After the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that shook Canterbury, New Zealand on September 4, 2010, the news media were quick to report, with understandable relief, that no lives had been lost. In fact, this first quake killed at least 3,000 chickens, eight cows, one dog, a lemur, and 150 aquarium fish, and that was only the first of a series of even more catastrophic quakes that were to follow, in which many humans and animals perished.
Animals in Emergencies: Learning from the Christchurch Earthquakes provides a record of what happened to the animals during and after these quakes, and asks what we can learn from these events and our response to them. The accounts of professionals and volunteers involved in the rescue, shelter, and advocacy of the city's animals postquakes are presented in the first part of Animals in Emergencies and are followed by the tales of individual animals. These accounts provide an honest and compelling historical record of how Christchurch's seismic activity affected human–animal relationships in both positive and negative ways.
Annie Potts is an associate professor in the school of humanities at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and the codirector of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies. She is the author of Chicken and a co-author of A New Zealand Book of Beasts: Animals in our Culture, History and Everyday Life.
Donelle Gadenne is a veterinary nurse who has worked at more than 23 veterinary practices in Australia. She completed a masters of arts in English at the New Zealand Centre for Human–Animal Studies at the University of Canterbury.