Heat wave: thousands of dead cattle in the United States? What we know about the video of a “mass grave” in Kansas

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A video that has gone viral on social networks shows hundreds of corpses of dead cattle, probably deceased under the effect of the heat wave. So few elements allow to date it, it seems that it was shot in the State of Kansas, in the United States. In parallel, the authorities of the American State announced yesterday the death of at least “2000 cattle” in recent days.

A mass grave in the open, under a blazing sun. With the heat wave, a video that has gone viral on social networks shows hundreds of dead cattle, probably in the state of Kansas (United States). For about forty seconds, aligned carcasses parade along the road.

The heat wave affecting Kansas (up to 40ºC, with between 18% and 33% humidity) would have caused the death of 10,000 head of cattle, according to an initial report.#Climatepic.twitter.com/e2MbUzQyUW

— Matthieu Guyot (@matthieugdsm) June 16, 2022

So few elements make it possible to date the video precisely, it would have probably been shot in the State of Kansas, in the heart of the United States. Evidenced by the landscape, whose vegetation and relief evoke the climate of the region.

Moreover, as specified by the American television channel NBCNews, Kansas is the third largest cattle state in the United States, behind only Texas and Nebraska. More than 2.4 million animals are counted in feedlots.

This Thursday, June 16, state authorities announced, via the Reuters news agency, that at least 2,000 Kansas cattle had died in recent days in a context of high temperatures and high humidity.

“Thermal stress”

But how to explain this hecatomb? According to US authorities, livestock are plagued by “heat stress”: as temperatures and humidity rise, cooling winds disappear. The animals, unable to regulate their body temperature during nights when the mercury does not drop below 20°, see their state of health deteriorate until death.

“Cattle accumulate heat during the day. Then during the night it takes them four to six hours to dissipate it. Where we run into problems is when we have two to four days in a row without this possibility of nocturnal cooling. The animals start the day with the heat load accumulated the day before”, thus explains to our colleagues from TF1 veterinarian Anthony John Tarpoff.

The state of Kansas has seen a sharp rise in temperatures in recent days. The mercury rose from 38 to 40° between Monday June 13 and Wednesday June 15.

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