10,000 Pigs Died in a Barn Fire. Meat Company Calls It “Unfortunate.”

A massive pig farm containing more than 10,000 pigs recently burned to the ground, killing every single animal trapped inside. 

The facility, owned by Canadian meatpacking company Olymel, was a “finishing barn” where pigs of different ages were “fattened up” for slaughter. Vice president of production Casey Smit said piglets and adult pigs alike were killed by the thousands in the fire:

There would have been young pigs and older pigs throughout the barn. There are basically two wings in the barn, so it’s a continuous flow of operation.

The sheer size of the barn and swiftness of the fire meant firefighters could not stop the blaze—they could only monitor the spread as the pigs suffered and died within. Olymel spokesperson Richard Vigneault described the situation as “very unfortunate,” noting, “Fortunately, all the staff is OK, but the animals all perished.”

Pigs crowded on factory farm.

As devastating as this tragedy is, barn fires at factory farms are not uncommon. When these fires happen, companies often highlight their financial losses. The true victims—the staggering number of animals burned alive in overcrowded farms—are rarely the focus. This was the case in a horrifying egg farm fire last year that claimed the lives of 200,000 chickens, when a company spokesperson spared only one sentence on the fate of the birds:

Overnight, a fire destroyed one of our barns at our Howard Lake farm. No one was injured and we are grateful that first responders were quickly on scene to put out the fire. Unfortunately, chickens were lost because of the fire. We are evaluating the extent of the damage—which appears to be confined to a single structure—as well as investigating the cause of the fire.

These mass-casualty fires—and the industry’s response to them—once again demonstrate how animals trapped in the agriculture industry are treated as mere commodities. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to remove our support from this cruel industry. Download our FREE How to Eat Veg guide to get started today!

Cover Photo: Gabriela Penela / We Animals Media