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Last week, leaking ammonia caused an animal slaughter plant in China to go up in flames, resulting in 120 human deaths, and an unknown number of chickens also perished. While many have pointed fingers at China’s lax safety standards–and it’s justifiable that these standards be looked at–it’s also time to reexamine the fire safety standards in U.S. slaughter plants and factory farms.
On a daily basis, animals in factory farms endure cruel and miserable conditions–conditions that we would never subject our family cat or dog to. These animals are confined in small spaces. They endure painful mutilations including castration without anesthesia, debeaking, and dehorning, among others–and the eventual slaughter is terrifying, painful, and often botched by slaughter plant workers.
Despite all this, it’s hard to imagine a fate worse than being burned alive in a confined area with no way to escape. Yet, every year, hundreds of thousands of farmed animals in the US suffer and die in factory farm fires.
Last year, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) made a sensible and basic recommendation that automatic fire sprinklers and smoke-control systems be a requirement in “animal housing facilities” that would include most factory farms.
This amendment to include factory farms in their “NFPA 150: Standard on Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities” document received immediate backlash from the animal agribusiness powers that be.
Worried about the “financial impact of the decision,” groups like the National Pork Producers Council worked to get this recommendation reversed. Animal groups pushed back, but unfortunately for the animals and farm workers whose lives are also at risk, the animal ag groups succeeded, and the NFPA reversed its decision.
So as it stands, factory farms in the United States are not required to have sprinkler systems or systems in place that would help control the smoke from a fire because, simply stated, the farms just didn’t want to pay for the installation and upkeep of the systems. This disregard puts both animals and humans at severe risk–especially considering the fact that last summer was the hottest summer on record. As temperatures continue to rise, this basic requirement becomes all the more important to preventing egregious amounts of suffering.
Right now, you can choose to not support an industry that would fight against basic and common sense safety precautions–both for animals and humans. Please choose to leave animals off your plate. Start today by visiting TryVeg.com.