News

Father and Son Killed by Fumes at Pig Farm

Noxious gases from manure pit prove fatal.

On July 25, two Iowa repairmen lost their lives after becoming engulfed by the noxious fumes of a manure pit at a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO). The pair—a father and son named Gene and Austin Opheim—were working at the hog farm when a piece of equipment fell into the manure pit below the facility. Austin went to retrieve the item and when Gene saw his son pass out, he went in after him, only to succumb to the toxic fumes himself. Both were later pronounced dead. On factory farms, hogs are housed in crowded indoor facilities with slats through which manure drops into a pit, where waste then emits hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide, amongst other deadly gases. In Midwestern states, manure foaming over the cesspools beneath CAFOs is a condition that often suffocates hogs and leads to explosions due to the highly flammable gases (namely methane and hydrogen sulfide) produced in the decomposition of manure. Daniel Anderson, professor at the University of Iowa said that “when something breaks the surface of the manure or if the person is in the manure, moving around, that causes more hydrogen sulfide to come out of the manure,” which “can cause unconsciousness and untimely death.” The two men weren’t the first to die this way—father and son Ram and Jeremy Sibel also met their demise in a manure pit at a hog farm in Wisconsin on July 7.

More News

Vegan Brand Named First Zero-Waste Facility of Its Kind

Earth Island—the production facility for iconic vegan brand Follow Your Heart—becomes the first plant-based manufacturer in the nation to receive Gold Level Zero-Waste certification.
Read More »

Impossible Burger Debuts at 11 Burger Bars in Texas

Burger chain Hopdoddy adds the popular plant-based patty to its menus in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and more.
Read More »

Czech Republic to Ban Fur Farms

In an historic move, Czech government officials vote 132 to 9 in favor of banning the country's fur farms by 2019.
Read More »

132-Year-Old Lobster Set Free by Long Island Clam Bar

"Louie" will live out the remainder of his life in the wild after spending 20 years in captivity after owner forms emotional bond.
Read More »

Smoked Meat Bar Now Sells Vegan Ribs

Meat-centric Minnesota pub Bourbon Butcher serendipitously teamed up with Herbivorous Butcher to create a sought-after vegan menu.
Read More »

This Week on VegNews TV: The secret to these delightful sweet treats is white beans! Aylin Erman shows you how to make these simple blondies.

More Videos »