Thousands of Chickens and Pigs Drown in Wake of Hurricane Matthew

A recent Washington Post article reports on the horrifying floods in North Carolina after Hurricane Matthew and how this natural disaster affects farmed animals.

Experts believe tens of thousands of chickens, hogs, and other farmed animals died in floodwaters that destroyed factory farms in eastern North Carolina.

The state has seen a recent boom in animal agriculture, with the number of pigs doubled to 9.5 million in the past decade and poultry production increased from 60 million to 148 million birds in just 20 years.

State governor Pat McCrory claimed officials would work to swiftly dispose of dead animals who could contaminate waters. Unfortunately, their efforts come too late for some, as floodwaters have caused open-pit manure lagoons to overflow into nearby waterways.

According to the Post, “[I]n his morning briefing, the governor said that ‘a lot of poultry and animals — a lot, thousands’ already had drowned and that more casualties were still expected.”

Unlike companion animals, who by law must be included in government evacuation plans during natural disasters, farmed animals are afforded no legal protection. Farmed animals should be included in emergency evacuation plans and provided with immediate aid.

The fact that many animals drowned while in cages is yet another reminder of the inherent dangers farmed animals face when cruelly confined and unable to flee floods, hurricanes, or other disasters.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time a natural disaster has claimed the lives of thousands of farmed animals. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd dumped 19 inches of rain on North Carolina, killing more than 2 million turkeys, chickens, and other farmed animals. Also, earlier this year more than 35,000 dairy cows froze to death during a blizzard in Texas. Such catastrophes happen all too often.

Natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew are tragic, but for animals trapped on factory farms life itself is tragic. They are routinely crammed into cages so small the animals can barely move, mutilated without painkillers, and violently killed.

The best way to help farmed animals is not to support the industry that neglects and abuses them. Make the compassionate choice and switch to a vegan diet.

Get started by ordering your FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide here.