An investigation is underway in Stockton, Wisconsin where 200 cows were found dead on Friday. The owner of the cattle and local veterinarians initially believed the cows died from bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) or bovine virus diarrhea (BVD), but are now suspecting pneumonia. Officials say the dead cows will not likely affect other animals or humans. Tests are still being conducted to verify the cause.
Several other recent reports of mass animal deaths have generated much media attention. Thousands of dead birds fell in Arkansas on New Year’s Eve, with other mass bird deaths following in Louisiana, Kentucky, Italy and Sweden. Days before the new year, a massive fish kill was reported near the site of the dead birds in Arkansas.
Despite media suggestions of a sudden “flock-alypse” arising, mass animal deaths occur often, and generally “fly under the radar,” according to ornithologist John Wiens in an AP report. The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center says that about 163 similar events are reported to the federal government each year. The deaths are generally caused by pollution, parasites and disease.