When natural disasters occur, people are usually concerned with rescuing people in dangerous locations, making sure injured civilians receive immediate medical attention, sending food and water over to compromised areas, and saving domesticated and stray animals that have been left behind in the flooding. Recently, when Hurricane Matthew struck, animals in over 20 areas, from North Carolina to Haiti, were traumatized, both physically and emotionally. Determined to help these innocent creatures, animal rescue organizations have been making their way onto the grounds of the affected areas to help any malnourished, hungry animals, administer vaccines and veterinary care, and offer emotional support.
A group of animals that organizations, and people in general, may not necessarily concern themselves with, however, are the thousands of animals trapped on factory farms. Earlier this week, conservationist organizations and government agencies dispatched surveillance helicopters over Cumberland and Robeson counties in North Carolina and reported that waters from flooding rivers and creeks had reached at least six poultry houses and had even reached some hog houses at animal feed operations. Governor Pat McCrory shared that thousands of the animals had already drowned and that more deaths were expected in the coming days.
Without any emergency plan set in place for these animals, they were left to die in desperation and vain, deemed unworthy of protection. This disturbing sight is simply unwarranted. These animals deserve so much more.
While some people may argue that these animals would’ve died either way, it becomes harder to argue this point considering that usually these animals at least become food (albeit unhealthy food) for someone to eat. In the case of Hurricane Matthew, these animals were essentially forced to lead miserable lives stuffed into cramped, filthy sheds, forced to stand in puddles of their own urine and feces, fed food that has been laden with antibiotics, and treated with zero respect, just to be fished out of a river and thrown away like an object.
These animals may not be as beloved as dogs and cats, but we think it’s safe to say that most people would not actively support such cruel and negligent treatment of these animals. However, because animals on factory farms are regarded as nothing more than commodities, it comes as little surprise that few efforts were made to get the animals to safety or evacuate them before the flooding. The reality is these farmers will take the loss of animals the same way they would a lost profit, likely paying little mind to the fear or pain these animals probably experienced in the wake of this disaster.
Pigs are highly intelligent and emotional animals who have demonstrated empathy towards one another – and some studies have even proven that they are smarter than three-year-olds. They are not stupid, non-feeling beings, we cannot continue to blatantly fail them in this manner.
Share this post if you think pigs and other farm animals should be viewed as someones, not somethings!
Image source: Lisa Rice/Facebook