Days ago, there was a horrible fire at the Ohio Fresh Eggs company near Marseilles, Ohio, that resulted in the deaths of 250,000 chickens. (Source) That's pretty staggering when you think about it - a quarter of million. It is difficult for me to wrap my head around those numbers.
Many of the chickens died in the blaze, although a substantial number were also euthanized after the fire to put them out of their misery.
What is even more troubling is that mass animal deaths as a result of farm fires is a fairly regular occurrence. Here in Canada, pigs are often the victims of blazes.
It was almost precisely two years ago that 7,000 pigs perished in a fire in a barn at a Manitoba Hutterite community. (Source)
In January 2009, a barn fire near Hadashville, Manitoba, killed 900 hogs. (Source) Later that month, in east-central Saskatchewan, a blaze that swept through four large hog barns killed all of the animals inside. (Source) In December 2009, 1200 pigs died in a barn fire near St. Catharines, Ontario. Around the same time, 800 pigs perished in flames at a farm outside of Stratford, Ontario. (Source)
And at Wingham, Ontario, earlier this month, 5,000 pigs died in a raging inferno. (Source)
All of these tragedies had something in common: They were avoidable.
In addition to being scenes of horrific slaughter, factory farms are also tinderboxes full of flammable materials. And the animals inside of their walls have no rights. They're regarded as property. When they burn to death, their only obituary is typically a short article buried inside of a newspaper.
250,000... 900... 7,000... 1200... 5,000... 800...
It's all miles to the moon. And the victims of these fires are mere commodities in the eyes of most people.... Nothing more than numbers for the insurance company.
Imagine the final moment for those quarter of a million hens or those 7,000 pigs. All they knew was the ghastly terror of fire closing in on them, burning them to death - one of the most excruciatingly awful ways to die.
How many more reasons do we need to abolish the factory farm system? And how much longer do we have to wait until this system of mass, assembly line murder is finally done away with?