Kinship Circle: The Lucky Ones, Iowa Flood Pigs

June 26th, 2008 5:18 pm by Kelly Garbato

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at]
Date: Thu, Jun 26, 2008 at 12:05 PM
Subject: The Lucky Ones, Iowa Flood Pigs

6/26/08: The Lucky Ones… Iowa Flood Pigs

Kinship Circle - 2008-06-20 - IOWA FLOOD, Notes From The Water's Edge 12

Kinship Circle - 2008-06-20 - IOWA FLOOD, Notes From The Water's Edge 11

Photos courtesy of Molly Wald, Best Friends Animal Society.

When Kinship Circle began working with Iowa Dept. of Agriculture/Veterinary Response to coordinate volunteers for Iowa animal flood victims — we soon learned about the pig tragedy. Hog farms had filled with water, with pigs trapped in crates and others adrift over a wide swath of southeast Iowa. As many as 40,000 pigs were evacuated. An estimated 4,000 pigs died. Still others swam for their lives in rapid waters. Some managed to hoist their bodies atop levees, only to be shot dead by officials concerned they’d destroy sandbags. Residents and officials herded some on to barges, to ferry them back to owners. Many carcasses remain as waters recede.

But pigs are smart. And some escaped to dry ground. Reports came in daily: Pigs spotted by churches, in homes, near levees, on rooftops. Early during this operation, Kinship Circle called Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, to ask if their Emergency Rescue Team could come to Iowa. Within 24 hours, they were on the road from Watkins Glen, New York to Oakville, Iowa.

On conference call with state officials, we learned that pigs currently stranded, when found, could be taken to a temporary holding area… And once in Farm Sanctuary’s custody, receive immediate care and transport to sanctuary. That’s right: sanctuary.

Kinship Circle Animal Disaster Aid Network volunteers have assisted Farm Sanctuary rescuers. See below, to donate to FS Emergency Rescue Fund.


1. Iowa Pig Tails


Kinship Circle - 2008-06-24 - Emergency Sheltering Volunteers Needed In Iowa 01

Kinship Circle - 2008-06-24 - Emergency Sheltering Volunteers Needed In Iowa 02

Exhausted from their ordeal, dry pigs finally rest… Bob Rude, of Kinship Circle Animal Disaster Aid Network, comforts some of the pigs he, David Halperin, and Cheri Deatsch helped Farm Sanctuary rescue from flooded areas in Oakville, Iowa. Photo credit: Cheri Deatsch, Kinship Circle

6/24/08: Farm Sanctuary catches three scared and weary pigs the evening of 6/23. The next morning Kinship Circle volunteers help Farm Sanctuary rescuers lure a spooked pig from the bushes. They manage to ease him out, but the pig isn’t happy about going into an enclosure. After a bit of thrashing and some apparent pig indigestion, rescuers guide him into Farm Sanctuary’s straw-lined trailer. One pig is so relieved to finally find comfort, he burrows beneath the straw for a long nap…

A fifth pig plays “hard to get,” leading rescuers on a panicked chase through the woods before guided to safety inside Farm Sanctuary’s trailer.

6/24/08: Aerial surveillance of flooded Iowa regions shows live pigs still stranded on 16 different levee systems. Also spotted on levees: deer, pheasants, coyotes, fox… Pigs begin to show signs of severe sunburn.

6/25/08: Data and mapping for pig locations is sent to Farm Sanctuary and IFAW, also working in Iowa with FS. Many county and state agencies must provide clearance in order for rescuers to get on levees…

Kinship Circle - 2008-06-26 - The Lucky Ones, Iowa Flood Pigs 01

Pigs escaped from a flooded Iowa farm and made it to a levee. But they were shot and killed by authorities who said they threatened to weaken the barrier. [Source.]


2. Help Farm Sanctuary’s Emergency Rescue Fund



Flood waters have ravaged the Midwest, and farm animals need immediate rescue! The recent flooding has hit largely agricultural areas, leaving pigs, cattle and other animals stranded.

Hundreds of factory farm pigs have been left trapped and drowning in crates, or freed only to be swept away by rapid currents…trying desperately to survive on area levees.

Farm Sanctuary dispatched a rescue team with our large animal rescue trailer last week and we are currently on the ground in Iowa and Illinois to save drowning and stranded pigs.

Farm Sanctuary is working with other organizations to transport surviving pigs to a temporary holding area, and once pigs are in our custody, Farm Sanctuary will be ensuring their immediate care and transport to sanctuary.



Farm Sanctuary is also in urgent need of adoptive homes for rescued pigs. If you are able to provide a loving home to a brave survivor of the Midwest Flood Disaster, please call 607-583-2225 ext. 223.


3. Pig Press



Days in the Midwest rescuing pets, farm animals

Mr. Rude, who along with his wife, Kathy, runs Rude Ranch Animal Rescue, a small animal welfare outfit in south county, got the call June 16 from Kinship Circle, a national network of animal disaster responders, to head to Iowa to provide assistance to animals displaced by massive Midwest flooding… Working with other rescue volunteers, Mr. Rude has spent the past four days rescuing cats, dogs, pets and farm animals. One of the hairiest rescues was of a pig. “He was a challenge. Pigs don’t like being told what to do. A lot of strength and gumption, but we got it done…”

Concerns leveled over polluted floodwaters in Midwest

More carcasses may be found as hog barns dry out… “We can deal with as many (carcasses) as we have. We can bury thousands, if necessary.”

Iowa Floods Wreak Havoc on Farming Communities

One of our trips — I think it was our first trip out this morning, about 5:30 — we saw, as we were driving by, we saw the pigs, the little pink dots, all along this one barn over here. So we swung in there and, sure enough, it was just loaded with probably close to 250 to 300 pigs. After five days in the water, hundreds of pigs were dead, but others had managed to survive. The difficult, dirty and dangerous job of getting the pigs out of the highly contaminated river water began. Richard Crook, Best Friends

Iowa farmer makes a sorrowful choice

The 450 abandoned sows and 400 hogs were still alive. In hopes some might survive, Lanz opened the shed doors, giving the animals a chance of swimming to safety — despite the treacherous currents and the general unfitness of swine for swimming. When Lanz visited a patch of high ground Monday, he found roughly 30 pigs had survived.

Kinship Circle - 2008-06-26 - The Lucky Ones, Iowa Flood Pigs 02

Pigs perish on submerged farmland

With dry land miles away, a hog swims in circles near a hog enclosure while straining to survive the Iowa River floodwaters, southeast of Oakville. Many residents were forced to leave their possessions and, in some cases livestock, behind Saturday after the levee broke. Matt Ryerson/ The Hawk Eye

Kinship Circle - 2008-06-26 - The Lucky Ones, Iowa Flood Pigs 03

Deputies shoot pigs to save levee, land

Officials said they killed the pigs over worries that they would weaken the levee.

Precious pets reunited with worried owners

…Rescue workers from Utah-based Best Friends Animal Society and volunteer group Kinship Circle Animal Disaster Aid Network have picked up dozens of cats and one dog from flooded homes, barns and on top of trees in the Oakville and bottoms area…. The groups, which have been boating back and forth in the area since Tuesday, have been asked to come in by officials at the Iowa Department of Agriculture, mainly to recover stranded pets.


Kinship Circle Animal Disaster Aid Network was enlisted by Iowa Agriculture Dept/State Veterinary Response to send volunteers for animal flood victims. During disasters, we are on phone, fax, and Internet 24/7. The cost to keep our tiny staff on-call is immense. Any donations are greatly appreciated at this time. Kinship Circle is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible.


DONATE BY MAIL: Kinship Circle
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