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Disaster Planning with Animals

A well-thought-out disaster or emergency plan is important for any facility, clinic, operation, or household that houses animals. A plan ensures disaster preparedness, saves animal and human lives, and helps to deal with the aftermath of a disaster. Learn about disaster planning with animals and how to write your own disaster plan.  

On December 3, 2021, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) amended the Animal Welfare Act Regulations to require contingency plans for the handling of animals during emergencies and training of employees on implementing those plans during emergencies (9 CFR § 2.134 (2022)). This lifted a stay on a December 2012 rule, and regulations became effective on January 3, 2022. 

Disaster Training and Best Practices

Animals in Disaster Training

DHSFEMA. Emergency Management Institute.

These online training modules provide information to animal owners and community officials about typical hazards, disaster affects on animals, reducing disaster impact, and disaster planning. The modules include:

  • Animals in Disaster: Awareness and Preparedness 
  • Animals in Disaster: Community Planning

Disaster and Emergency Best Practices

National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs (NASAAEP).

NASAAEP provides best practices for:

  • Animal Decontamination
  • Evacuation and Transport
  • Animal Sheltering
  • Veterinary Care
  • Community Outreach
  • Planning and Resource Management

Disaster Planning For...

Research and Teaching Institutions

Animal Welfare Act Contingency Plan Final Rule

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

IACUC Resources: Disaster Preparedness

American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. 

Disaster Planning and Response Resources

DHHSNIH. Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.

Livestock Producers

Protecting Livestock During a Disaster 

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. 

Video Series to Help Farmers with Emergency Planning


Agriculture and Carcass Disposal 

Environmental Protection Agency.

Building an Emergency Response Plan for Livestock Producers 

Penn State Extension.

Veterinarians and Pet Owners

Disaster Preparedness for Veterinarians 

American Veterinary Medical Association.

Disaster Preparedness 

American Veterinary Medical Association.

Pet Safety in Emergencies 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Zoos and Aquariums

All Hazards Planning

Zoo and Aquarium All Hazards Partnership.

Zoo and Aquarium Safety: Example Practices

Association of Zoos and Aquariums. 

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