‘We didn’t just lose the cows that are laying there. There’s babies inside of them’
The family of farmers who owned the cattle were heartbroken and described the tragedy as “the worst thing” they have ever seen on their farm.
Farm owner Glen Briere recalled when he reached the spot, it “made me sick to my stomach to see what I had seen”.
The family said the weather had become stormy on Friday and they had found the dead cattle two days later.
“It was Friday night when that storm we had had very severe lightning. The [lightning] most definitely hit the fence,” Mr Briere said.
There were 14 cows, 13 calves and one herd sire dead along a fence in their pasture, CTV News reported.
Mr Briere and his wife were out of town when the lightning killed the cattle. His brother-in-law checked in on the cows on Sunday when he found them dead.
Local media reported that the family now faces financial loss due to the death of their cattle apart from the emotional toll the deaths have taken on them.
In several photos and videos, many of the animals can be seen intertwined with the fence. Mr Briere said some appeared to have been struck and blown away from the fence.
“A guy tries to build up for years and years. You get a cow herd built up and then something like this comes along. Naturally, it always takes some of the better ones, which happened here,” Mr Briere said.
“We didn’t just lose the cows that are laying there. There’s babies inside of them [sic],” the wife of Mr Briere, Darla was quoted as saying by CTV News.
“And there’s mothers now that don’t have babies and there’s babies that don’t have mothers [sic]. It affects the whole herd.”
Only the herd sire among the cattle was insured, the family said.
However, the Brieres are in the process of researching resources that could help them recover some of their financial loss. It was reported that they have AgriStability coverage and are hoping that will help.
AgriStability is a business risk management programme under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
“It protects Canadian producers against large declines in farming income for reasons such as production loss, increased costs and market conditions,” according to its website.
In a statement, Saskatchewan’s agriculture ministry said lightning strikes causing death in livestock is a “rare occurrence” in the province.
“If cattle are found suddenly dead, producers should inform their local veterinarian,” the statement said.
“Postmortem examination by a veterinarian or veterinary pathologist is required to confirm the cause of death, as lightning strikes can look similar to other causes of abrupt and large die-offs in cattle including anthrax.”