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February 15, 2017

Fourth tragic barn fire in 16 days points to broader problem

Authorities can and should prevent thousands of animal deaths per year

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Most barns in Canada are not even outfitted with the most basic smoke detection and sprinkler systems. Farm Sanctuary

Today’s barn fire in Gatineau, Quebec that killed at least 60 cows is the fourth such fire within 16 days; two of the fires took the lives of more than 4,000 pigs in Plympton-Wyoming, Ontario, and 5,000 chickens in Abbotsford, British Columbia. This string of fires is part of a larger pattern in recent years, and indicative of a widespread problem in Canada. Humane Society International/Canada is again calling on provincial and federal governments to take urgent action to require safety measures such as smoke detectors and sprinklers to reduce ongoing risks to animals, first responders and farmers’ properties.

Gabriel Wildgen, campaign manager for HSI/Canada, stated:

“The sheer frequency of these fires within such a short period of time should be a wake-up call for our governments. One can only imagine the terror and pain that each animal experiences, nor the immense danger that brave first responders must put themselves in each time one of these preventable incidences occurs. Authorities must work together to improve fire codes to ensure the safety of all animals kept in barns. Most barns in Canada – some of which house tens of thousands of animals at a time – are not even outfitted with the most basic smoke detection and sprinkler systems.

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“While it is important to acknowledge that these fires often cause millions of dollars in damage, the truly tragic losses are the lives of each sentient being in these facilities, all of whom have an intrinsic desire to live, and deserve to be protected from such a miserable death. Our leaders in government can and should prevent these tragedies with simple updates to fire protection codes.”

Facts:

Media Contact: Christopher Pare, 514 395-2914, cell: 438 402-0643, cpare@hsi.org

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