Planning for a disaster

Emergency planning for your animals

Disasters can strike at any time, so it's important to have a plan for your whānau and animals. This means being prepared to evacuate quickly, and having enough supplies to stay away from home if a disaster strikes.

Under New Zealand Animal Welfare legislation, you must take all reasonable steps to ensure your animals’ physical, health and behavioural needs are met. These needs are defined in the Animal Welfare Act 1999 (section 4) and include:

  • Proper and sufficient food and water
  • Adequate shelter
  • Opportunity to display normal patterns of behaviour
  • Physical handling that minimises the likelihood of unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress
  • Protection from and rapid diagnosis of significant injury or illness.

In a disaster, these requirements must still be met.


There are loads of great resources online to help you build an evacuation plan that includes your animals.



Livestock and lifestyle block animals

Checklists for specific emergencies from the Ministry for Primary Industries

The NZVA’s role in emergencies

The NZVA is a recognised sub-function of a national emergency management response collective.

In the event of and emergency, the NZVA will:

  • provide advice on where veterinary treatment is available
  • help alleviate animal suffering by coordinating veterinary advice, feeding, relocation or sheltering of animals during and after an emergency
  • facilitate contact between MPI and veterinarians in the affected area
  • ensure updates and relevant information are communicated with members quickly and regularly