Investigators that were looking for the cause of a fire at a dairy farm in the Texas Panhandle that killed up to 18,000 cows confirmed that it was an accident that started with an engine fire in a manure vacuum truck cleaning part of the barn. The incident happened on 10th April 2023 at the South Fork Dairy in Dimmitt, Texas, US, about 66 miles south of Amarillo.

A worker driving the truck through a section of the barn told investigators he noticed what he first thought was steam coming from the engine compartment. He tried to drive out of the barn when he realised it was a fire. The driver said he tried to put out the fire with two extinguishers but failed. Several other employees told investigators they rushed to help, but the fire quickly spread, injuring one person and killing up to 18,000 cows prematurely (as they were destined to be killed for food later, anyway).The report noted the dairy farm had a second manure hauling truck on the property outside of the barn, but it too had previously burned. As a satisfactory explanation has been found about what happened the investigation has now been closed.

Castro County is the second-highest milk-producing county in Texas, producing 147 million pounds of milk in February 2023. In 2019, the Texas state authorised South Fork Dairy Farm to keep more than double the number of cows permitted.

According to the Animal Welfare Institute, the blaze is the deadliest fire regarding cows deaths since they started tracking barn fires in 2013. Margie Fishman, from the Animal Welfare Institute, said soon after the accident: “We strongly encourage farms to adopt common-sense fire safety measures. It is hard to imagine anything worse than being burned alive.”

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.