A heatwave that stroked the US state of Kansas at the beginning of June 2022 has caused the premature death of thousands of cows and bulls, as they died before they were going to be transported to slaughterhouses to be killed there. Farmers in the state are upset that they will not be able to profit from their deaths anymore. Temperatures rapidly spiked in the state in the first week of June, passing 38 degrees Celsius, which became unbearable for many animals, especially those forced to stay in areas without enough shelter and water.
Matt Lara, a government official, said to NPR “The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is aware of at least 2,000 cattle deaths that occurred in the southwest part of Kansas.” The official figures only reflect the losses at farms that asked for help in disposing of carcasses, which suggests the actual number could be much higher.
The Great Plains region was already struggling to cope with drought, high winds, and an increased threat of wildfires. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor website, nearly the entire western half of Kansas is currently classified as abnormally dry. All these climate anomalies are likely to be the result of human-made climate change, caused in great part by the same animal farmers who breed the CO2 and methane-producing bovines they now complain to have lost. In Kansas, breeding bulls to be killed and eaten by people — wasting a lot of land and water — is the farming practice that dominates the agriculture sector, making it one of the main contributors to climate change in the US. Animal agriculture is one of the top leading emitters of greenhouse gases, and the production of meat from bulls is one of the worst offenders.