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
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.
“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.”
- This is the latest in a string of recent and similar tragedies. In early 2016 a fire in a Quebec duck barn killed 50,000 animals on New Year’s Day.
- On Jan. 4, 2016, 43 racehorses were killed in a fire at Classy Lane Training Centre in Puslinch, Ontario.
- That same month, fire claimed the lives of more than 2,000 pigs and caused $1.1 million in damage to a farm near Parkhill, northwest of London,Ontario.
- On Feb. 25, 2016, 50 cows and 20 calves were killed in a barn fire on Concession 12 in Brockton, near Walkerton,Ontario.
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