Sunday, July 08, 2007

More than 240 Goats die in Traffic accident

There was a tragic accident this past Friday in California when a Tractor trailer carrying goats overturned and more than 240 died. Now that sounds bad enough but the circumstances surrounding it are much worse.

Many of the animals, en route to clear vegetation in Mill Valley, suffocated when the rig overturned near Irene Street on "The Loop" traffic route, police said.

The truck, owned by Orinda-based Goats R Us, was transporting about 400 animals from Milpitas to the Golden Gate Theological Seminary when the driver pulled off the freeway for a cup of coffee, police said.

Dead goats were spread across the road about 10 deep beside the tipped vehicle as emergency service officials spent more than an hour digging through the piles of animals, many pinned under loose metal shelves.

The animals were stacked four deep in tiered shelving units in the 13-foot-tall truck. The steel shelves separating the animals were strewn through the wreckage.

Officials from the Marin Humane Society, San Rafael Police Department, San Rafael Fire Department, California Highway Patrol, San Rafael Public Works and Marin Sanitary Service converged after the accident was reported at 8:45 a.m.

Oyarzun said the vehicle had been transporting more than 400 goats, all 1 to 2 years old, in the 32-foot-long, livestock trailer.

Elliot Katz, founder of In Defense of Animals and one of three veterinarians assisting at the scene, said most of the goats died from suffocation.

"It's sad, but when the goats freak out, the ones on top basically smothered the ones below them," he said.

These goats were being transported to Mill Valley to clear vegetation which is a great way to do it without having to use pesticides or expensive labor. Frequently in Florida goats will be turned out on overgrown land prior to clearing it for agricultural use. I was shocked to learn that they were transported stacked 4 high and on shelving that could collapse. It was either the driver taking the turn to fast or weight shifting in the high trailer that seems to have caused the accident. Either way it was a terrible tragedy.

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