A LOCAL psychologist is undertaking research through Charles Sturt University into the psychological sequelae of pet and livestock loss following the 2013Wide Bay and Burnett floods. On that fateful Australia Day weekend, ex-tropical cyclone Oswald made its way down the Queensland coast, resulting in human casualties, animals’ injuries and death and extensive environmental and property destruction.
While many areas in Queensland were affected by the floods, the Wide Bay and Burnett regions were among the hardest hit having received a series of tornados and flash flooding.
The bulk of research on natural disasters has focused on human aspects of loss (emotional and financial), scant attention has been given to the psychological impact that some persons may incur as a result of pet loss or death. Pet ownership has also been associated with emergency management evacuation failures. Even less scholarly attention has been paid to the plight of farmers’ peri and post natural disasters, and the potential linkages between their mental health status and the living status of their animals.
Traditionally, farmers have been viewed as having ‘business-like’ relationships with their animals due to procurement and mass.
However, such emotional ambivalence is at odds with farming legacy, espousing high-level pastoral care, which is central to farmer’s identity and culture. Anecdotally, the psychological effects of animal loss incurred by farmers maybe substantial as they face ongoing inclement weather challenges from drought to deluge extremes, along with resource shortages.
To participate in the online survey visit: www.surveymonkey.com/s/Jan2013Floods.