That's a great question, and I've often wondered that myself. People love animals, right, and they want all of them to be rescued, or at least taken out of harms way. Especially if there is fair warning, why don't the farmers bring them to a safer place, or at least open their cages and let them out of the facilities? Like all of factory farming, this reality is no different and is pretty grim. It's simply very dangerous for the community and for the animals for them to run loose like that, and it wouldn't be a good situation at all. You're talking thousands of animals. Susie Coston, the National Director at Farm Sanctuary recently shared this in a live video on their Facebook page explaining this. You can find it on their facebook page here
First, let's talk about the farmer's perspective. They treat their animals as commodity, as the animals are nothing but cash machines and are there to make money. That's the bottom line. When hurricances like this are on the horizon, with thousands and thousands of cows, chickens, and pigs, there is nowhere to transport them, and in additon to that, that also costs money - lots of money. There are just too many to move and no place to bring them. Likewise, the government will bail them out, and the farmers will get new animals to replace the ones that perished, so that is the incentive for these factory farms. As you can see here in the aerial photos below (photo credit to Rick Dove,) the facilities are completely submerged and trapped inside are thousands of pigs. But, what about rescuing them? There are so many complications involved, for one, it is illegal to take somebody's property, and the pigs are somebody's property. The rescuers and sanctuaries are not allowed to go in on the property and rescue - they need permission. Not to mention, it's very dangerous. How does a rescue group save thousands and thousands of animals? You can't. You can't save thousands of animals in one swoop, It is such a daunting and overwhelming task. Add to that, the animals would have to be quarantined, housed, risk getting the healthy animals sick on the sanctuary, vetted, fed, cared for, and adopted out. There just isn't adequate room for all of the animals to live freely. It's important to have the proper living conditions and ample room for all to live healthy and abundant lives. It's an overwhelming and frustrating situation that everyone is in.
How does it hurt the environment?
One should also take note, that it is a devastating blow to the environment and water supply, as all of the pig waste is overflowing, and in this case of Florence, is in the Cape Fear river. These now perished pigs, in the thousands, are in the river and water supply as is all the waste. You can read about it here in this article by the New York Times.
And here is another article by the NY Daily News of the reality of pig farming. It is unbelievable the lengths that farming practices are going to to keep this industry alive. It doesn't make sense economically, globally, and for the sustainabilty of the planet to remain on this path. As farmers are able to asess their damages, it looks like the loss with Florence is worse than the loss with hurricane Mathew in 2016 as pointed out in the Charlotte Observer. With so many options out there that are healthier for you, to end the suffering of animals, and for a healthy, clean, and thriving environment, it seems like such a no brainer.
What's the solution?
It's an ongoing issue, where these natural disasters hit, people become outraged that the animals aren't being rescued (and they should be outraged!) but it's a battle. What is the solution to this problem? The hard reality is that where there is no demand, there is no supply. That's the bottom line. By adopting a vegan lifestyle and going plant based, you will help not only your health, but the lives of the animals, and the environment. Without the supply and demand, this wouldn't be happening. You have the power to vote with your dollar and to what you will buy and eat. The power is in your hands, and presently, it's never been easier.