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Animal welfare during natural disasters

Biosecurity Queensland is providing assistance to livestock owners to help safeguard the welfare of animals and assist with recovery after recent severe weather events.

Biosecurity Queensland’s Operations Manager Rowan Lambourne said that after human safety, the welfare of animals was the most important consideration in the event of a natural disaster.

“Recent floods, cyclones and bushfires have had serious impacts on Queensland producers, properties and animals,” said Mr Lambourne.

“The current situation has seen livestock stranded, washed down river and creek systems and displaced by wandering through areas where fences are down,” he said.

“All lost and found livestock should be reported to Biosecurity Queensland and any movement of stock should comply with National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) requirements in these situations.

“Good traceability of cattle is imperative because of the possibility of disease outbreaks in the aftermath of floods and other disasters.

“Biosecurity Queensland can provide advice to anyone who finds stray cattle about how to identify and return livestock safely.

“Animals found in extreme distress should not be allowed to suffer and should be humanely euthenased. If necessary, advice should be sought from your local veterinarian."

Mr Lambourne said there were measures producers could take to ensure their livestock’s welfare during flood situations.

“The most important consideration in the short term is to ensure your animals have access to suitable, good quality water and food,” said Mr Lambourne.

“It is important to keep animals away from any floodwater on the property.

“Animals should not drink water that is stagnant and/or flood affected as it could contain high levels of bacteria and other dangerous contaminants. This includes storage water that has been flood affected."

Mr Lambourne said that food supplies for livestock could be low in some areas however with roads now reopening; producers should have access to supplies.

“If food supplies are low or have run out, your first point of contact should be your regular suppliers,” said Mr Lambourne.

“If the suppliers are unable to supply the required feed, contact your relevant industry organisation or call the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to arrange alternative food supplies.

“The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry can also provide contacts for helicopter operators working in districts if fodder drops are required."

Mr Lambourne said the other major issue faced by producers during floods involved the disposal of animal carcasses.

“Any deceased animals must be disposed of safely. Human health concerns, workplace health and safety precautions and environmental impacts must be considered," he said.

“Producers should contact their local council for assistance with animal carcass disposal following declared natural disasters."

Mr Lambourne said the Queensland Government had moved quickly to assist producers in providing support to affected producers. For the range of support being offered producers should visit www.daff.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23

Follow Biosecurity Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@BiosecurityQld).

Queensland Government
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
1 February 2013

Permanent Link: Animal welfare during natural disasters
Publish Date: 04 Feb 13

Biosecurity Queensland - Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Queensland Government :
PO Box 46, Brisbane, Qld 4000, Brisbane
Phone: 07 3087 8591
Non-fixed: 13 25 23

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