Festival-goer releases cows, dives into manure pit on B.C. farm

Farmers happy that no cows, people were hurt

Suplesse Farms is pleased that all cows and people on the Tranmer Road property are safe after an unexpected visitor arrived Friday night and began freeing cows from their enclosures.

The cow freedom fighter is believed to be a visitor from the neighbouring Electric Love Music Festival – the three-day electronic music event at the shores of the Fraser River on Cheam Fishing Village land.

Long-time Agassiz residents Georgia and Martin Flukiger have been farming in Agassiz for nearly 30 years and have over 150 dairy cows.

On Friday night the family had finished working in the barn for the day around 5:30-6 p.m. and had headed back to their house to grill some burgers and have a few beers.

With their proximity to the weekend festival – less than a kilometre from the farm – Flukiger said they had no choice but to hear the music. They decided to sit outside and embrace it, so to speak. Her father came by and wanted to have a look at some recent renovations on the barn.

Suddenly he came running out from the back.

“The cows are out!” Flukiger remembers him yelling.

“Those are nightmare words for a farmer,” She told the Observer. “We were all just dumbstruck. We had just been in the barn, there was no reason any of them could have been out.”

Flukiger, her son, father and daughter-in-law all ran to the barn, trying to herd up the 23 heifer who were enjoying their new-found freedom.

That’s when Flukiger spotted a young man, sun-burnt and wearing nothing but shorts. He was talking to a cow.

Amidst the excitement, the man – believed to be under the influence of narcotics or ‘over-indulged’ as Flukiger put it – became overwhelmed and left the barn.

Flukiger’s father was tasked with keeping an eye on him while the others herded the heifers. According to Flukiger’s father, the man told him he had left the festival before he ran and dove into the manure pit.

For non-farmers – a manure pit is not simply piled up manure. It’s an Olympic swimming pool-sized well full to the brim with manure and often has a hardened crust along the surface. It’s saved there for manure-spreading in the Spring and is by no means an ideal place for a swim.

Although the entire incident has brought the family some laughs – Flukiger said the man’s pit dive could have easily ended in tragedy.

“A manure pit is a very unforgiving place. If he had gone into the deep end, he wouldn’t have come back up.”

But the intruder did emerge, crawling from the pit and heading to the field to dry off.

“When I came out of the barn I saw him on the grass, writhing with his shoes above his head,” she recalled.

Eventually the man was calm enough to be hosed down, and the RCMP came shortly after, taking him into custody without resistance.

Once the shock of the incident wore off, the family was able to have a good laugh about the ordeal.

“We were a bit spooked, we checked the barn several times that night,” Flukiger said. “We’re very thankful [the cows] weren’t hurt, we weren’t hurt and [the man] was okay.”

No one was hurt Friday night, but Flukiger still has concerns about the safety of her animals, and the liability her family could be hit with if a wanderer was to get hurt on the property.

They are pushing for changes to be made to the festival, namely, the installation of fences.

“We’re going to be pushing, on all fronts, that they need to have a fence if they want to have events like that,” Flukiger said. “We are looking for dialogue with all parties.”

The Observer has not yet received comments from the Agassiz RCMP or Cheam First Nation and will update the story with any additonal information.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Third time lucky for Freedom Mobile cell tower in Sooke

Council approves tower after cell provider applies multiple times

T’Sou-ke First Nation mired in legal woes over gas station development

Claims and counterclaims leave sub-contractors unpaid

Victoria International Airport named one of the best employers in B.C.

Cited reasons include its training programs and tuition subsidies

Thief robs Saanich liquor store at gunpoint, takes cash register

Police ask for public’s help with ongoing investigation

Group continues to pull sunken, abandoned wrecks from Salish Sea

Dead Boats society inching towards 89 wrecks pulled from Capital Regional waters

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Pipeline talks got B.C. railway open, can work again: Horgan

Premier says protest excesses damage Wet’suwet’en case

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

Burger King breaks the mould with new advertising campaign

The company is known for irreverent ad campaigns

Maggie and Tim: B.C. residential school survivor turns to faith, forgiveness in mourning son

A young man’s tragic death and his mother’s survival through hardship

PHOTOS: RCMP call on kids to name latest police puppy recruits

This year’s theme is the letter ‘N,’ and 13 German shephards must be named

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett standing by to return to Smithers

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

Most Read