are requested to gather and share with the AVA information in the following areas:
- What has been lost or damaged in a disaster as it helps us keep track of the scale of losses industry wide.
- Any services and treatments to disaster impacted animals that has been provided pro bono or at reduced cost (both in time and resources).
Please send this information to email@example.com
Existing AVA Webpages
- Home Page Link: Animals in trouble: disaster response resources - Animals & Natural disasters
- AVA Other resources: Crisis resources (floods)
- Flood Updates & Information:
- 5 December 2022 – NSW Flooding 2022 September and onwards
- 14 November 2022 – VIC Assistance for veterinarian impacted by Victorian floods 2022
- 8 July 2022 – NSW Flooding – Support for veterinarians
- 22 March 2022 – Vets drowning in deluge of disaster animal care costs
- 18 March 2022 – Floods Update: Survey Results
- 11 March 2022 – Australian floods: what you can do and how you can help
- 11 March 2022 – Impacts of the floods crisis on the veterinary industry
- 28 February 2022 – Queensland and NSW Floods: Information for the veterinary profession