WINNIPEG: HWM, a citizens’ group which monitors the industry in the province, calls the blaze “horrific.” Three thousand, five hundred pigs perished when two barns burned to the ground near New Bothwell last week.
It’s just the latest in a series of similar incidents in the province that have left thousands more hogs dead over the past decade. The barns are not equipped with the same fire walls or alarm/sprinkler systems that most other buildings must have.
And HWM fears that plans by the Pallister government to remove what it calls “impractical and costly” fire prevention regulations in barn construction, will only make a bad situation even worse.How can these changes make the situation better?
“Although the thousands of pigs that have died in barn fires are not someone’s pet, they are all sentient beings that have the capacity to suffer fear and pain” says Vicki Burns of HWM. “If there were horrific fires like this in animal shelters like humane societies, the public would not tolerate it. We should not be tolerating this for any animal housing, whether they are cats and dogs or animals raised for agricultural production. The degree of pain experienced in a fatal fire will be excruciating for any animals”.
Janine Gibson, an organic inspector and member of HWM, says “ These barn fires do not need to happen . We have the means to provide good fire prevention in our barns, just as we do in other buildings. Let’s make this happen to offer more humane circumstances for all animals."
HWM believes that hog producers need to receive enough remuneration that they can afford to build safe, healthy barns.