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USDA Urges People to Be Prepared Ahead of Hurricane Irma

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Have a Plan for Yourself, Your Pets and Your Livestock

Donna Karlsons,
Andre Bell,

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 7, 2017 – The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is urging everyone in the potential path of Hurricane Irma to prepare now – not just for yourselves, but also for your pets and your livestock.  APHIS works to support the safety and well-being of pets and livestock during disasters.

“As we just saw with Hurricane Harvey, evacuation is often necessary during severe weather in order to protect human and animal lives,” said Kevin Shea, Acting Under Secretary for USDA’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs.  “It’s always important for any animal owner to have an emergency plan – and we want to remind those in the path of Hurricane Irma to think ahead about their plan and to be ready to use it.”

Pets, farm animals and livestock rely on their owners to protect them and keep them safe in all types of emergencies. 

Start with the basics:

  • Make an Emergency Kit – Include the basics for survival: food, water, medicines/records, first aid supplies, identification and sanitation supplies.  Have enough for at least 3 days.
  • Plan For Evacuation – Know how you will evacuate and where you will go.  Take your pets with you, if feasible, or make arrangements for their safe care.  Determine if it is possible to evacuate your livestock and where they will go.  If it is not possible, be sure to provide adequate food and water that will last them until you can return, and a strong shelter.
  • Listen to Emergency Officials – Evacuate if asked to do so.  Do not return until you are told it is safe.

How best to protect your livestock and farm animals in extreme weather will depend on the size of your herds, what type of animals you have and how extreme the weather actually gets. Providing the basics – food, water and shelter will go a long way to keeping them safe. If you are planning to move livestock out of state, make sure to contact the State Veterinarian’s Office in the receiving state before you move any animals. You may also contact APHIS Veterinary Services state offices for information and assistance about protecting and moving livestock. 

Additionally, APHIS has established the following pages which list resources and links to help you with emergency plans:


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