How Natural Disasters Like Hurricane Harvey Affect Farmed Animals

The devastating floods caused by Hurricane Harvey affect not only residents and their companion animals but also millions of farmed animals.


Texas has the most cows raised to be slaughtered for beef in the United States. According to the USDA, the 54 counties declared a disaster area due to the recent storm are home to over 1.2 million cows, about 27 percent of the state’s cattle.

While it’s too early to know the number of farmed animals killed during the storm, there have been numerous videos showing stranded cows seeking higher ground to avoid rushing floodwaters.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time a natural disaster has claimed the lives of farmed animals. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd dumped 19 inches of rain on North Carolina, killing more than 2 million turkeys, chickens, and other farmed animals. Also, more than 35,000 dairy cows froze to death in 2016 during a blizzard in Texas. And just last year, thousands of chickens and pigs drowned in floodsafter Hurricane Matthew hit North Carolina.

During natural disasters, farmed animals are often left behind to die while farmers flee with companion animals for safety. Unlike dogs and cats, who by law must be included in government evacuation plans during natural disasters, farmed animals are afforded no legal protection.

In fact, many animals are left to drown in cages, another reminder of the dangers farmed animals face when cruelly confined and unable to escape floods, fires, or other disasters.

Natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey are tragic, but for animals trapped at factory farms, life itself is tragic. Farmed animals spend much of their lives in filthy, unnatural conditions. Many are crammed into cages or crates so small the animals can barely move. Most are mutilated without painkillers, and all are violently killed.

The best way to help farmed animals is to withdraw your support from the industry that neglects and abuses them. Make the compassionate choice and switch to a vegan diet. Click here to get started.

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