Australia’s summer bushfires of 2019–20 were a reminder that animals are increasingly exposed to risks from changing climate conditions. In Australia, differing organisational approaches to managing owned animals in disasters can lead to different welfare and safety outcomes for animals and the people responsible for them. The need for consistency was reinforced by recent Australian royal commission findings. In 2014, the Australia-New Zealand Emergency Management Committee endorsed the National Planning Principles for Animals in Disasters, a tool supporting best practice in emergency planning and policy for animal welfare. This study examines current planning for animals in disasters in relation to the principles and describes their implementation in the Australian context. A national survey of organisation representatives with a stake in animal management in disasters (n=137) and addressing the national principles implementation was conducted from July to October 2020. Findings show moderate awareness of the principles by respondents and low to moderate implementation of these in planning processes and arrangements for animal welfare. Implementation of specific principles is described from the perspectives of stakeholders. Greater awareness of the national principles and attention to specific principles promotes consistency in animal welfare planning arrangements.
- Disaster response
- Australian disaster response
- Summer bushfires 2019-20
- Australia-New Zealand Emergency Management Committee
- National Planning Principles for Animals in Disasters
- Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements