Over 4.1 million chickens and turkeys have died during Hurricane Florence, according to new figures released by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
It was previously estimated that around 3.4 million farmed animals had died in the natural disaster.
Compassion Over Killing, an animal rights organisation based in the US, released footage showing the destruction of Hurricane Florence.
“Sadly, farmed animals are legally considered—and insured as—property,” COK Director of Investigations Mike Wolf told VegNews.
“Not only does this allow the meat, egg, and dairy industries to treat these animals in horrific ways, [but] farmers have more incentive to abandon these animals to die in natural disasters like Hurricane Florence than they do to evacuate or protect them.”
Compassion Over Killing has also warned of the serious health risks from the toxic waste flooding from farms into public waterways.
“When natural disasters like this occur, often the populations most affected are those that were vulnerable to begin with,” Wolf said.
“In the areas of North Carolina devastated by Hurricane Florence, and in many places beyond, factory farms are often located in largely African American, Hispanic, and Native American communities.
“Because these factories are also often in poor, rural areas, many of the nearby residents do not have the resources to leave their homes when disaster strikes.”
Prior to the hurricane, local meat companies and farmers had been warned and fined due to the lack of protection of the toxic lagoons not being adequate if a storm were to hit.