Vets appalled by number of animals killed by climate change

Veterinarians for Climate Action

17 May 2022 Members of Veterinarians for Climate Action (VfCA) are appalled by the ongoing loss of animals due to the rising temperature and severe weather events.

Chair of VfCA Dr Jeannet Kessels says: “We ask all those who care about animals to have climate action in the forefront of their mind when casting their vote in the forthcoming Federal Election. Veterinarians are scientists, relying on published scientific findings to provide the best possible care for animals. It is a scientific fact that climate change is harming and killing our animals. Wildlife, livestock and pets face ever increasing threats to their health and welfare unless climate change is addressed as a priority.”

VfCA has four key policy asks of the next federal government:

  1. Develop an effective national climate action plan as a priority, with stronger net-zero emissions targets via deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and a rapid transition to renewable energy.
  2. Put an end to destruction of native vegetation, and to increase plantings of native vegetation.
  3. Strengthen environmental protections afforded by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, including incorporating a climate trigger.
  4. Support and lead the development and delivery of a national government-industry program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ruminants, like cattle and sheep.

Australia is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. That biodiversity is critical for the health of the environment. However we are in an extinction crisis that is worsening as our climate continues to warm and habitat is destroyed. The koala and the gang-gang cockatoo are two recent additions to the EPBC Act’s List of Threatened Fauna. The Great Barrier Reef has this year suffered yet another mass bleaching event, and the reef’s future depends on us reversing global warming.

Farmers have suffered devastating livestock losses in this and recent years due to floods, fires, heatwaves and drought. Climate change continues to increase the frequency and severity of these events. These effects will worsen without national planning and programming. There is current and developing knowledge on sustainable farming and on how to reduce methane emissions from ruminant livestock.

Companion animals are part of our lives, from dogs and cats to horses and backyard poultry. Heatwaves, with long periods of very hot days, are a risk for animals as much as people. In cities, temperatures are forecast to warm more than 4ºC by the end of the century unless strong climate action is taken now.

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