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Something wiped out dairy cows in Dade County MO

government agencies won't help

September 09, 2010|by Steve Grant, KY3 News | sgrant@ky3.com

DADEVILLE, Mo. -- John Melton's dairy barn is empty. His pastures are mostly empty.  Late last year, milk production suddenly dropped off, even while he added more cows and fed them grain twice a day.

“They weren't starving but they looked terrible,” Melton said recently.

He has only a few cows left. The rest of his herd died quickly, in droves.  He lost about 250 cows and calves.  Surrounding farms are not affected.

“It’s only on this property, whatever it is,” he said.

“I’ve never seen anything close to this as far as a death loss is concerned,” said Dr. Dallas Cramer.

Cramer is one of 26 baffled veterinarians and animal pathologists who can only conclude the deaths were not from disease or starvation.

“When they get debilitated, they don't recover,” said Cramer.

Melton says his cows started dying after his tap water temporarily turned blue one day, despite no signs anything was wrong with his water well.

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“Criminal or environmental, or could be either one,” he said.

He started telephoning any and all agencies he thought could help.  What's frustrating to Melton, besides not knowing what happened, is having authorities he contacted just passing the buck to each other: from local police to the county courthouse, state capitol and Congress.  His appeals for investigations all dead-ended.

All that Melton could learn is his losses are not covered by federal farm programs.

“I'm too old to start over but too young to retire. I need to find out what's going on and I'm not getting any help,” he said.

Melton says none of the government agencies and officials that he contacted have offered any further assistance, or clues about what killed his dairy herd.  His farm is now threatened with foreclosure.

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