Pets are family, keep them safe: A review of emergency animal management in remote First Nations communities

Chelsea Smart, Tida Nou, Jonatan Lassa

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Planning for and considering animals is a growing area within emergency and disaster planning. As people adapt to the changing risks of disaster events that are increasing in magnitude and frequency, communities, particularly those in regional and remote areas of Australia, face challenges that are very different from other more populated areas. These communities are often home to pets, which pose unique challenges during evacuation, response and recovery phases of emergency management. Australian state and territory government emergency management plans give varied considerations to animal management. In the Northern Territory, the Territory Emergency Plan (Northern Territory Government 2022) serves as a base for animal management in disasters. However, significant reform is required to fill gaps in considerations of animals in remote communities, especially First Nations communities, given the strong socio-cultural connections within family structures and contributions to wellbeing under First Nations health worldviews and the human-animal bond. Such reform requires consultation and collaboration with First Nations Australians to promote ‘right-way’ science, build local capacity and support community resilience. Considerations of the interplay between people and their pets in disaster planning, response and recovery contributes to ongoing advances in the ‘One Health’ and ‘One Welfare’ paradigms.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberajem-2024-02_06
Pages (from-to)20-29
JournalAustralian Journal of Emergency Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


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