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Over a Thousand Dairy Calves Left to Die from Wisconsin Heat Wave

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Over a Thousand Dairy Calves Left to Die from Wisconsin Heat Wave

From Free From Harm
July 2012

While their mothers are likely indoors hooked up to computerized milking machines pumping their mammary gland secretions for profit, calves just days old birthed from these mothers are snatched from their mothers and penned outside in the hot summer sun, dying in record levels of heat exhaustion, dehydration and perhaps malnourishment. That was the story that hit the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the other day.

Half of the more than two dozen herds of dairy cows struck by the heat stress deaths are in Wisconsin, though the exact number of deaths in the state has not been determined, said Raechelle Cline, a spokeswoman with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The calves were between 2- and 7-days-old and had been housed in outdoor calve hutches with no shade, according to a news release from the agency.

Officials with the agency say calves younger than 10 days drink little water and that many of the dead calves were kept in hutches not properly configured for summer ventilation. Officials also believe the calves were either weakened by heat stress and died from bacterial infection or became dehydrated and died from heat stroke.