“I have never seen anything like this.”
Content warning: This story contains frank conversations about dying and injured animals.
Cattle are dying by the thousands in Kansas this week because of an intense heat wave, NPR reported Thursday. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment confirmed at least 2,000 head of cattle died in the southwestern part of the state, but it may be even worse than officials know.
A widely-shared video with more than 35,000 views purports to show 10,000 dead cattle in a barren, waterless feedlot without shade or shelter. Their corpses are lined up in the same field where they waited to be shipped to slaughter houses before dying. Although Futurism could not independently confirm the deaths, many in the comments took the minute-long clip very seriously.
“I have lived in Kansas since 1982 and have known and been involved with farmers and cattlemen for most of that,” a commenter said. “I have never seen anything like this happen before this.”
Others pointed out the sheer cruelty of leaving animals out in the sun with no chance at surviving.
NPR said temperatures rose from the 80s to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit this week.
Haskell County, one of the top cattle counties in Kansas, faired worse than most. Because of heat and dryness and no rain for seven days, soil temperatures reached nearly 92 degrees four inches below the surface.
Unfortunately, the heat isn’t likely to go away as climate change worsens. Neither are higher beef prices if the deaths continue. As one commenter put it, inflation and climate change may permanently jack up the cost of beef.
“All that potential beef wasted at a time when we already have higher prices,” one viewer lamented. “And all of the feed and water wasted, and the release of harmful greenhouse gases associated with growing them to this size just going to waste when they end up getting buried underground. I guess at least they’ll be fertilizer.”
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