Stop Millions of Animals From Perishing in Farm Fires

Target: Douglas L. Parker, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health

Goal: Support enhanced fire codes and other safety measures at farms.

An explosion and fire rocked the town of Dimmitt, Texas. When the smoke cleared, large portions of the South Fork Dairy Farm were in ashes. A farmworker was critically injured, and nearly 20,000 cattle had lost their lives.

The blast ravaged roughly 40 acres, with the subsequent fire spreading into cattle holding pens. The animals were essentially trapped as the blaze and the suffocating smoke approached. By the time aid arrived, 90 percent of cattle at the farm were gone.

Investigations point to equipment failure combined with methane gas buildup as a possible cause of the deadly explosion. According to the Animal Welfare Institute, this incident was one of the most catastrophic—but far from the only—barn fires that claimed animal lives. In just the last decade alone, an estimated six-and-a-half million animals have died as a result of such fires. Many of these deaths occurred at factory farms. And with these large-scale farms multiplying exponentially and packing even more animals into cramped quarters, the tragedies will likely increase in turn. Unfortunately, deficient safety requirements and lacking fire codes at America’s farms help create the dangerous conditions for these disasters.

Sign the petition below to demand leaders act to end this serious threat to both humans and animals.


Dear Secretary Parker,

Castro County, Texas was the latest scene of a dangerous trend in the United States: fatal barn fires. In this incident, a dairy farm suffered millions of dollars’ worth of damage, an employee was nearly killed, and 18,000 trapped cattle did meet with a horrific fate. These animals represent a small percentage of the six million-plus animals that have perished in barn fires over the last ten years.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, building designed to house animals do not enjoy nearly the same safety protocols or even basic fire codes required as buildings made primarily for humans. This disparity sends a damaging message that these living beings are disposable and unworthy of humane treatment. Moreover, as demonstrated in the latest tragedy, such a template puts the people who do work at these facilities directly in harm’s way.

This deadly event might be dismissed in some circles because it was primarily “just animals,” but what about the next time? What about when more employees happen to be on-site after the next equipment failure? And with factory farms that include more people and exponentially more animals being a primary source of these disasters, an even larger-scale tragedy is inevitable.

The Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities Code would implement much more rigorous fire protection standards for farms, but these safeguards are currently optional. Please honor the oath you took to protect America’s workforce by advocating for a nationwide rollout of this life-saving measure.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Dan Hamill

One Comment

  1. All CAFOS are the same – terrible places that raise animals with no concern for their safety, feelings and welfare. Animals can’t go out on pasture, stand in deep manure and are fed tons of GMO grain products which we, in turn, eat or drink in dairy products and meat. The waste is piled up or put in pits which have been known to overflow during extreme rainy conditions. If liquid manure is sprayed, YES, SPRAYED, it is in the air and affects people for miles around. Can you imagine breathing that all day, smelling it on your clothes and in your house?! This method of raising animals needs to stop or changed in so many ways.

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