The heifers on Suplesse Farm had a wild Friday night when an unwanted visitor from the Electric Love Music Festival opened their gate, shortly before attempting a swim in the nearby manure pit. (Nina Grossman/The Observer)

The heifers on Suplesse Farm had a wild Friday night when an unwanted visitor from the Electric Love Music Festival opened their gate, shortly before attempting a swim in the nearby manure pit. (Nina Grossman/The Observer)

Festival-goer releases cows, dives into manure pit on Agassiz 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 around 6 p.m., the family had finished working in the barn for the day 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 heard 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 what Flukiger, the man said 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

Environment Canada says the Eastern Fraser Valley will enjoy plenty of sunshine this week. (Black Press News File)
Sunny weather to stay around all week in Eastern Fraser Valley

Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Hope all forecasted for a week free of rainfall

Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld has called for the resignation of B.C.’s Minister of Education, Jennifer Whiteside. He made the call during a speech in Vancouver on April 10, 2021, in a rally for a parent embroiled in legal battles surrounding his child’s transition.
Chilliwack school trustee calls for B.C.’s minister of education to resign

Barry Neufeld spoke at rally for jailed father in Vancouver, calling SOGI 123 a ‘dangerous experiment’

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

People stroll through rows of tulips in bloom during the Tulips of the Valley Festival on May 2, 2017. The colourful spring event, now called Chilliwack Tulips, opens on Sunday, April 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack tulip attraction open this weekend after being closed last year due to COVID-19

More than 6.5 million bulbs in all at this year’s colourful Chilliwack Tulips event

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

Most Read