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DEADSTOCK: Thousands of factory farmed animals drown in British Columbia floods, many more left stranded

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The cows were very confused. They’re shivering and shaking and panicked. The hay started floating and the cows were still eating the hay as it floated. The situation is heartbreaking.

MICHELE BRUNORO: Thousands of farm animals have perished in B.C. floods, and thousands more will be in “critical need of food” over the next few days, according to the province’s minister of agriculture… Hundreds of farms have been affected by flooding, including both those that are underwater and those that have stayed dry, but are cut off from necessary resources.

Many farmers on Sumas Prairie in Abbotsford have stayed put, despite evacuation orders, refusing to abandon their animals. Owners, along with volunteers, are desperately trying to save cattle. Frightened cows are being towed one by one through treacherous flood waters behind jet skis. They are then pulled to safety and herded into trailers…

One of the people using a boat to help in the effort is Abbotsford resident Menno Koehoorn. “The cows are very confused,” Koehoorn told CTV News. “They’re of course shivering and shaking and panicked … The situation is heartbreaking. “There’s going to be dead livestock and dead chickens and some other things,” said Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun. “We know that a lot of the cows came out. The heroic efforts of our farmers was unbelievable. I wish you could see what I saw.”

But the emotional mayor says many calves drowned when waters rose to four or five feet… Paulette Johnson, 66, said the water came up fast, flooding her home and leaving the cows standing in water as well. “The hay started floating and they were eating the hay as it floated,” she explained…

Flooding in the Fraser Valley also inundated the province’s animal health lab, which conducts testing for diseases in livestock in the province, as well as safety testing for B.C. milk, according to the minister…

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said… “I saw barns that looked like they were half full of water, I can’t imagine that there are any birds left alive”… Holger Schwichtenberg said he was not yet sure how many farmers were working to move their milking cows, but in such situations, they would reach out for help to get their animals off-site.

He said 25 to 30 cows were being transported to his own farm in Agassiz on Tuesday from another farm in the Fraser Valley, east of Vancouver. “This is an example of an industry coming together when things really get ugly,” Schwichtenberg said. “We’re doing the best that we can with the situation that we’ve been handed and it’s a tough one.”

Moving livestock is time consuming and stressful for the animals and people involved. “You’ve got trucks, you’ve got neighbours, you’ve got whoever’s got a pickup truck or something to haul cattle in and you start moving them to higher ground or you’ve made arrangements to get them off-site,” Schwichtenberg said. Braun said Tuesday watching farmers work to save their animals was “heartbreaking”. SOURCE…

SHEENA GOODYEAR: B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham says she understands that farmers are desperate to reach their starving and injured livestock in flood-ravaged parts of the province, but she’s asking them not to put themselves in harm’s way by crossing police-enforced roadblocks.

Thousands of animals have died as a result of severe flooding on farmlands in southern B.C., and many more remain stranded on evacuated properties with no access to food or clean water. Some were injured in the flooding and require veterinary assistance. Some farmers have been crossing roadblocks or defying evacuation orders in order to tend to their livestock, but are being stopped by RCMP…

CBC: ‘You have heard, I’m sure, that many of these farmers [are saying they] would die for their animals, and they’re trying to protect them. At the same time, there are evacuation orders in many of these places for their own safety. What are you advising the farmers to do?’

LANA POPHAM: ‘I don’t think that any of us can really understand the pain that these farmers are feeling right now as they’re being kept away from their animals. We’ve got animals that haven’t had food and water for days.

There’s farmers that know they need to get back in just even to deal with euthanization issues. And so it’s a desperate situation and it’s painful. But there are really dangerous situations right now with the roadways. And so we are not encouraging farmers to cross into those dangerous areas, although we completely understand why they’re doing it’. SOURCE…

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