Some poultry plants have been known to be overcrowded with chickens (or very much so) and have poor ventilation. Usually such conditions are damaging or deadly for the chickens, but in this case, tragically, a very large loss of human life resulted as well.
The Associated Press reported that there was only one exit open
for many workers who were trapped inside the burning Chinese slaughterhouse.
It appears what started the fire at the Chinese poultry plant was
an ammonia leak that caused several explosions. There were about 350 workers onsite at the time of the chemical reactions. Inhaling the toxic gases produced by the fire was as deadly or damaging as the fire. An official stated the death toll may rise. Sadly, all relatives and friends of the deceased will be impacted emotionally by the losses. The company also will have to rebuild.
About 500 firefighters were required to put out the blaze.
The plant’s design has come under some scrutiny, with one expert saying it may have not been planned with worker safety in mind. China’s rapid industrialization may be pushing such considerations under the rug. Asian countries have done very well in growing their national economies, but sometimes at the expense of worker safety and the environment. (In April over 1,000 workers loss their lives when a garment factory collapsed.)
Factory farming has been targeted for a variety of criticisms over the years. US chicken farming produces tremendous amounts of ammonia and if it is suddenly released in an accident, natural waterways can be damaged.
A North Carolina poultry farm burned in 1991 killing 25 workers.
OSHA cited a number of reasons, including:
No fire alarms.
When a company’s negligence results in multiple worker deaths, there must be legal recourse. One wonders how many other corners were cut by the company managing the chicken farm.
It isn’t mentioned much, but vegetarian and vegan eaters contribute less to this sort of incident. Admittedly, they are very rare, but if more consideration is giving to the animals in the plant design, there might be less damage sustained when they do take place.