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Massey aids animals affected by Nelson fires

Massey Veterinary Emergency Response Team members Michelle Fremaux, Professor Chris Riley, Patrice Palleson-Putt, Steve De Grey, and Neroli Thomson supports MPI animal welfare response to Nelson fires.

Massey University Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT) has been assisting with animal welfare efforts at the ongoing forest fires south of Nelson.

Under the management of the SPCA National Rescue Unit (NRU) and the Ministry for Primary Industries, the five-person team has been dealing with urgent animal welfare needs since late last week. This includes performing animal welfare assessments and helping to evacuate animals in danger, including helping to rescue more than 200 birds from finches to chickens over the weekend.

Massey’s Professor Chris Riley has been on the ground with the team.

“One of the big tasks is to be patient. You are often dealing with a small window when it is okay to go in somewhere and then the wind changes and your opportunity closes. That might be assessing if evacuation is necessary.”

Once you see the work going on down there, you understand what it takes to coordinate something of this scale and just how hard all the agencies are working. Fire, Police, Civil Defence, MPI, local governments, people working on maps and logistics, everyone is working hard on the ground to keep everyone safe.

The Massey team will return over the next few days.

“There also has to be a huge thank you to all the people at Massey who have taken on much of our workloads over the past few days and allowed us to help out this massive effort.”

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