500 cattle dead following devastating flooding in Abbotsford: BC Dairy Association
Trigger warning: This story discusses animal deaths and body disposal plans
Approximately 500 cattle have died as a result of the devastating flooding in Abbotsford and Yarrow.
That’s the latest estimate from the BC Dairy Association (BC Dairy), which released a preliminary assessment on Tuesday morning. The organization says that prior to last weekend’s severe weather event, there were approximately 23,000 cattle in the region.
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“About 500 are deceased as a result of flooding,” BC Dairy says in a release. “An estimated 6,000 cattle were evacuated to other farms in the Abbotsford, Chilliwack, or Agassiz areas and are being cared for there, while an estimated 16,000 remained on their own farms.”
In addition, the number of deceased cattle could continue to rise if more flooding occurs or if animals need to be euthanized due to health problems caused by the flooding.
BC Dairy says that it’s working with the provincial government, transportation companies, farmers, and volunteers to ensure that cattle on impacted farms are housed, fed, and watered.
“While just one cow perishing in a natural disaster is disheartening, it is a credit to the tireless work of farmers, their families and volunteers that so many cattle were saved and so few lost,” Holger Schwichtenberg, chair of the BC Dairy Association says.
The total number of animals that perished in the Fraser Valley could be much higher. Earlier this month, Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham said that thousands of animals have perished in the region, with more that will need to be euthanized.
Another storm is expected to hit BC’s south coast later this week. A special weather statement is currently in effect for the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver.