Piggery loses 500 pregnant sows and piglets in horror blaze
FLOOD-affected Mundubbera pork producers are facing the heartbreaking challenge of disposing of the charred remains of about 500 pregnant sows and piglets that were incinerated when a farm shed caught fire.
Initial investigations are believed to have revealed a fuel-driven water pressure cleaner sparked the blaze at the Burnett Pork Alliance piggery on Mundubbera-Durong Rd shortly before 12pm Thursday.
Australian Pork Limited's Communications general manager Emily Mackintosh confirmed the part of the piggery that went up in flames, known as Unit One, contained sows with their piglets.
"An adjacent shed had dry sows, which are sows that are having babies in the future," she said.
By the time firefighters arrived, the shed was well alight, the sky filled with thick black smoke and the sound of squealing pigs could be heard over the rage of the blaze.
Police were forced to end the suffering of a number of pigs that couldn't be saved by way of a single bullet.
"There are probably a number of animals that were humanely disposed of in that manner," Ms Mackintosh said.
"What is important is dealing with the disposal of the deceased animals and the care and wellbeing of those pigs that survived."
The fire was the second blow for the piggery that was still recovering from the loss of more than 1500 pigs during the January floods.
"It's tragic," Ms Mackintosh said.
"It's a double blow but the community has rallied around the farm.
"It's fantastic to see the resilience of the agriculture community like that."
She said the piggery's owners hadn't had a chance to assess the loss just yet.
"It's more dealing with what's happening now," Ms Mackintosh said.
"Along with local Queensland producers, we will be organising, with the sows that have survived, where they are going to be housed to have their piglets.
"Veterinary support is on site as we speak."
Investigations into the blaze are continuing.