Last Friday, 200 dead cows were found on a Portage County, Wisconsin farm. It’s already been a tough year for animals. Mass deaths of fish and birds have been a hot topic in this first month of 2011. Now cows can be added to the mysterious mix.
Many theories abound for the dead fish and cows, theories which range from fireworks to unseasonably cold weather to even the Apocalypse. And this discovery of the cows will no doubt fuel further speculation. Bovine Intervention, maybe?
At least not according to a story in the Huffington Post. The site reported plausible causes for the dead animals which had to be removed by semi-trucks. The good news is that officials do not believe there is any threat to humans or other animals on the farm. The bad news is that we’re left with yet another sad case of mass animal deaths.
The owner of the cows has been working with local veterinarians to discover the cause of the deaths. According to the Wausau Daily Herald, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) or bovine virus diarrhea (BVD) were initially considered to be potential causes. But recent updates from WSAW News suggest that pneumonia is more likely to be the cause in spite of the fact that widespread cases of pneumonia are rare.
During the past month, dead birds fell from the sky in Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Italy and Sweden. Dead fish have been reported in Chicago, Maryland, Brazil and New Zealand.
Reactions to these deaths remind me of the reactions my children have to things which fall outside of their comprehension. We all want to know why these animals have died and we want to know why right now. It’s comforting to understand things. That’s why our children ask us so many questions, to make the big world around them feel smaller and safer. After all, the things that go bump in the night don’t scare them just because they go bump in the night, but rather because they didn’t expect them to do so.
My reaction to the mass animal deaths has been just like everyone else’s. I want to understand, too. So while I’m saddened that there is another wave of animal deaths, I’m hopeful that widespread pneumonia is the valid explanation. On some level, it would make me feel better if there were a logical cause I could point to.
But part of me wonders if we’re supposed to understand everything. And if there does, indeed, exist things which defy mortal explanation, perhaps the mass animal deaths are one of them.