Semen explosion at bull artificial insemination plant, 'projectiles' fly

"The liquid inside the cylinders was rapidly expanding and essentially the lids of the cryogenic cylinders were just popping off the top and projectiles were being thrown from the building."

By
September 22, 2019 18:12
1 minute read.
A doctor prepares eggs and sperm for an attempt at artificial insemination

A doctor prepares eggs and sperm for an attempt at artificial insemination. (photo credit: REUTERS/ALESSANDRO BIANCHI)

After a fire broke out at the Yarram Herd Services breeding facility near Yarram, Australia, at least 100 cylinder canisters of bull semen exploded, the Daily Mail Australia reported.

The blaze started in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and it took firefighters over two hours to fully extinguish it.

However, fire wasn't the only danger firefighters faced in this unexpectedly "sticky" situation, as they were forced to dodge and defend themselves from "semen projectiles."

"The liquid inside the cylinders was rapidly expanding, and essentially the lids of the cryogenic cylinders were just popping off the top and projectiles were being thrown from the building," Country Fire Authority Gippsland commander Chris Loeschenkohl told ABC. "So firefighters went into a defensive mode initially to protect themselves."

He added that "they did a magnificent job."

The loss of the cylinders represents a potentially massive financial loss for the facility, as each one had value estimated at around A$1,000. However, according to committee vice chairman Aaron Thomas, this only represents the value of the physical cylinders, not the semen itself.

"We're coming into the [artificial insemination] season, so there would have been substantial amounts of semen inside the tanks that we've lost, which was owned by our local farmers, and it can range in value from A$5 per straw to A$95 per straw," Thomas explained. He added that this would be a huge loss for the farmers, and said that all of their herd-testing equipment was destroyed as well.

As the region has already been suffering from a drought for the past 12 months, which reportedly drained around 70% of the farmers' income, this only adds to preexisting economic woes.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.


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