Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Carmina Gooch's letter to the Commission

Re: Fire codes for farm buildings 

To: The Chair & Members, Standing Committee on Fire Prevention  

Yet another barn fire, this time 3,500 pigs die in barn fire near Lanigan, Sask., reads CBC headline April 1/14.

Searing heat, asphyxiation, and prolonged pain and terror as these living beings desperately try to escape. It’s unimaginable. And preventable. Farmers/producers have an ethical obligation to protect the animals whose lives they have exclusive control over. Installing sprinklers and smoke-control systems is a minimal, yet fundamental, part of that duty. It’s criminal that industry has not demanded these regulations of themselves.    

Some recent statistics from  Canada and the US reveal alarming numbers of defenceless animals routinely losing their lives due to barn fires. 

January 2014 – 3,700 pigs killed in a barn fire at New Horizons Farms near Hardwick, Minn.
February 2014 – 300,000 chickens killed in a barn fire at S&R Egg Farm in La Grange, Wis.
February 2014 – 1,000 pigs killed in a barn fire near Lafayette, Minn.
March 2014 – 1,300 pigs killed in a barn fire in Ontario, Canada
March 2014 – A ‘number of chickens’, 3 horses, and 5 cows killed in Ottawa barn fire
March 2013 -- 6000 baby chicks burned to death at a Perdue facility in Pocomoke City,MD.
December 20, 2012 -- 25,000 turkeys confined in a single building died in a fire in Timberville, VA.
August 2012 --Cows, calves killed as blaze destroys 100-year-old N.Y. dairy farm.
August 2012 -- Another N.Y. dairy suffers devastating loss from fire, up to 90 cows killed.
April 2012 – 500,000 chickens killed in an egg farm fire in Weld County, Colo.

There were numerous fires across Canada in 2011 in which farmed animals perished in the most agonizing and terrifying way possible.

January 7, 2011 20,000 rabbits and 4,000 piglets burn alive in QC 

January 22, 2011 70 dairy cows burn alive in QC

January 24, 2011 35 cattle burn alive in ON 

February 26, 2011 7,000 turkeys burn alive in SK 

March 5, 2011 300 pigs burn alive in QC

March 18, 2011 125 beef cattle burn alive in QC 

March 23, 2011 16,000 chickens burn alive in MB

March 31, 2011 2,000 pigs burn alive in AB 

May 21, 2011 4,000 pigs burn alive in MB

June 7, 2011 30,000 hens burn alive in AB  

July 22, 2011 12,000 chickens burn alive in MB

July 24, 2011 600 pigs burn alive in AB  

July 25, 2011 650 pigs burn alive in ON


November 21, 2011  In just the last 4 weeks, 5 barn fires in Ontario have claimed the lives of nearly 4,300 animals.  2,700 pigs burned alive on October 16, followed by fires at 3 different "dairy" operations on November 5, 15 and 20, which killed 95 cows. On November 15, 1,500 turkeys burned alive.  The total number of animal lives lost in Canada to barn fires to date totals over 101,000 animals. 

It is essential that all facilities must be equipped with sprinklers and smoke-control systems in order to prevent more senseless tragedies like these ones. 

I look forward to seeing the long overdue new requirements incorporated into the 2015 National Building and National Fire Codes, with strong enforcement to ensure compliance.

Update: I have not received the courtesy of a response.

February 28, 2017 Since January, 2016, media reports account for at least 30,000 pigs, cows, horses, sheep, goats, ducks and chickens killed in barn fires across the country, mostly in Ontario. Philip Rizcallah of the National Research Council says the committee in charge of the National Farm Building Code (a non-mandatory model code provinces can adopt and adapt based on needs) is currently working on updates that will enhance fire safety by 2020. The primary objective of those updates, however, will be the protection of human occupants, he says, adding, “As a secondary benefit, asset protection may be realized.” By assets, he means live animals.

As long as our society continues to regard farmed animals as nothing more than property, then industry classifications like “low human occupancy” will persist to allow farmers to dismiss animals as unworthy of protection from horrific harms like fire. Regulations and laws respond to evolving values and concerns within society. Speak up and take action to give them a voice!

E-1452 (Building Code) Barn fires

January 24, 2018 

42nd Parliament Sponsored by Robert Oliphant, Don Valley West, Liberal, Ontario

Petition to Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains


- More than 470,000 farm animals have died in barn fires in Canada between January 2015 and November 2017;
- It is very difficult to evacuate animals who are contained in cages and stalls from a burning barn;
- Barn fires are usually attended by rural fire departments whose response time is longer than those in urban areas and barns are often engulfed in flames on their arrival;
- The National Research Council is currently updating the National Farm Building Code; and
- The current plan for the updated National Farm Building Code does not include protection for animals.

We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, call upon the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to direct the National Research Council to revise its policy and add protection of animals from fire as an objective in the updated National Farm Building Code. https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-1452

Read more: Codes of Practice fail to protect farm animals; NFACC Report 2011; Timelines; NFAHWC; Maple Lodge inhumanity, misleads consumers, complaint filed

BC Liberal Party Ideas Lab: Agriculture and Food - improve farm animal welfare criteria; letters

What has eyes, people conscious of their responsibility do not eat. See our Factory Farming and Ethics pages