After the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that shook Canterbury on 4 September 2010, the news media were quick to report, with understandable relief, that no lives had been lost. In fact, this first quake killed at least 3000 chickens, eight cows, one dog, a lemur and 150 aquarium fish, and that was only the first of a series of even more catastrophic quakes that were to follow, in which many humans and animals perished. Animals in Emergencies: Learning from the Christchurch Earthquakes provides a record of what happened to the animals during and after these quakes, and asks what we can learn from these events and our response to them. The accounts of professionals and volunteers involved in the rescue, shelter and advocacy of the city's animals post-quakes are presented in the first part of the book, and are followed by the tales of individual animals. These accounts provide an honest and compelling historical record of how Christchurch's seismic activity affected human-animal relationships in both positive and negative ways.
We share our lives with a variety of companion animals, including dogs, cats, horses, fish, birds, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs and turtles, and the stories of how the Canterbury earthquakes affected these animals are absorbing, sometimes heart-breaking and often heart-warming. The book also reports on the fate of urban wildlife such as hedgehogs, eels and seabirds, in the aftermath of liquefaction and other damage caused by the more than 20,000 aftershocks since the first major earthquake, and considers the particular risks to animals most vulnerable when disasters strike - those confined on farms and in laboratories.
Annie Potts is an Associate Professor and Co-Director of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies at the University of Canterbury. She teaches courses on the representation of animals and human-animal interactions in popular culture and everyday life. Annie is the author of Chicken (Reaktion Books) and a coauthor of A New Zealand Book of Beasts: Animals in our Culture, History and Everyday Life (AUP). She is the New Zealand Companion Animal Council's representative on the National Animal Welfare Emergency Management advisory group. Donelle Gadenne qualified as a veterinary nurse in Perth, WA. She has worked at over 23 veterinary practices in Australia, as a locum at a surgical referral centre and a university-based veterinary training hospital. In 2013 Donelle relocated to Christchurch to complete a Masters of Arts in English at the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies at the University of Canterbury.