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Dairy farm fire in Texas kills almost 18,000 cows

More than 18,000 cows were killed after an explosion and fire at a family dairy farm in west Texas, making it the deadliest barn fire in US history.

According to photographs and statements from the Castro County Sheriff’s Office, firefighters rescued one employee from the South Fork Dairy in Dimmitt on Monday as flames raced through a building and into holding pens.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, and it was not possible to reach members of the family who own the farm in one of Texas’ most milk-producing counties right away.

The catastrophe spurred the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), one of the oldest animal protection organizations in the United States, to demand federal legislation to prevent barn fires, which kill hundreds of thousands of agricultural animals each year.

According to an AWI statement, there are no federal restrictions safeguarding animals from fires, and only a few states, Texas not included, have established fire protection codes for such structures.

The fire was the most catastrophic barn fire in the United States since the AWI began documenting such accidents in 2013. In the last decade, around 6.5 million farm animals, mostly poultry, have died in similar fires.

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