Conflicting Perspectives on Nonhuman Animal Rescues in Natural Disasters

In: Society & Animals

Nonhuman animal guardians are more at risk during natural disasters because they are likely to delay or refuse evacuation and return to evacuated disaster sites to rescue animals. Research on the human-animal bond (hab) views animal guardians’ actions as a reflection of a strong attachment. However, in addition to guardians, disaster planners, rescue personnel, and other community members influence which animals are saved and how. As Irvine (2009) noted, the way people and institutions think about different animals precedes which animals are included in disaster efforts, and when and how these animals are included. This paper considers how media articles on animal rescues use moral evaluations of animals to justify or challenge people’s actions in saving or not saving animals. We found that the multiple moral evaluations of animals and animal rescue were a source of misunderstanding and conflict during and after a disaster.

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