Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Flooding from Hurricane Matthew leading to mass drownings of chickens, hogs in North Carolina

A flooded poultry operation in Duplin, N.C.
(Waterkeeper Alliance photo by Rick Dove)
Hurricane Matthew's destruction has led to flooding that has decimated livestock in rural eastern North Carolina, one of the top pork producing regions in the state, Kirk Ross and Daryl Fears report for The Washington Post. "Conservationist organizations and government agencies that dispatched surveillance helicopters over Cumberland and Robinson counties on Tuesday reported that waters from swollen rivers and creeks had reached at least a half-dozen poultry houses and possibly some hog houses at animal feed operations."

Brian Long, a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said they were aware of poultry farms being flooded, but had no confirmation of hog losses, Ross and Fears write. Rick Dove, an environmentalist for the Waterkeeper Alliance who claimed to have seen thousands of floating carcasses, estimated the number of dead chickens “is probably in the millions" and “there could be tens of thousands of dead hogs.”

Another concern is animal waste getting into fresh water, Ross and Fears write. "The state doesn’t disclose the amount of waste the animals produce, but some organization estimate it at more than 15 million pounds of manure annually." (Read more)

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