March 10 Wildfires devastated a Smithfield Foods
Inc hog farm in Laverne, Oklahoma, killing an
uncertain but potentially huge number of pigs, company and local
officials said on Friday.
"Several thousands were lost," said Luke Kanclerz, spokesman
for the Oklahoma Forestry Services. "Such a large area was
impacted by these fires, it's taking time to collect information
... there are no accurate numbers yet."
Firefighters on Friday were still working to contain some of
the grass fires that grew rapidly on Monday due to dry weather
and parched prairie land in Texas, north and western Oklahoma
and southern Kansas, burning nearly 2 million acres, killing six
people and hundreds of cattle.
The Smithfield farm housed about 45,000 sows, according to
the company website.
"While we are deeply thankful that no employees were harmed
in the fire, we lament the unnecessary loss of animals and the
devastation to the surrounding community," Smithfield
spokeswoman Kathleen Kirkham said in a statement.
Kirkham did not respond to a request for an estimate on how
many sows at the farm had died.
Smithfield, the world's largest pork producer, says it
produces about 16 million hogs per year. The company is a
subsidiary of WH Group Ltd.
(Reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago; Editing by Tom Brown)