2,000+ Cattle Killed By Heat Wave Were Buried, Dumped at Kansas Landfill

Neither is a typical method for disposing of bodies.

Cattle in dry outdoor Kansas feedlot
A herd of cattle in a Kansas outdoor feedlot. BeyondImages / E+ / Getty Images 
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Extreme heat in Kansas last month killed so many cattle that carcasses were dumped in landfills or buried in unlined graves, Reuters reports. Normally processed as pet food or fertilizer, the 2,117 cows that died from heat exhaustion the weekend of June 11 overwhelmed standard operating procedures. Burying cattle in unlined pits is a risky option and last resort because of the potential for waste to seep into groundwater.

According to the Global Methane Initiative, landfills are among the top-5 biggest sources of methane emissions, accounting for 11% of all human-caused annual emissions. The damage is not done. Heat has continued to bake the Plains, and the June heatwave continues to take its toll on animals and farmers (and landfill operators) alike. “Cattle are somewhat still struggling,” Kansas veterinarian Tera Barnhardt told Reuters. “We really compromised them.”

For a deeper dive:

Reuters

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