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Filling the Ark

Filling the Ark: Animal Welfare in Disasters

Leslie Irvine
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Filling the Ark
    Book Description:

    When disasters strike, people are not the only victims. Hurricane Katrina raised public attention about how disasters affect dogs, cats, and other animals considered members of the human family. In this short but powerful book, noted sociologist Leslie Irvine goes beyond Katrina to examine how disasters like oil spills, fires, and other calamities affect various animal populations-on factory farms, in research facilities, and in the wild.

    Filling the Arkargues that humans cause most of the risks faced by animals and urges for better decisions about the treatment of animals in disasters. Furthermore, it makes a broad appeal for the ethical necessity of better planning to keep animals out of jeopardy. Irvine not only offers policy recommendations and practical advice for evacuating animals, she also makes a strong case for rethinking our use of animals, suggesting ways to create more secure conditions.

    The hopeful message ofFilling the Arkis that once we realize how we make animals vulnerable to disasters we can begin to question and change the practices that put them at risk. This book will make a significant contribution to the field of animals and society and to the literature on animal welfare.

    eISBN: 978-1-59213-836-4
    Subjects: Biological Sciences, Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)

    When a disaster strikes, who should enter the ark? It is widely understood that human lives have priority. But our lives are intertwined with those of billions of non-human animals. Is there a place in the ark for them? If so, which animals should we save? We have the closest relationships with those who are companions, or “pets.”¹ We would surely make room on the ark for them. Many people cannot imagine going a day without eating animal products of some sort, and many make a living by raising the animals who provide these products. Clearly, then, we will have...

  5. 1 Companion Animals
    (pp. 19-39)

    As residents of New Orleans prepared for the Hurricane Gustav evacuation in August 2008, the city’s Offices of Emergency Preparedness provided buses to take residents without transportation to Red Cross shelters. Additional shelters were ready to accommodate their companion animals, and trucks were on hand to transport them. Evacuees received wristbands with identification numbers that matched those on collars placed on their animals. The buses took human evacuees to a shelter in Shreveport, near the Louisiana State Fairgrounds, which was transformed into what became known as the Mega Shelter for the region’s animals. The transportation and identification systems, and the...

  6. 2 Animals on Factory Farms
    (pp. 40-60)

    Although we have the closest bonds with companion animals, they constitute only about 2 percent of the animals living in the United States. The other 98 percent are the cattle, sheep, hogs, and poultry raised for food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), ten billion such animals are raised—and killed—for food every year.¹ The conditions under which most of these animals live make them extremely vulnerable in disasters, and they pose serious environmental and public health risks under normal circumstances. Disasters highlight the conflict between consumer welfare and animal welfare. In this chapter, I suggest a...

  7. 3 Birds and Marine Wildlife
    (pp. 61-83)

    Current concerns about oil and the environment express two dominant themes. One emphasizes the role of carbon-based fuels in climate change. The other emphasizes the hazards involved in drilling, especially in areas considered environmentally sensitive. In both instances animals are vulnerable, more so than humans. Because animals cannot escape the consequences of our petroleum addiction, they often face risks sooner and more directly. Yet, with the growing energy demands of the planet’s human population, their vulnerability seems of little consequence. Why should the lives of a few birds matter, when we simply need more oil? When Fred Hartley spoke his...

  8. 4 Animals in Research Facilities
    (pp. 84-106)

    Although most Americans know that large numbers of dogs and cats died after Hurricane Katrina, few know that 8,000 animals at Louisiana State University’s Health Sciences Center School of Medicine met the same fate. The animals discussed in this chapter received virtually no media attention. Those who did not drown during the flood or starve in the weeks following it were euthanized. In 1992, after Hurricane Andrew, several hundred animals escaped from research facilities at the University of Miami. Although the animals had been used in AIDS research, they were “disease-free and harmless if left alone.”¹ Alarmed by rumors that...

  9. Conclusion: Noah’s Task
    (pp. 107-126)

    This book opens with two questions: Do animals have a place on the ark? and if so, which animals may come aboard? I argue that animals deserve a place on the ark, for reasons that range from economic to ethical to emotional, environmental, and beyond. At the same time, I argue that our decisions about filling the ark would be easier if we did not, through our actions, make animals so vulnerable to disasters. In the preceding chapters I examine this issue of vulnerability through the two related themes. One theme concerns how the roles we assign to animals position...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 127-142)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 143-160)
  12. Index
    (pp. 161-166)