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Semi hauling live turkeys rolls over in southern Minnesota


About 900 turkeys were trapped Tuesday morning after a semitrailer rolled over in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, reports say.

The state patrol incident report says a truck driver was hauling the birds on eastbound Highway 14 when he lost control, ran off the road and rolled the truck onto its right side, killing some turkeys and trapping hundreds inside.

Responding agencies, including the Sleepy Eye fire department, the Brown County sheriff's office and the state patrol, tried to save as many turkeys as possible, KEYC reports.

They also worked to control traffic and corral the turkeys who survived the crash inside a fence around the rolled-over truck, the news station says.

Officials told the news station as many as half the turkeys were killed in the crash. But the driver, Cyril Ganzevort, 38, of Peterson, Iowa, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to the state patrol's report.

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Responding to crashes involving livestock comes with the territory in that part of the state – livestock is the industry that drives southern Minnesota, one official told KEYC.

In June, a truck carrying turkeys tipped over in Faribault, but only a few turkeys were killed, the Faribault Daily News says. Six weeks earlier, a tractor-trailer carrying turkeys struck a bridge in the city, killing some of the birds, the newspaper says.

In April, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wanted to build a permanent memorial to honor turkeys that were killed when a semitrailer hauling birds hit 10 parked cars and tipped over in Sioux City, Iowa, but the request was denied.

Because livestock crashes happen fairly often in southern Minnesota, some towns, including Worthington, Fairmont and New Ulm, have livestock emergency response trailers that are used in livestock trailer accidents, according to a 2013 article published by the Pipestone County Star Online.

The cargo trailer is stocked with corral panels, plywood boards, poles, tarps, straps and a lasso, which are all designed to handle animals of all sizes in the event of a crash, the newspaper says.

Crews were trained to use these trailers, and the trainings were sponsored by the Minnesota Pork Board, which worked with the Department of Homeland Security to write a grant to purchase the trailers and equipment for much of southwestern Minnesota, the Pipestone County Star Online says.

According to a brochure for a training session put on by Minnesota pork producers and southern Minnesota officials on how to handle livestock in emergency situations such as truck rollovers, 56 percent of all livestock accidents in the United States and Canada involve cattle trucks, while 27 percent involve pigs and 11 percent involve poultry.

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