We’ve launched a new Compassion Campaign urging you to support the Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act. This vital new legislation will, in addition to many other critical changes, protect farmed animals intentionally left behind during natural disasters.
This legislation is personal to us here at Animal Place.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina decimated a number of commercial farms. Countless farmed animals were killed. Kim Sturla, Animal Place’s Executive Director, flew out to coordinate the rescue of 1,000 chickens raised for their flesh. The hurricane destroyed massive sheds housing the birds and many died. Kim and crew scooped up the small bodies of those that perished that littered the farms.
The survivors were driven to safety and 100 birds made their flight to Animal Place. What the birds went through was unimaginable. It is miraculous that any of them managed to survive. Those who died suffered immensely. Can you imagine their helplessness as the water began to rise around them?
Animal Place Executive Director Kim Sturla greets chickens she helped rescue from Hurricane Katrina at the airport.
Hurricane Katrina was one of the first large climate-change driven farm disasters that the animal rescue community helped with. Today, these events are far more common.
A more recent example is 2018’s Hurricane Florence. When Florence arrived in North Carolina, it was known that many farmed animals would die. But the magnitude was astounding. At least 3.4 million tightly confined pigs, chickens and turkeys died in the floods. One farm alone saw the deaths of 1.7 million chickens.
Confused pigs search for high ground after Hurricane Florence. This may be their first time ever setting foot outside. Photo by We Animals Media.
The recent atmospheric rivers to hit California had deadly tolls on farmed animals too. A Central Valley farm saw thousands of chickens killed by flooding. Media headlines focused on the financial damage rather than the animal suffering and loss of life.
As climate change fuels harsher weather seasons, animals in confinement are more likely to die in natural disasters year-round. When will we decide that this is unacceptable?
For the very first time, legislation has been introduced to help mediate this issue.
The Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act is new federal legislation recently introduced to Congress by Senator Booker and Representative McGovern. There are many components of the bill, but here are the main highlights:
- Require industrial operators to register as a high-risk Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), submit disaster preparedness plans and pay to cover the costs of preparing for and responding to disaster events.
- Ensure that industrial operators aren’t using the worst mass killing practices in the event of natural disasters, including sodium nitrite poisoning, ventilation shutdown, ventilation shutdown plus, and water-based foaming.
- Increase regulations on slaughterhouses, restricting dangerous line-speed increases and meatpacker self-inspection programs. This means that federal inspectors will be required, rather than employees of the slaughterhouse itself.
- Create important protections for animal agriculture industry workers and those employed to carry out mass killing events.
- Protect billions of farmed animals by passing new requirements for more humane transport and slaughter, including phasing out cruel live shackling of chickens and turkeys.
- Invest significant new resources for slaughter technology that reduces pain and stress in animal slaughter facilities and establishing a pilot program to train and employ more part-time inspectors for small slaughterhouses.
Our ideal world has no forms of animal agriculture. In the world we envision, animals would not be raised for their flesh and byproducts. But while we work to create this world, there are steps we can take to reduce animal suffering in the meantime. The Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act is one of those steps.
Keeping animals in conditions like these is unacceptable and is asking for disaster.
This essential new legislation needs your support. We’ve created a simple platform to allow you to email your US Senators with the click of a button. You can use our automated draft email, or you can customize your own for even greater impact. Can we count you in?
Click here to send an email to your US senators immediately. Ask them to stand strong with the Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act. We know we can count on you!
Written by Chelsea Pinkham