Animal Death Toll Heavy in Florence

September 20, 2018



Another victim of Hurricane Florence: farm animals.

Millions of animals left on farms in North Carolina during the record-breaking rainfall have drowned in the flooding. As of Tuesday (Sept. 18), the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which has been counting livestock deaths in the field, says 3.4 million chickens and turkeys have died so far, along with 5,500 pigs.

“These numbers could change based on further recovery efforts,” the department said in a statement.

Sanderson Farms, one of the biggest poultry companies in the state, said about 30 of the independent farms it contracts to supply its chickens were isolated by flood waters as of Monday (Sept 17). Each farm houses approximately 211,000 chickens.

“Losses of live inventory could escalate if the Company does not regain access to those farms,” a Sanderson spokesperson wrote in a statement. An additional 64 chicken barns on various farms under Sanderson contract have already flooded, leaving 1.7 million chickens dead. Those chickens were included in the state agriculture department’s count.

North Carolina is the second-largest pork producer in the US, trailing only Iowa, and one of the largest poultry producers in the country. By the state’s count, there are 9.3 million hogs, 819 million chickens, and 33.5 million turkeys housed on farms in North Carolina. Between 65 and 70 million chickens are slaughtered in the state in an average month, along with roughly 2 million turkeys, according to US Department of Agriculture numbers from 2017.

Livestock deaths in North Carolina due to Hurricane Florence already exceed those caused by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. In Hurricane Floyd, which hit the state in 1999, losses ended up totalling 21,000 hogs and about 1 million poultry birds.

Meanwhile, 13 hog manure lagoons are overflowing from rainfall, another 55 are close to overtopping their walls and, and an additional four lagoons have suffered structural damage. Hog manure running into flood waters poses a substantial public health risk, according to experts.


One Response to “Animal Death Toll Heavy in Florence”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Ho-hum—nothing to see here. folks—-move along—-just step over all those dead critters, try not to inhale the flies, and beware of using the groundwater that’s being polluted. Oh, and next year, the Albemarle/Pamlico estuaries likely won’t be too attractive after all the crap runs off. (Human death toll is now in the 40’s).

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