Reading Time: 2 minutes We Animals' Jo-Anne McArthur and Kelly Guerin are documenting the wreckage (Photo: We Animals)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

A leading vegan advocate has said we breed so many farm animals they become ‘disposable’.

Jo-Anne McArthur and Kelly Guerin from We Animals – an ‘archive of photos and stories about the relationships between human and non-human animals’ – are documenting the loss of animal life in the wake of Hurricane Florence, a category 4 storm which has caused flooding across the Carolinas, killing huge numbers of farm animals who were left trapped in factory facilities to drown.

Official statistics released by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on September 18 says the death toll has reached 5,500 pigs, and 3.4 million chickens and turkeys – and is expected to rise.

Swimming pigs

A video captured by Guerin – and sent to Plant Based News – shows pigs swimming through floodwaters of the Hurricane.

“Hot, sad, tiring day. Tremendously grateful to have been out in boats today with the rescue organization Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in North Carolina where @kjguerin and I are documenting the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. So much stench and death out here on the water. We are floating in sewage and manure,” said McArthur in a social media post.

“We farm animals on such a scale that when disaster comes, evacuating them isn’t even an option. They’re left behind. Disposable,” she wrote in a separate post about the disaster.

Video footage shows pigs swimming in floodwaters (Video: Kelly Guerin/We Animals)

‘No chance of survival’

A number of vegan activists have spoken out about the cruelty of farmers who have left animals to drown while saving themselves.

Zachary Toliver, writing for PETA, said these animals were ‘denied even the slightest chance at survival’, adding: “Imagine how terrified you would be if you were abandoned and trapped in a flooding shed with no possible escape.

“Not a single one of these thinking, conscious living beings chose to die. No doubt, until their last minutes, they did everything possible to keep their heads above water in a relentless struggle to preserve their own lives. They probably cried out in panic for relief that would never come.”

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Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.