on Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Yesterday, the ARL was called to assist after a semitrailer overturned carrying 140 pigs. More than a dozen ARL staff mobilized in minutes and rushed to the scene. When staff arrived they saw the trailer on its side. The pigs were stacked on top of each other, many of them injured and in shock.
The situation was dire, so the Saylor Township Fire Department cut into the side of the trailer to get the pigs out as quickly as possible and relieve their suffering. The ARL contributed a trailer used in emergency response efforts to temporarily house some of the freed pigs; staff trained in emergency response; and barricades to help contain the pigs and move them safely out of the semi and into another trailer.
It took four hours before all the pigs were able to be removed from the trailer. Thirteen pigs were either killed in the rollover or were so badly injured they were humanely euthanized by Iowa State University veterinarians.
The ARL worked alongside several other agencies in helping the pigs, including the Polk County Sheriff’s Department, the Saylor Township Fire Department, a veterinary field services unit at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and several other livestock professionals.
Animal disaster plans and equipment are critical for exactly these types of situations.