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High temperatures in the midwest recently caused thousands of cattle to die, prompting some to start asking questions as to what caused the sudden deaths.
Clay Scott lives in Kansas and used to own cattle. He discussed the situation with The Daily Wire, saying it was a “freak of nature thing,” and this type of situation has happened in the past due to the local climate.
He said it happens “once in a while, every twenty years or so,” where the weather quickly increases temperature. There had been a few days in a row of high temperatures, and the cattle had a difficult time getting cooled off.
He also explained that since May was abnormally cold, a lot of the cattle still had their winter coats.
The easy explanation, he added, was that it “was really hot, it was really humid, there was no breeze. We had a heat down burst,” which he explained is “a rare but not uncommon spike in temperatures in the morning.”
In some circumstances, the animals had almost a full winter coat. He noted that it was sad that several thousand animals died in the region, but pointed out that there are several million cattle in that area of the world, although the numbers seem large.
He said a local veterinarian pointed out on Twitter the heat index scores for cattle, and he said that for “three days in a row” the lethal heat amount for cattle was exceeded, but “it only took until the third day when we had that heat event that really spiked the numbers.”
Scott said it hurts the people who raise the animals “more than just a paycheck. They don’t like to see it because they work so hard. And you work with animals every day. You want to see ’em do the best they can. You don’t want to see anybody suffer. So I know several of those guys are a little dejected. … It’s kind of like a flood or a fire, you know, it wasn’t anything they could control, but yet they suffer the consequences of it.”
The particular type of cattle that died were the heavy ones that are used to being on the range, Scott noted, and are the last to get rid of their winter coats. They were also from the northern rather than southern regions.
“99.9% of the time you [bring these cattle south], nothing ever matters of it,” he said, adding it was “a one-time event.”
According to Scott, if something malicious had happened to cause the cattle to die, the people who raise the animals would be “up in arms” about it.
“It’s pretty evident that we got some really good people taking care of our cattle supply,” he said. “They’re really working hard to make sure it’s right.”
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said at least 2,000 head of cattle died due to high heat and humidity as of Tuesday last week, spokesperson Matthew Lara said. The calculation came from the number of carcasses the agency had been requested to help dispose of.
The farming journal AgWeb.com reported the amount of dead cows could be as many as 10,000 — and more have been reported deceased in nearby Nebraska.
Greg Wilson contributed to this report.