200 cows dead in Wisconsin – viruses suspected

Dairy Cow

200 dairy cows were found dead in a Wisconsin field. Image: Wikimedia Commons

In yet another mass animal die-off, 200 cows, dead, were discovered on a Wisconsin farm. The National Wildlife Heath Center is investigating the 200 dead cows. These mass die-offs, however, are likely not anything unusual.

Wisconsin farmer finds 200 cows dead

A Portage County dairy farmer came out to his fields on Friday to make a grisly discovery. 200 cows were lying dead in his field of no obvious cause. Semi trucks were called in to haul away the carcasses, and samples from the cattle were sent into a lab for tests. The farmer has not yet been identified, and wishes to remain anonymous at the moment. Stockton, Wis., newspapers are reporting that the dairy farmer and officials say that there is “no reason to think that whatever killed the cows could kill humans, too.”

Investigating the mass cow die-off

There are several possibilities for what could have killed off the 200 dairy cattle. Bovine virus diarrhea or infectious bovine rhinotracheitis are both good possibilities for the cause of the death. Pneumonia is also a possible cause. The National Wildlife Health Center is a U.S. Geological Survey department that investigates major animal “mortality events.” The NWHC has been in existence since the 1970’s. The cause of the cow die-off in Wis., may be reported by the media, but likely will take months to investigate and enumerate.

The prevalence of mass animal deaths

Though mass animal deaths from Romania to Idaho have been making headlines over the last six months, they are not as unusual as they may seem. The Associated Press reports that about 163 “mass animal mortality events” are average for a year. There have been mass die-offs much larger than the ones recently reported that simply did not make headlines. Most often, it is trauma or disease at cause for mass animal die-offs, and sometimes the cause remains a mystery.


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