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Filling the Ark: Animal Welfare in Disasters (Animals and Ethics) Hardcover – May 28, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Sociologist Irvine studies how natural disasters affect the animals that live with us. With a main focus on Hurricane Katrina and supplemental data from other large-scale disasters (for instance, Hurricane Andrew and the Exxon Valdez oil spill), the author examines how disaster-response decisions involving animals are made. In human terms, animals are ranked on a sociozoologic scale, with different categories of animals and different risks for each category. Companion animals—dogs, cats, and other pets—generally rank the highest on the sociozoologic scale, but as the Katrina disaster demonstrated, many of these animals were either abandoned as their owners fled or were forcibly left behind when rescuers refused to allow the evacuation of pets. Animals on factory farms comprise 98 percent of the domestic animals living in the U.S., and yet the conditions under which they live make them extremely vulnerable when a disaster strikes. Finally, animals in research facilities are most vulnerable to loss of power, which shuts off ventilation and air-conditioning. In each section, Irvine offers suggestions as to how the loss of animal lives can be averted. --Nancy Bent

Review

"Filling the Ark is a fascinating combination of scholarship, public policy, and animal advocacy. Leslie Irvine examines the plight of animals in the face of man-made and natural disasters in light of larger issues associated with our society's ambivalence about the moral status of other species The writing is excellent and the author's first hand experiences rescuing companion animals during Hurricane Katrina are compelling." Harold Herzog, Western Carolina University "In exploring our relationships with companion animals, factory farm animals, birds and marine wildlife, and research animals, [Irvine] not only discusses how manmade and natural catastrophes like oil spills and hurricanes have affected animals but also urges us to rethink our use of animals as we often put them in harm's way. With firsthand experience in rescuing pets during Hurricane Katrina, Irvine offers valuable advice for avoiding mass casualties in disaster situations." Library Journal, 15th Feb 2009 "Sociologist Irvine studies how natural disasters affect the animals that live with us... [She] examines how disaster-response decisions involving animals are made... [A]s the Katrina disaster demonstrated... animals were either abandoned as their owners fled or were forcibly left behind when rescuers refused to allow the evacuation of pets. Animals on factory farms comprise 98 percent of the domestic animals living in the U.S., and yet the conditions under which they live make them extremely vulnerable when a disaster strikes. Finally, animals in research facilities are most vulnerable to loss of power, which shuts off ventilation and air-conditioning. In each section, Irvine offers suggestions as to how the loss of animal lives can be averted."- March 11 issue of Booklist "Irvine's book underlines, and sheds new light on, our complex and ambivalent relationships with other animals, or the rest of the natural world... Filling the Ark is a fascinating account of the heroic efforts made by people in animal rescue organisations [sic] to help reduce loss of life... In taking us through details of how disasters or their aftermath can cause animal suffering and death, Irvine does not flinch from naming the extent of the problems and cover-ups. It is not just the disaster itself, but also social and cultural consequences, which impact animals." - Humanimalia "In Filling the Ark, author Leslie Irvine weaves a tale that is both eye-opening and tragic... Irvine does animal welfarists, humanitarians and aid workers a great service by putting all the pieces together in one place, and showing how cultural views, economic challenges, racism, and inadequate infrastructure combine to create disasters within disasters. It is not necessarily the hurricane that is tragic, she suggests, but our response to it is... The biggest issue now, it seems, is o how can we get this book into the hands of people who will listen, and who have the power to implement these changes?" Animal Inventory Blog, 18th June 2009 "In her thought-provoking book, Irvine takes a deeply vexed question -- When disaster strikes, who (and what) should be saved? -- and, rather than providing a facile answer, examines how we make decisions about which animals deserve a place on the biblical boat of her title...Irvine's prose is infused with personal passion... But [her] book is neither sociologic gobbledygook nor sentimental treacle: it is a clarion call for change, both in attitudes and policy, about how we manage animal welfare in disaster situations. This book should be required reading every human whose own health and welfare is enmeshed with those of animals -- that is, all of us." Bookslut, Aug 2009 "Irvine brings to light many examples of where disaster planning and emergency response have been wholly inadequate in protecting the welfare of animals... On the basis of her first hand experience and extensive research she makes recommendations for disaster planning and policy, but her ambitions are larger than this; she makes the case for a larger re-appraisal of our use of animals. In writing Filling the Ark, Irvine poses important questions...What emerges is a sobering account covering public policy, the practicalities of handling animals in emergencies and animal advocacy...Filling the Ark provides a consistent and compelling argument on how we could, and should, be doing more through our emergency management practices to ensure the welfare of animals." The Australian Journal of Emergency Management Aug 2009
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