More than 18,000 cows have died in a fire at a dairy farm in Texas.
An explosion resulted in flames racing through a building and into holding pens at the Southfork Dairy near Dimmitt in the US.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The farm is based in one of the state’s biggest milk production counties, with the blaze prompting calls from the Animal Welfare Institute – one of the oldest US animal protection groups – for federal laws to prevent barn fires that kill hundreds of thousands of farm animals each year.
“This would be the most deadly fire involving cattle in the past decade, since we started tracking that in 2013,” spokesperson Marjorie Fishman said.
There are no federal regulations protecting animals from the fires and only a few states, Texas not among them, have adopted fire protection codes for such buildings, according to an AWI statement.
Around 6.5 million farm animals have died in such fires in the last decade, most of them poultry.
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