A semi-trailer carrying about 2,200 piglets overturned on an Ohio highway on Monday night killing hundreds of the animals, a local official told news media, forcing a lane closure as authorities chased pigs over the roadway and into adjacent woods.
Up to 15 local police and fire agencies were still trying to capture the pigs more than two hours after the accident on State Route 35 in Xenia Township, about 16 miles east of Dayton, said a dispatch operator for the Green County sheriff's department who did not want to be identified.
A short video of the accident posted online by the local Fox television station showed rescue workers trying to secure the squealing piglets, holding them by the hind legs and passing them into another truck.
The Dayton Daily News reported that as many as 400 pigs had been killed and that a female passenger in the semi-trailer had been injured. The newspaper added that authorities were searching for more escaped pigs well into the night.
It was not immediately clear what caused the accident or how many pigs had been recovered.
This is not the first incident where animals or insects have been freed following a traffic accident. The Monitor reported on bees being killed this past April on the West Coast.
An unfortunate truck accident early Friday morning unleashed millions of angry bees on a Washington state interstate.
At 3:30 a.m., the bee-loaded truck merged onto Interstate 5 north of Seattle when it tipped over on its side. The truck's cargo of 458 hives spilled onto the highway, which USA Today estimated to contain 14 million bees. The driver was not harmed in the accident.
Why was a truck hauling millions of bees to begin with? As it turns out, this is a regular occurrence, and one that may shed light on the fragile health of US bee populations.
Many of the bees were crushed in the early-morning accident, but as day broke and the temperature rose, the surviving bees became agitated. Firefighters came to the scene to hose the bees with a foam, killing more of the insects.
Migratory beekeeping contributes greatly to American agriculture. Roughy 1,600 beekeepers bring their colonies – approximately 31 billion bees – to California alone between October and February to pollinate almond fields.
Today, most revenue in beekeeping does not come from honey production. According to Scientific American, many beekeepers make at least half of their annual income from renting their hives for crop pollination. With different regions requiring bees at a different times, they can travel the country, providing assistance for agriculture. Without massive honeybee help, the US would be out a third of its crops, including broccoli, blueberries, avocados, raspberries, cherries, apples, melons, and lettuce.
While they travel across the country for their seasonal pollinating, migratory bees still need to survive the winter. And this is where the population is running into problems. Beginning in the 1990s, the number of bees surviving the winter months began to decline, due to a mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. Because CCD can be caused by multiple factors – bee diet, environmental factors and viruses – it has been difficult for beekeepers to address bee loss every year. In 2013, beekeepers lost an average of 45 percent of their colonies.