“Hurricane Florence produced more flooding than most previous storms. And millions of animals have already paid the price.
The farming industry losses will be significant because the flooding has affected the top 6 farming counties in North Carolina, said farming commissioner Steve Troxler.
The same areas that were hit by hurricane Matthew were hit again. This increases the problem for farmers.
Hurricane Matthew flooded more than 140 hog and poultry barns, more than a dozen open hog waste pits and large areas of fields covered in manure.
Poultry is the number 1 farming industry in North Carolina. It’s worth around $36.6 billion a year. According to the North Carolina Poultry Federation.
The third largest poultry producer in the country, Sanderson Farms, said that 1.7 million of its broiler chickens were destroyed because of flooding. Sixty of its 880 broiler houses flooded and another six were damaged.
Additionally, Sanderson said about 30 farms had been cut off by flood waters. Each farm has around 211,000 chickens. These chickens will die if feed trucks cannot reach them.
The state is also the nations second biggest producer of pigs. More than 2,100 farms raise about 9 million pigs each year.
During hurricane Matthew, around 2,800 pigs were killed, but 5,500 have died in hurricane Florence so far.
The North Carolina Pork Council told reporters that its farmers took strong measures to reduce the impacts. Thousands of animals were moved to safer areas.
Animal rights group PETA called the animal deaths a “tragedy“. They said “These millions of deaths were preventable“. They further noted that while there is a market for animal flesh, some people will try to make money from animals. PETA urges people to take responsibility for the suffering of the animals lost. They urge people to go vegan to stop cruelty involved in the meat industry.
The Humane Society of the United States was also “heartbroken” over the deaths. They added that the animals lost their lives needlessly. They say the farms are responsible for the deaths. They knew the impacts of storms and they knew how many animals could be rescued. It’s their job to ensure the safety of their animals. If they cannot do this, they should lower the number of animals raised in each farm. If they don’t do this, it can have a serious impact on the community, the environment and the animals.
Meanwhile, 77 pig waste lagoons have either broken or at risk of breaking. The pigs in North Carolina produce almost 10 billion gallons (38 billion liters) of fecal waste a year. Flooded CAFOs could release a dangerous mix of pollutants that can harm human health and the environment.