Tragic News As Massive Explosion At Southfork Dairy Farm In Texas Kills An Estimated 18,000+ Cows

What may be the deadliest barn fire ever involving cows occurred Monday evening at the Southfork Dairy Farm near Dimmitt, Texas. While there were no human fatalities, the number of cows believed to have perished in the fire is estimated to be in the thousands.

The cause of the explosion and fire are under investigation by the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office.

As per a statement sent to WAN by the Castro County Sheriff’s Office, at 7:21 p.m. the Castro County Sheriff’s Office 911 Dispatch received eight 911 calls about an explosion and fire at the Southfork Dairy Farm. Multiple 911 calls were received stating that some of the employees were trapped inside the dairy milking building. Upon the arrival of Castro County Sheriff’s Office law enforcement, it was determined that only one person was still in the dairy building. Personnel from the Dimmitt and Hart Fire Departments arrived and entry was made by fire personnel with SBA equipment. The person was located, brought out and treated by AMR EMS and was eventually flown by medical helicopter to UMC Hospital in Lubbock for treatment. Their condition was listed as critical. All other employees were accounted for.

While the Castro County Sheriff’s Department was unable to confirm the number of cows that lost their lives in the explosion, WAN talked to Marjorie Fishman of Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) who noted that media reports have shared that, “an estimated 18,000+ cows perished in the blaze. If that number is indeed correct, this is by far the deadliest barn fire for cattle (since we began tracking barn fires in 2013).”

Nearly 6.5 million farm animals have perished in barn fires since 2013, according to AWI analysis. These devastating numbers, which likely do not even represent the full scale of the problem, serve as an urgent reminder to the industry to prioritize fire safety and prevention on farms. No federal laws in the United States specifically protect farm animals from barn fires. Only a few states have adopted the National Fire Protection Association’s Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities Code, which establishes safety requirements for animals in barns and other types of housing. Texas has not adopted the code, according to NFPA’s database.

“We hope the industry will remain focused on this issue and strongly encourage farms to adopt commonsense fire safety measures,” said Allie Granger, policy associate for AWI’s farm animal program.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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