Animal Studies Journal


I well remember watching Christchurch unrelentingly exploding and imploding all over the place as the February 2011 earthquakes devastated the city. 185 people were killed and many thousands were directly affected as the city and its infrastructure mercilessly collapsed during the earthquakes and afterwards as aftershocks rocked the city. It brought tears to my eyes. Given my own long-term interests in the cognitive and emotional lives of nonhuman animals (animals), I also wondered about, and was deeply concerned with, the nonhumans whose lives were deeply affected. I knew, of course, that many were severely injured, displaced, and killed, and that there were many wonderful and caring people who were concerned about these hapless beings. Nonhuman victims of the relentless destruction included a diverse lot of dogs, cats, rats, turtles, chickens, lemurs, lions, horses, hedgehogs and parrots. As time went on there were occasional reports about the recovery of lovely Christchurch, and now, with Annie Potts and Donelle Gadenne’s superb book, Animals in Emergencies: Learning from the Christchurch Earthquakes, we learn about the most amazing achievements of animal welfare experts and companion animal guardians who cared for the thousands of nonhumans who were injured and rendered homeless during the devastation. Their book is very well written and an easy read in terms of style, and contains numerous pictures of people and animals and extremely useful references. Of course, many of the stories will be difficult on readers’ heartstrings, but they are exemplars of love and devotion.