The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports that at least 2,000 livestock have been reported to have died in recent days due to the extremely high temperatures. According to spokesperson Matthew Lara, farmers and businesses have contacted the ministry to seek advice on disposing of the bodies.
Kansas is the third largest state in the United States for cattle after Texas and Nebraska, with more than 2.4 million head of cattle.
The cattle are starting to suffer from the heat as temperatures and humidity in western Kansas suddenly rose over the weekend and the cold winds dissipated, explains Scarlett Huggins, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Livestock Association. She added that the animals were not able to cope with the sudden change. In the northwest of the state, the mercury rose to 42 degrees Celsius on Monday. Temperatures may rise more during the weekend, although strong winds and lower humidity will help limit mortality.
“It’s going to be oppressively hot and stressful for the animals,” said Drew Lerner, head of the local weather agency. Livestock keepers provide their animals with additional water and constantly check the health of their livestock. “When it’s hot you have to keep a close eye on your animals and make sure they have enough water,” said Brenda Masek, president of Nebraska Cattlemen.
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