Posts Tagged 'barn fires'

Alarming regularity

Andrew Hunt of We’re All Animals on barn fires.

Barn fires happen with alarming regularity in Canada. We could sit here and crunch death-toll figures, but numbers never tell the whole story.

To comprehend the horror these animals experience in the final moments of their lives, you have to imagine what it’s like to be caught inside one of these blazes.

In the May 7 fire, spreading flames and searing heat likely triggered thousands of deafening screams. About 1,600 sows caught fire inside of cramped gestation crates. In the intense heat, many of the pigs split open while still alive and their internal organs spilled out. Some stressed pigs tried to bite their way through metal bars. Not one pig survived.

Eye on costs

Manitoba hog producers worried about costs of changes to building codes.

The activist group Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals supports stricter industry-wide building codes, saying thousands of animals have died over the years in hog barn fires.

But while the animal rights group says contemplated changes to the code don’t go far enough — Manitoba’s hog producers say while they’re to make changes, they also have to keep an eye on costs.

“If we put the cost too high then you’re going to put the producers out of business,” said Manitoba Pork Council chairman Karl Kynoch.


Two stories from Manitoba published on May 7.  One on the disappearance of hog barns . . .

Karl Kynoch, chair of the Manitoba Pork Council, says although the mass exodus has slowed up, now it’s the tearing down of the barns themselves that’s alarming.

“We’ve gone through the worst economic crisis in the history of the hog industry, so some of the reasons are for financial reasons,” Kynoch said. “Producers don’t want to pay the taxes or insurance on facilities that they may never see filled again, so they’re tearing them down.”

. . . and another on the disappearance of a hog barn.

The massive hog barn fire near Zhoda, south of Steinbach, on Friday was at least the fourth large hog barn blaze within a 10 mile radius over the past 2 years. 7,500 animals were killed at Sandy Pines farm on Friday. The barns were owned by Provista.

5,000 animals were killed at Hytek’s Silverado operation in a fire in May of 2008. A month later, 7000 hogs died in a fire at Blue Ribbon swine farm near Zhoda. In July of 2009, 7500 animals perished in a blaze at Four Pines farm, also near Zhoda.

With thanks to Twyla Francois of Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals.

Total loss

Barn fire kills 450 cows.

A fire roared through a barn full of dairy cows in southeast Manitoba on Monday, killing hundreds of animals and causing an estimated $8.5 million in losses.

The blaze swept through the barn, in the Rural Municipality of Ste. Anne, at about 6:15 p.m.

Fire departments from the region, about 50 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg, were able to extinguish the blaze but the barn and its contents were a total loss, RCMP said.

Barn fires

Still an issue in Manitoba.

About 5,900 hogs died in two Manitoba barn fires in 2009, down from a record-worst 30,569 hogs in seven separate fires in 2008.

The industry participated in consultations with the provincial fire commissioner’s office in 2009 about new building regulations governing barns.

However, as those regulations would only apply to new barns, they would be largely ineffective due to a provincial moratorium on the construction of new hog barns in most of southern Manitoba.

Unprofitable deaths

Hog farmer mourns (four month early) deaths of eight hundred pigs.

“It’s a horrible death for the pigs,” said Clare Schlegel, who lives nearby and owned the pigs with his partner, Richard Yantzi of Tavistock.

“They would have been asphyxiated and then burned, and the roof fell in,’’ Schlegel said. “From an animal lover’s perspective, which we all are, it’s just awful.”



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