Im­pact of pet, live­stock loss re­searched

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

RE­SEARCHER and psy­chol­o­gist Shuron Bill­man is un­der­tak­ing re­search through Charles Sturt Uni­ver­sity into the psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pact caused by pet and live­stock loss fol­low­ing the 2013Wide Bay and Bur­nett floods.

Ms Bill­man said very lit­tle at­ten­tion had been given to the trou­bles that some peo­ple went through as a re­sult of pet loss or death, in­clud­ing farm­ers.

“Tra­di­tion­ally, farm­ers have been viewed as hav­ing a ‘busi­ness-like’ re­la­tion­ship with their an­i­mals due to their pro­cure­ment and mass,” Ms Bill­man said.

“How­ever, such emo­tional am­biva­lence is at odds with farm­ing le­gacy, es­pous­ing high-level pas­toral care, which is cen­tral to a farmer’s iden­tity and cul­ture.”

Ac­cord­ing to Ms Bill­man, the psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fects of an­i­mal loss in­curred by farm­ers may be sub­stan­tial as they face on­go­ing weather chal­lenges.

It has been more than two years since the Jan­uary 2013 floods and many farm­ers haven’t re­cov­ered.

“Some have been forced to fore­close their prop­er­ties, eu­thanise their an­i­mals, and sadly, there has been an in­crease in the num­ber of sui­cides in the ru­ral farm­ing pop­u­la­tion,” Ms Bill­man said.

Her world-first study at­tempts to ad­dress this in­ves­tiga­tive short­fall by sampling from ur­ban and ru­ral farm­ing pop­u­la­tions and in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether any dif­fer­ences be­tween the co­horts ex­ist.

The re­searcher is cur­rently re­cruit­ing res­i­dents to com­plete the on­line study sur­vey via http://www.sur­vey­mon­key. com/s/Jan2013Floods.

PHOTO: MIKE KNOTT BUN230115DOGS2

WORLD-FIRST STUDY: Shuron Bill­man with her two dogs, Inu and Ge­orgie.

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