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Urgent climate action needed to help protect animals and pets

Posted in Our Community @ Mar 4th 2022 - By Vets for Climate Action
Urgent Climate Action Needed To Help Protect Animals And Pets

Urgent climate action needed to help protect animals and pets, vets say

The latest IPCC report documents widespread and critical impacts on people and the natural world from increasingly frequent and intense heatwaves, droughts, bushfires, storms and floods. Some impacts are now irreversible.

Veterinarians for Climate Action are committed to bringing a halt to climate change to protect the health and welfare of all animals, livestock, unique Australian wildlife and much loved pets.

Dr Helen McGregor is a veterinary consultant supporting farmers and vets across Australia. She says: ‘’Veterinarians in rural and regional Australia are already experiencing the impacts of climate change on the farm businesses and communities they work with. Without urgent action for change, this will only increase."

“Heat stress can adversely affect livestock growth, reproductive success and milk production. The impacts of climate change are already being felt across the agricultural industry. An increase in the number of hot days is also contributing to more severe droughts and changes in rainfall patterns are leading to both water shortages and impactful flooding.”

In cities and other built up areas with extensive roads or paved surfaces and few trees, temperatures are predicted to warm more than 4ºC (1) by the end of the century unless strong climate action is taken with drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Taking dogs for a walk on overheated pavements risks burning the pads of their feet. Heat stroke, leading to organ failure and death, may occur when there is no shade provided, when animals are left alone in houses or vehicles or during excessive exercise.

Recent events...

This week (March 2022) there has been a severe rain event along the east coast, with major flooding creating devastation for people and communities. There will also be animal losses as pets may have to be left behind during evacuation. This is distressing for them and their owners. Grazing livestock and horses may be swept away as river levels rise. There is also considerable concern in the vet communities in those areas as stock losses are expected to be high and there are long term effects for stock from standing in water, and a lack of access to clean water and feed.

The IPCC report stresses the importance of healthy environments and biodiversity. Australia is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. Climate change is already damaging precious ecosystems, from forests to alpine areas. Nearly three billion animals – mammals, reptiles, birds, and frogs – were killed or displaced by the 2019-20 bushfires in Australia, The number of critically endangered species is rising.

Without political commitment and action, the latest IPCC report confirms there is worse to come and faster than scientists had thought.

Veterinarians for Climate Action urge all governments in Australia to take vigorous action this decade to bring climate change under control. Australia must aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2035, contributing to the global effort to manage this crisis. There must be a rapid shift away from fossil fuels to a fully renewable-powered economy.

For further information contact:

Al Foster Vander Elst, CEO

0432 926 910



VfCA is a national, not-for-profit, registered charity with over 1,400 members, mostly from the veterinary and broader animal care community. We help tackle climate change by:

  •  reducing emissions within the veterinary and animal care sectors,
  •  encouraging members to advocate for strong climate policies and
  •  inspiring the public to take and advocate for climate action.

Our Patron is Professor Peter Doherty, veterinary surgeon, Nobel Laureate and Australian of the Year in 1997. Thirty former Chief Veterinary Officers from all States and Territories work alongside us. We are evidence-based and informed by published scientific findings.

Click HERE to get find out more, including how you can help:


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