- Jackie WeprukGeneral Manager, NFACC
- Ryder LeeChair, NFACC
Protect Animals From Barn Fires
Every year in Canada, tens to hundreds of thousands of animals suffer and die trapped inside barns that catch fire.
The animals confined in these buildings, often additionally restricted inside cages or stalls, experience terror and suffer unimaginable pain as they attempt to escape while fire rages inside their building. Hundreds to thousands of animals may burn alive in a single barn fire.
Animals who survive often suffer excruciating burns and respiratory difficulties, yet veterinarians are generally not called, or if they are, are not equipped to deal with such large numbers of animals. As a result, the animals may be left to suffer for hours or even days. These animals may even be taken to slaughter, subjected to the rigors of transport while injured or burned.
Barn fires are highly preventable simply by making a few design adjustments or retrofitting them into existing barns, and taking common sense steps to prevent fires in high risk locations. These include:
- Separating the electronic installations from the rest of the building with fireproof walls or compartments
- Constructing and furnishing the barn with non-flammable materials
- Installing heat and smoke detectors and alarms along with fire suppressant systems such as sprinklers
- Ensuring regular maintenance of electrical equipment and systems
- Developing protocols for the coordination and prompt action by municipal and regional fire departments, which include veterinarians, to help prevent further animal suffering. Such protocols should include measures to remove animals as quickly as possible and permit fast access to animals, as well as provide ready availability of drugs for pain relief and euthanasia if necessary.
In Canada, the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) is the body that establishes standards for farmed animal care. Although the standards are voluntary, they may have important legal significance as they determine what constitutes standard practice; any deviation from them is deemed unacceptable and potentially illegal.
While the issue of barn fires has not historically been under NFACC's purview, the Council has developed codes for other overarching issues such as transport, which was released in 2001 and has recently been reviewed, updated and included in each of newly released species codes since 2009.
Establishing better codes of practice regarding fire prevention and suppression has the potential to affect the lives of all of Canada's 700 million farmed animals. Please join us in asking NFACC to develop barn fire codes to protect Canada's farmed animals.
- General Manager, NFACC
- Chair, NFACC
I was horrified to learn of the regular and routine occurrence of highly preventable barn fires in Canada. Animals in such fires experience terror and suffer unimaginable pain as they attempt to escape while fire rages around them. Often these animals are additionally restricted inside cages or stalls, meaning they have no chance of escape.
Just in the past year, almost 60,000 animals have burned alive in barn fires in Canada.
The time for action is now. You have the authority to protect farmed animals from barn fires and prevent this needless suffering.
I urge you to develop national barn fire codes to prevent and reduce the occurrence of barn fires, as well as help minimize the suffering of animals.
As a civilized society it's our moral obligation to prevent cruelty to all animals, including farmed animals.
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