Factory farms are death traps


Imagine this: you are in a cage so small you cannot even turn around. In a building with hundreds of other mothers also confined in cages. Something goes wrong nearby and thick choking smoke fills the building followed by a rapid increase in stifling heat. You can hear the frantic screams of your neighbours. Panic stricken, you desperately try to break free to reach your babies nearby but the bars are too strong and you only bruise yourself.

Hundreds of mother pigs had this terrifying experience when a fire broke out at a piggery the other day. Many died along with their babies. Smoke detectors and automatic fire sprinklers would have likely prevented this tragedy.

What makes this all the more shocking was that this was the fourth time that a fire has broken out at that particular piggery.  According to media, the cause was likely electrical. Footage by Farmwatch have shown that some factory farms have rats running around: attracted by the feed that is readily available. Rats are known for also chewing through electrical wiring.

Fires have also broken out at other factory farms, including this fire three years ago which killed 18,000 layer hens.

It is clear from these examples that fires are an inherent risk for factory farms, which end up being death traps for the animals caged in them.

Incredibly, despite this risk and the thousands of animals that have already died on factory farm fires, there is still no legal requirement to provide fire sprinklers on factory farms.

Some factory farms – such as the Mainland colony cages that I visited last year – have chosen to install them, but it is not mandatory, and it should be.

I have repeatedly called for an end to the ‘legalised cruelty’ of factory farming. But in the meantime as an absolute minimum, it is essential that that the Minister step in and require fire sprinklers to be installed at all factory farms .

4 Comments Posted

  1. More regulation applied to small farms would currently be a disaster. Lobby groups are good at getting well meaning changes applied not just to big industrial farms, but also to smaller farms where people are already going crazy to survive

    We need positive solutions first, such as NZD exchange rate adjustment, local processing options, and regional market development. Make the market controlling companies pay tax, and all that. Big challenges to overcome, before improvements to welfare come be effective.

    We have rats in our ceiling, and our lights sometimes go out, and back. Yes, the whole roof will need replacing. I’m talking about the house we live in, but no time for worrying about use. Our cows have it good. Got their straw boxes upgraded last month, so heifers can escape out the front, it a bossy cow comes with horns from behind. It happens so rare that it probably wasn’t worth the cost, but the old cows can now stand-up better, so I’m ok with it. Funny how even a minor upgrade around the sheds cost more then what I earn in a month.

    But thanks to Mojo for keeping active with this issue. Surely we all want better animal welfare. The first step might be stopping the military-industrial-complex taking away our human welfare.

    Right, back to the herd, cow due to calve, see if the new heifer is eating after having twins, milk control this evening… oh, and seedlings still need planting out around our ditches and pond.

  2. From the linked-to report:

    Kevin Holmes says the fire … originated from a fault in perhaps a fan, heat lamp or light

    So which was it? A light? A fan? A heat-lamp? A fucking genie in a bottle? “Perhaps”? I may not be a smart man, but I can tell the difference between a light and a fan, and if Kevin can’t then either (a) everything was burned beyond recognition so there really is no way to determine the cause of the blaze, or (b) he’s just making stuff up. Or perhaps both.


    Mathers, why are you accepting this bullshit?

    (And yes, these places should have sprinklers. Everywhere should have sprinklers. They really do save lives, every day of the week. They could save pig lives too)

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