Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
Carmina Gooch's letter to the Commission
Re: Fire codes for farm buildings
To: The Chair & Members, Standing Committee on Fire Prevention
Yet another barn fire, this time 3,500 pigs die in barn fire near Lanigan, Sask., reads CBC headline April 1/14.
Searing heat, asphyxiation, and prolonged pain and terror as these living beings desperately try to escape. It’s unimaginable. And preventable. Farmers/producers have an ethical obligation to protect the animals whose lives they have exclusive control over. Installing sprinklers and smoke-control systems is a minimal, yet fundamental, part of that duty. It’s criminal that industry has not demanded these regulations of themselves.
Some recent statistics from Canada and the US reveal alarming numbers of defenceless animals routinely losing their lives due to barn fires.
There were numerous fires across Canada in 2011 in which farmed animals perished in the most agonizing and terrifying way possible.
January 7, 2011 20,000 rabbits and 4,000 piglets burn alive in QC
January 22, 2011 70 dairy cows burn alive in QC
January 24, 2011 35 cattle burn alive in ON
February 26, 2011 7,000 turkeys burn alive in SK
March 5, 2011 300 pigs burn alive in QC
March 18, 2011 125 beef cattle burn alive in QC
March 23, 2011 16,000 chickens burn alive in MB
March 31, 2011 2,000 pigs burn alive in AB
May 21, 2011 4,000 pigs burn alive in MB
June 7, 2011 30,000 hens burn alive in AB
July 22, 2011 12,000 chickens burn alive in MB
July 24, 2011 600 pigs burn alive in AB
July 25, 2011 650 pigs burn alive in ON
November 21, 2011 In just the last 4 weeks, 5 barn fires in Ontario have claimed the lives of nearly 4,300 animals. 2,700 pigs burned alive on October 16, followed by fires at 3 different "dairy" operations on November 5, 15 and 20, which killed 95 cows. On November 15, 1,500 turkeys burned alive. The total number of animal lives lost in Canada to barn fires to date totals over 101,000 animals.
It is essential that all facilities must be equipped with sprinklers and smoke-control systems in order to prevent more senseless tragedies like these ones.
I look forward to seeing the long overdue new requirements incorporated into the 2015 National Building and National Fire Codes, with strong enforcement to ensure compliance.
Update: I have not received the courtesy of a response.
February 28, 2017 Since January, 2016, media reports account for at least 30,000 pigs, cows, horses, sheep, goats, ducks and chickens killed in barn fires across the country, mostly in Ontario. Philip Rizcallah of the National Research Council says the committee in charge of the National Farm Building Code (a non-mandatory model code provinces can adopt and adapt based on needs) is currently working on updates that will enhance fire safety by 2020. The primary objective of those updates, however, will be the protection of human occupants, he says, adding, “As a secondary benefit, asset protection may be realized.” By assets, he means live animals.
As long as our society continues to regard farmed animals as nothing more than property, then industry classifications like “low human occupancy” will persist to allow farmers to dismiss animals as unworthy of protection from horrific harms like fire. Regulations and laws respond to evolving values and concerns within society. Speak up and take action to give them a voice!