At least 18,000 cattle died in a fire that started on 10th April 2023 at the South Fork Dairy in Dimmitt, Texas, US, about 66 miles south of Amarillo. It seems that the fire began with an explosion from a machine overheating in the farm, and then the fire spread to where the cows were being kept captive to steal their milk.
Sal Rivera, Castro County Sheriff, said: “There’s some that survived, there’s some that are probably injured to the point where they’ll have to be destroyed.” He speculated that the facility’s manure management equipment may be to blame, as it may have ignited methane gas after overheating. One woman also survived and is in hospital in critical condition.
According to the Animal Welfare Institute, the blaze is the deadliest fire regarding cows’ deaths since the they started tracking barn fires in 2013. Margie Fishman, from the Animal Welfare Institute, said: “We strongly encourage farms to adopt common-sense fire safety measures. It is hard to imagine anything worse than being burned alive.” Castro County is the second-highest milk-producing county in Texas, producing 147 million pounds of milk in February 2023. The Texas Tribune reports that, in 2019, the Texas state authorised South Fork Dairy Farm to keep more than double the number of cows permitted, from 11,500 to up to 32,000 cows, and to increase its manure production by more than 50%. It turns out now that this was a bad decision.
Cows are not the only victims of the animal agriculture industry dying in this way. On 29th January 2023, a fire at a Hillandale Farms property in Bozrah, Connecticut, killed prematurely about 100,000 chickens. This was one of the top five egg producers in the country that exploits more than 20 million chickens to steal their eggs for vegetarian and meat-eating consumers.