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Central and North Burnett Times - - VOICE OF THE BURNETT -

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.

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