Disaster Preparedness for Livestock
It is important to have a disaster plan for livestock since they may not easily be transported or confined. Loose or stranded animals can cause physical harm to people, delay or inhibit the rescue of people, and cause disruption in public transportation. Equipment such as trailers and generators should be kept in good working conditions and building structures should be kept stable and free of debris at all times. Keep fences cleared and maintained. Make sure your animals are accustomed to being gathered, confined and loaded onto a trailer.
Develop a disaster plan which includes evacuation or shelter-in-place instructions, emergency food and water provisions, and animal identification and owner information. Prior to an event such as a storm, if needed, evacuate or relocate livestock as soon as possible. Keep a list of livestock haulers or friends with trailers handy. In the case of hurricanes, traffic flow may be altered so you do not want to get stranded at home, or worse, on the highway. Locate and prearrange an evacuation site outside of your immediate area, which may include fairgrounds, stockyards, county extension facilities or equestrian venues. Be sure all animals have permanent identification or waterproof temporary ID such as mane tags or painted numbers on hooves or their body. Proof of ownership should be kept close with the owner’s other important documents. If you shelter in place, move animals to higher ground. The decision to keep animals confined or on pasture will depend on the stability of the structure, the risk of flooding, and the trees and debris in surrounding areas. Secure all equipment such as feed troughs, buckets, doors which can become projectile weapons in high winds, and fill all water troughs.
Additional information regarding livestock preparedness can be found through
- the American Veterinary Medical Association (https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters)
- & the American Association of Equine Practitioners (https://aaep.org/horse-owners/owner-guidelines/owner-emergency-disaster-and-preparedness).