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KDHE: Heat blamed in death of 2,000 cattle in SW Kansas

Meat Processing Shortage
Posted at 11:18 AM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 17:07:04-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas Citians aren’t the only creatures struggling in the recent string of steamy mornings and hot afternoons.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Thursday it has received reports of at least 2,000 cattle deaths associated with high temps during the weekend of June 11-12.

A KDHE spokesperson said the number comes from facilities in southwest Kansas that have reached out to state officials to assist in the disposal of the cattle.

According to a 2010 report from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University, cattle aren’t particularly effective at dissipating heat due to their diminished ability to sweat.

The report’s author, Dr. Grant Dewell, writes that normally cattle dissipate excess heat during the night.

This month’s heatwave has been made worse by temperatures that in some cases haven’t dropped below 80 degrees, robbing cattle of the ability to shed heat overnight.

NBC News reports that Kansas ranks third in the country, behind only Nebraska and Texas, in the number of cattle in the state.