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Animals 2012, 2(3), 380-394;

Companion Animals, Natural Disasters and the Law: An Australian Perspective

Griffith Law School, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, 4111, Australia
Received: 1 August 2012 / Revised: 20 August 2012 / Accepted: 22 August 2012 / Published: 27 August 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Management Following Natural Disasters)
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Simple Summary

One of the issues raised by recent natural disasters in Australia is the management of companion animal welfare in disaster planning, response and recovery. Official inquiries following these disasters uncovered a number of shortcomings in addressing the management of animal welfare issues. This article suggests that despite some reform following these events, disaster management still fails to take seriously the interests of companion animals.


This article examines the regulation of companion animal welfare during disasters, with some context provided by two recent major disaster events in Australia. Important general lessons for improved disaster management were identified in subsequent inquiries. However, the interests of companion animals continue to be inadequately addressed. This is because key assumptions underpinning disaster planning for companion animals—the primacy of human interests over animal interests and that individuals will properly address companion animal needs during times of disaster—are open to question. In particular these assumptions fail to recognise the inherent value of companion animals, underestimate the strong bond shared by some owners and their animals and, at the same time, overestimate the capacity of some owners to adequately meet the needs of their animals. View Full-Text
Keywords: companion animals; pets; natural disasters; law; property; Australia companion animals; pets; natural disasters; law; property; Australia
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

White, S. Companion Animals, Natural Disasters and the Law: An Australian Perspective. Animals 2012, 2, 380-394.

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