10% of cattle on family farm killed by lightning strike

·1 min read

WARNING: This article contains a photo of the animals impacted by the storm. While not explicit in nature, some readers may find the image disturbing.

Eight heifers - 10 per cent of the 80 cows on a family beef farm - were killed by lightning in central Maine last week, the Bangor Daily News (BDN) reports.

John Fortin of Fortin Farm says the storm rolled in Saturday evening as he was wrapping up for the day when a neighbour called to report lightning struck a tree where eight of his cows had gathered to shelter.

Upon inspection, Fortin found they had been electrocuted and killed.

Fortin Farm
Fortin Farm

A photo of the cows. (Fortin Farm/GoFundMe)

The cows were about two years old and ready to start breeding. Fortin told BDN each one was worth an estimated $1,500, but could have brought in up to $2,500 when sold as beef - but the cost is "exponential", BDN says, because each cow could have potentially produced one calf a year for up to a decade.

A GoFundMe was set up to help replace the animals. While Fortin has livestock insurance his policy won't cover replacements, BDN says.

The fundraising goal was met in less than two days.

Fortin Farm is located in central Maine and has been raising cattle since the 1900s. The family organization spans four generations.

It's not uncommon for livestock to be killed by lightning strikes, due to the outdoor nature of their enclosures. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that lightning is responsible for up 80 per cent of all accidental livestock deaths.

Thumbnail: stylized image created by Cheryl Santa Maria. Image source: Klaus Hollederer/Pexels.

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