Burned Alive: Another Reason Not to Eat Animals

Burned Alive: Another Reason Not to Eat Animals

Amidst the ruins of yet another burned down barn, the smell of burnt flesh, and the final cries of animals with scorched hair and lungs, is the smoke: the smokescreen that envelopes farmed animal protection laws.

Or rather, the lack thereof.

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) has just released the estimated deaths of farmed animals that occurred during barn fires in the United States in 2019. Tragically, 469,000 farmed animals were burned alive due to the lack of preventive fire plans; this is triple the 2018 figures. Nonchalant attitudes towards animal evacuation plans and basic fire warning systems, along with outdated electrical boards, drive this number of deaths higher and higher each year. However, the most insidious culprit is the way the meat industry treats and views animals.

Industrial animal farms view animals as objects, an insurance claim amongst tractors and machinery lost in the fires, and just another statistic in the books. This troubling view blatantly contradicts the messaging the industry shares with the public when animal welfare concerns are raised, which falsely attempt to present the farmed animals they kill by the thousands as loving companions and family members.

As a result of three farm fires that occurred, 2017 was one of the worst years in recent times for barn fire animal deaths AWI has recorded. 1.4 million animals perished in those three fires alone. These deaths are a result of maliciously cramming animals into the confined spaces of cages where they cannot turn around or even stretch a wing, with no choice but to listen to their fellow kind scream as they are engulfed by flames. Yet, this horrific loss of life is often scoffed at by the meat industry since 25 million land animals are slaughtered for consumption each day in the U.S.

The numbers AWI works with to estimate these deaths come from scouring media releases and records. However, municipalities are not required to report barn fires, which arguably skews these numbers to be much lower than what they really are.

Currently, the best hope these helpless animals have for surviving farm fires is with the National Fire Protection Association, which offers farmers voluntary guidelines. The fact that these guidelines are voluntary and not mandatory is an alarm bell in itself. The most effective way to reduce the number of animal deaths is to stop confining defenseless animals to these bleak death traps in the first place.

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