About half a million chickens died on an egg farm near Roggen, Colorado at Moark Hatcheries. Three large buildings used to house hens were destroyed. No people were harmed, but the damage is extensive and most of the animals on the site lost their lives. The chickens killed in the fire produced about 250,000 eggs daily, about one eighth of Colorado’s egg production.
Firefighters not only had to contend with the blaze, but there were also limited water supplies nearby, so they had to transport water in to do their jobs. The egg farm supplies retail outlets such as Wal-Mart and others in the Denver area.
One of the leading causes of barn fires on smaller farms is heating equipment malfunctions or placement too close to flammable material. Portable heaters, heat lamps and box fans sometimes are used with the assumption they are suitable for agricultural settings, but that assumption can be false.
A woman who began tracking fires on farms said, “My original intent was to see what factors were involved – to find patterns. What I found through keeping this chart was that, in almost every instance, animals were dying in preventable fires, and the cost of prevention was very low when compared to economic disruptions. But, economics aside, the emotional toll suffered, not just by owners, but by the firefighters on scene who are subjected to the screams of the dying and the smell of death, can stay with them for the rest of their lives.”
Because of the tremendous density of animals compressed into relatively small spaces on factory farms, one can easily imagine any disaster like a fire, tornado or flood could cause a very large number of animals to perish or suffer.
Considering this very large egg farm did not have enough water close by to help firefighters, one wonders how many other factory farms are also lacking in water resources adequate enough to stop fires from killing huge numbers of animals packed into small spaces. Of course, there are many other issues associated with factory farming as well.
Image Credit: Public Domain