Coastal pastures became better habitat for sea cows than cattle
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2005:
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita between them submerged as much as
a third of the cattle grazing land in Louisiana. Rainfall from Wilma
perpetuated conditions that had Debra Barlow of Hopeful Haven Equine
Rescue wishing for an ark.
“We are a horse rescue organization, but have opened our
arms to include all the livestock we can help,” Barlow e-mailed to
Brenda Shoss of Kinship Circle, whose daily bulletins throughout the
fall 2005 hurricane season made her the unofficial dispatcher for
rescue efforts from Alabama to Texas.
“We have rescued emus, cattle, horses, you name it,”
Barlow continued. “The rescued animals have been put in holding pens
since they can’t graze the saltwater-saturated alfalfa fields. The
salt content made the animals dehydrated and delusional. We are
hoping to flush the saltwater absorbed out their systems with feed,
clean water and hay.”
“The Army used helicopters to search for thousands of cattle
feared stranded in high water, amid reports that more than 4,000 may
have been killed in Cameron Parish alone,” Associated Press reported
after Rita hit.
Louisiana Cattlemen’s Associ-ation representative Bob Felknor
predicted that more than 30,000 cattle might be in trouble.
“An estimated 135,000 farmed animals were impacted in
southwest Louisiana alone, with many of them now roaming free but
trying to escape the flooded areas,” Farmed Animal Watch reported.
About 5,000 cattle were stranded on Pecan Island, Vermilion
Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness director Robert LeBlanc said.
Emergency feed was trucked in from Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska.
“We’re probably years away from getting back to normal,”
Johnson Bayou cattle ranch manager Kent LeDoux told Doug Simpson of
Associated Press. “With the salt on the pastures, we don’t know how
long it will take to recover.”
“Not even the surviving cattle are worth much,” Simpson
wrote. “The animals are known as ‘storm cows,’ less valuable
because their health is threatened by pneumonia and digestion
problems from swallowing salt water and going without fresh water.”