Flood Needs Assessment - Livestock Survey
From: Jones, Jodi (AGR)
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Subject: WA State Veterinarian NEWS: Flooding impact Survey and Animal Health Concerns
The Washington State Department of Agriculture urges your immediate response to estimate initial damage from the flood and storm.
They need to do this to free up state resources to assist farms with immediate needs. These do not have to be final estimates of impacts, just ballpark what your needs are as you see them today.
You may receive this survey multiple times, but it only needs to be completed one time for each farm.
Responses will be anonymous, unless you voluntarily give us your contact information. Comments made on a state government survey are subject to public disclosure.
You will still need to document and report your specific needs to your FSA office.
If you have questions, direct them to:
Amber Itle VMD MS(360) 961-4129
Interim WA State Vet
Animal Health Considerations after a Flood
Dr. Amber Itle Interim WA State Veterinarian
Many livestock producers, agricultural workers and their families have been impacted by the recent atmospheric river flooding event in Western Washington. People and animals are displaced, feed supply chains have been broken, and long term economic impacts are yet to be determined. As the emergency transitions from response to recovery, a focus on human and animal health will be of utmost importance.
Animal caretakers will often put aside their own essential needs (food, water and sleep) to care for their animals during an emergency. You won't be able to care for animals if you don't take care of yourself first. In the short term, you may be able to compensate, but as the recovery presses on in the coming weeks, months and years, emotional energy and reserves will be depleted. Agriculture is a stressful occupation with narrow profit margins. Both agricultural workers and veterinarians experience high rates of suicide. Animal mortality/ illness, damaged equipment and lost feed due to excessive rain and flooding recently in Western Washington only compounds that excessive stress making it hard to move forward to positive solutions. If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please reach out to a confidential crisis support line or the National Suicide Prevention line, 1(800) 273-TALK (8255).
Although WSDA has only received a few reports of livestock mortality due to drowning, there have been reports that suggest many animals stood in flood water for up to 72 hours without feed or water. Flood waters are often contaminated with chemicals, raw sewage and bacteria that can make both humans and animals sick. The stress of standing in cold water affects animals just like humans: young, pregnant/ recently given birth, or those with underlying conditions are the most vulnerable. Contaminated feed, water and pastures are of great concern for disease and animal health. Surviving livestock may have long term health impacts that may not appear for days, weeks or even months.