People evacuate during a natural disaster but what happens to the livestock left behind?
By Savannah Simmons, Opinion Editor
Hurricane Florence has steadily been taking over North Carolina and has people quickly evacuating to not get caught in the flood but what about the livestock that cannot make an escape for themselves?
With almost 36 inches of rain flooding, 33 people dead from storm-related accidents and hundreds of thousands of people without power it is no question that Hurricane Florence is a disaster that has effected so many people. Where most people stop thinking about disaster is when it comes to livestock. They seem to be forgotten in the state of panic around them. Animals like chickens and pigs have been left to fend for themselves which is something they cannot do after being held in captivity. It is unfair and inhumane for these animals to be raised solely for consumption to begin with and it is even worse for them to be left in a path of danger.
“Sad but predictable,” said Gene Baur of Farm Sancutary on Facebook. “Farm animals are the most abused of all, and there wasn’t even an effort to relocate them, which would have been logistically difficult. At the very least, factory farms should not be located in areas prone to flooding, and tax dollars should not be used to reimburse this cruel industry, which ironically and wrongly opened their statement by announcing that they didn’t experience loss of life in the wake of the storm.”
A whopping 3.4 million chickens and turkeys have died so far, as well as 5,500 pigs as reported by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Sanderson Farms is one of the biggest poultry producers and has reported 1.7 million of their chickens dead, dozens of broiler houses flooded and at least 30 farms unreachable due to flooding. Farms being unreachable may not mean that the actual farms have been flooded but no one is able to give care or food to the animals who will therefore perish by starvation. Humanesociety.org gives farmers tips on how to shelter livestock by reminding them that they have two options: house livestock or leave them out in pastures. Confinement leaves animals unable to fend for themselves while being left out exposes them to the elements and with over a million chickens reported dead, these tips have not helped.
The answer to fixing this problem would be for society as a whole to be on a plant-based diet. This would alleviate the need for millions of animals to be held in captivity and slaughtered for consumption. This is not reality though. If society cannot change to erase meat from their diets, laws and successful evacuation plans should be drawn up to treat these animals with as much respect as possible. Losing these animals is not loss of revenue, it is loss of life.
“These are expendable lives to the public,” wrote Woodstock Farms Sanctuary, a farmed animal rescue and animal rights group, on a Facebook post. “We must change our relationship with nonhuman animals.”