Thousands of animals have died in “agricultural disasters,” the British Columbia government said.

Thousands of livestock have died in “agricultural disasters” caused by floods that struck areas of the state known for British Columbia’s major agricultural industry.

Agriculture Minister Lana Pofam said many farmers tried to move their animals on boats because their property was flooded, but were forced to abandon them “because the roads had disappeared under them.” Said.

She said that even well-moved animals are in poor health and may need to be euthanized.

“Animals moving in these streams were able to get to a safe place, but to tell the truth, when they got there, they weren’t in good shape,” she said. The place where the British Columbia government declared a state of emergency, said Wednesday at the press conference.

She said hundreds of farms were affected by the floods, many in the Fraser Valley, about 100 kilometers east of Vancouver.

“And we have thousands of dead animals. We see more in difficult situations and animal welfare problems,” Pofam said.

While euthanasia is needed, some surviving animals require great care, the minister said.

The government is working to ensure that veterinarians have access to these farms as quickly and safely as possible.

Surviving animals are in great need of food for the next 24 hours, according to Pofam, as the floods have wiped out access to feed.

Dozens of farms ordered to evacuate in the Fraser Valley region are poultry farms, a national group representing chicken farmers said.

Lisa Bishop Spencer, Communications Director for Chicken Farmers in Canada, said 61 of the 310 poultry farms in BC have been evacuated, 22 of which are broiler farms where chicken is bred. I am.

“Everyone is trying to make sure that they and their families are safe and take care of the birds as much as possible, but there is still no specific information about the loss,” she said.

She said it was not surprising that some losses were expected as farmers faced the difficult situation of trying to move animals to safe places.

Dairy farms and poultry farms cover the Suma Prairie area of ​​Abbotsford, the same place where residents of 1,000 facilities were told to evacuate on Tuesday.

Farmers spent hours on Tuesday working to bring animals to safe places, sometimes relying on boats and other vessels.

According to Bishop Spencer, BC is the third largest chicken-producing state in the country, but after all farmers and animals have been helped, the organization is working to ensure that supply problems do not occur.

“We are working with federal and state partners to deploy support and support everywhere,” she said.

Mayor Abbotsford said he did not know how many livestock were lost in the floods that struck the city on Tuesday.

Suma Prairie is part of Abbotsford, which has been submerged for 72 hours since Saturday.

Mayor Henry Brown said he saw farmers pass through water 1.5 meters deep to expel livestock.

“There are no numbers. There are many birds there too. I saw a barn that seemed to be half filled with water. I can’t imagine any surviving birds, but I don’t know how many. “

Brown said on Tuesday that he knew that farmers wanted to protect their animals.

“Many people will give their lives for animals,” Brown said.

The situation became even more enthusiastic when the important water pumping station seemed overwhelmed on Tuesday night.

Brown urged farmers who ignored the evacuation order to leave the animals behind.

By Wednesday, the pumping station was surrounded by sandbags and Brown said he felt better about the situation.

Holger Schwichtenberg, Chairman of the BC Dairy Association, accepted 30 dairy cows from the Fraser Valley farm on Tuesday at his farm in Agassiz.

He says the move was stressful for the cow, but they were able to integrate the cow with his 110 animals.

“Some people are a little unhappy. They’re doing a lot of moors because this is new and different, and cows love routines … but they fit very well,” he said Wednesday. I told you.

The association is aware of the loss, but it is unclear how many cows there are, he said.

The BC Milk Marketing Commission advised dairy farmers in areas such as Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and BC Interiors to dump milk into a pile of fertilizer because of landslides and road spills that made transportation impossible.

Many British Columbia dairy producers currently have no road access to their farms. In other cases where milk can be picked up from the farm, there is no place for it to go.

This week’s floods have put a strain on the industry and are still upset since the miserable summer, Schwitchtenberg said.

“We had a long, hot summer. Unless there was a continuous impact of irrigation and COVID, the growing season was very poor, and now we are in this situation,” he said. ..

“It’s testing the resilience of dairy workers, it’s for sure.”

This report by Canadian Press was first published on November 17, 2021.

Brittany Hobson

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