13 Grim Photos Reveal the Tragedy of Animals Abandoned in Hurricane Florence

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4 min read

PETA’s Emergency Rescue Team—which spent over a week rescuing animals who were trapped in the historic flooding in North Carolina—saw firsthand how much devastation Hurricane Florence caused. Many people lost everything they owned, and countless animals were left to fend for themselves, or worse, trapped inside barns and sheds with no chance of escaping the rising floodwaters.

Photojournalists Jo-Anne McArthur and Kelly Guerin of the renowned We Animals went to the waterlogged area and captured just how dark and devastating Hurricane Florence was for these forgotten animals:

We know that at least 3.4 million chickens and turkeys and 5,500 pigs were abandoned to drown in the floodwaters.

Chickens aren’t strong swimmers, and their feathers aren’t waterproof. Once saturated, they have a hard time staying afloat. This is why they should never be left alone near deep waters.

Now that the initial death toll has been reported, many farms remain isolated by floodwaters, which means that more animals could have died before being reached.

PETA’s rescue team was able to save numerous abandoned animals from the floodwaters. We found scared mother cats huddled in garbage and dogs stranded on porches, and we even rescued chickens who were left in cages. We saw how scared these animals were. Imagine how many others who were trapped and terrified died after doing everything that they could to survive.

Regarding the animals who were able to escape their enclosures, we can only imagine what eventually happened to them.

The warmer ocean temperatures and higher sea levels that are a result of climate change are expected to lead to more intensely powerful hurricanes. According to the United Nations, a global shift toward a vegan diet is vital if we are to combat the worst effects of climate change.

At a minimum, these animals deserved a fighting chance at survival. But because meat producers see animals as something, not someoneas items to claim on insurance policies, rather than as individuals who value their own lives—they didn’t care enough to evacuate them or even give them a chance to live by releasing them before the storm hit.

In an open letter, PETA called on meat industry leaders to take action in future weather emergencies and “be merciful and open the barn doors.”

You can also take action—save animals by going vegan and by helping others to go vegan, too.

We can help prevent catastrophes like this in the future by eradicating the demand for animal flesh. Order a free vegan starter kit today for everything that you need to get started. If you’re already vegan, great! Help friends and family members go vegan, too, by sending a starter kit to their doorstep.

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