The Global Animal Disaster Management Conference (GADMC) was held online from 14 to 24 February 2021. Professor Leslie Irvine, the author of Filling the Ark: Animal Welfare in Disasters was the keynote speaker and she set the scene with her presentation, ‘Why animals matter in emergencies’.
Dr Melanie Taylor described the conference concept1 but GADMC participation exceeded expectations with over 1500 delegates registering for the free online conference, hosted by Animal Evac New Zealand. The online and free nature of the conference made the content accessible to a global and diverse audience. All presentations were video recorded and are available to view on the GADMC website, free of charge. The spirit of this not-for-profit conference helped secure some of the most influential leaders in animal disaster management, with over 40 experts covering topics from law, case studies, large animal rescue, carcass disposal, wildlife response, disaster risk reduction, emergency planning and more.
The conference format allowed delegates to virtually mingle and the trivia session saw several multi-national teams competing for prizes. Anabela Santos Moreira won the spot prize, a copy of Animal Management and Welfare in Natural Disasters by James Sawyer and Gerardo Huertas.
The success of GADMC showed there is significant demand for connecting and sharing information to create animal-inclusive resilient communities. The awards for 2021 were given based on delegate feedback and voting and the conference committee is contemplating the theme for GADMC 2022.
Sponsors were World Animal Protection, American Veterinary Medical Foundation, Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience, Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, C4 Group New Zealand, Central Queensland University, and International Fund for Animal Welfare and Reach & Rescue.
1. World-first conference on animal disaster management. At: https://knowledge.aidr.org.au/resources/ajem-april-2021-world-first-conference-on-animal-disaster-management/.