Search This Blog

Sunday, January 18, 2015

sad tale of cows drowning in ice-water mixture

In this beautiful land, Cows are holy … Komata is sacred to us.. we worship cows … at  Thiruvallikkeni, the land of Lord Parthasarathi, the cowherd king, true to its tradition has many cows roaming freely on the streets.   Elsewhere in Godavari basin, travelling in a boat once observed there were small thittus (can’t be called islands because of the tiny area – simply  small mounds with some greenery in which some cattle were crazing…. There was water all around) was wondering how they got in there marooned by water - in the evening  when we returned, they were not there.  The boatman explained that cows and buffaloes would wade through water in low tide, graze the pastoral lands and return before the water level rises… !

‘Till the cows come home’ is a phrase meaning longtime – generally, cows return in twilight in villages from pastoral lands.  Read somewhere that in Bavaria, there is the annual festival which celebrates the return of the prodigal cows, the Viehscheid. Here the cows do come home, every autumn, after having spent their summers up in the mountains. Had posted earlier on the herd of eight young cows getting trapped in a river in the Canton of Graubunden in Eastern Switzerland. They had left the safety of their own meadow in an attempt to reach greener grass on the other side of the water.  Fortunately, after getting trapped in the river they were airlifted to safety in a rescue mission lasting five hours ~ perhaps not all are so lucky.

South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States.  Once the southern portion of the Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state in 1889, simultaneously with North Dakota. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls,  is South Dakota's largest city. It has fertile soil used in growing variety of crops. 

Here is something which makes a sad reading.  In a pasture alongside the White Clay Reservoir that straddles the Nebraska-South Dakota border, Mike Carlow fed 207 beef cattle on Tuesday, and his brother, Pat, fed them on Wednesday. Thursday was the next time the two saw the cattle, and the sight was ghastly: dozens of dark, motionless lumps in the winter-white setting of that reservoir. The carcasses of at least 49 of the cattle were stuck barely above the water level. After counting the survivors, Mike Carlow estimated that 100 of the brothers' cattle had drowned, many of them still under the ice-water mixture.

The President  of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association is quoted as saying that the large number of deaths resulting from cattle breaking through ice and drowning is extremely rare. The brothers, members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and collaborate on the ranching, but each owns his own herd. Of the 207 in that ill-fated group, 107 belonged to Mike Carlow. He estimated the loss at about $300,000, which is the amount he paid for 117 2-year-old bred heifers, many of which were among the drowned and reportedly had no insurance for the animals. 

He said the area of the reservoir where the cattle died had been iced over for some time. The cattle drank water from the spillway of White Clay Dam, which is at the north end of the reservoir. Often, the body of water is referred to as White Clay Dam. Carlow's theory is that "one hell of a windstorm" Wednesday night pushed the cattle to seek shelter behind a tree line near the water. When some of them ventured out onto the ice, their weight caused them to break through it. Thursday morning, when Pat Carlow went out to feed the cattle, he couldn't find them. When a lengthy search turned up the sad truth, he called his brother, a contractor working on a project at the Prairie Wind Casino.

Certainly it was a heartbreaking scene of 100 dead cows floating in a lake, after the herd wandered onto the frozen reservoir, broke through the ice and drowned.  The ice was about as thick as a loaf of bread, but collapsed under their combined weight of more than 1,000 pounds.

No manual exists to guide the removal of the cattle carcasses stuck in the ice at the White Clay Reservoir. Newspaper reports suggest that people are chopping inches of ice, trying to clear away enough so that the dead animals could be pulled out.  The very thought of dead animals, crashing and crunching of ice makes us feel very sad even though those animals had only been raised for slaughter.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

16th Jan 2015.

No comments:

Post a Comment