Cattle Mutilation Once Again Becomes Hot Topic Following Mysterious Livestock Deaths in Oregon
Cattle mutilation is again garnering attention in 2019 following a series of mysterious livestock deaths in eastern Oregon.
Over the summer, five young purebred bulls were found dead at Silvies Valley Ranch. The story was first covered by the Capital Press, before a feature article was written by Anna King of NW News Network—that article was reprinted by Oregon Public Broadcasting.
The bulls were found drained of blood, with certain body parts “precisely removed.” The missing body parts, which include the anus, scrotum, testicles, and tongues, are often the first to be taken by scavengers, but the wounds, when examined by the authorities, were said to be cleanly cut.
Colby Marshall, vice president of Silvies Valley Ranch, said the bulls were valued at up to $7,000 each, and that the ranch is out hundreds of thousands of dollars, once the bulls' collective future progeny is considered.
He also expressed concern about what this could mean for the safety of the ranch's cowboys.
“If some person, or persons, has the ability to take down a 2,000-pound range bull, you know, it’s not inconceivable that they wouldn’t have a lot of problems dealing with a 180-pound cowboy," said Marshall.
Because of this, staff are now required to ride in pairs, and are encouraged to carry firearms.
The Harney County Sheriff's Office, Oregon State Police, and Malheur National Forest Emigrant Creek Ranger District are all investigating, but so far there are no clear leads.
According to Dan Jenkins, a deputy with the sheriff's office and the case's primary investigator, there are no entry wounds and a metal detector scan revealed no bullets.
Marshall added that there were no outward signs of a struggle like rope burns on trees, scattered hoof prints, or strangulation marks—not to mention the conspicuous lack of blood. He said the bulls looked like "they simply fell over and died."
"Maybe they were poisoned," said Jenkins. But no poisonous plants were found in the area, and no necropsy was possible due to the animals having been dead for 24 hours before being found.
According to the National Weather Service, no major lightning storms—similar to the freak lightning strike that killed six cows in Queensland, Australia, in 2018—occurred in the area within a month of the bulls’ death.
A similarly mutilated cow was reportedly found outside of Princeton, Oregon, in 2017, and another near Pendleton was said to have been killed sometime in the 1980s.
Marshall also said that other farmers across the West have contacted him to share similar stories of livestock mutilation after hearing of the case.
“People are looking for answers,” he said. “But right now, we don’t have any.”
Thousands of livestock deaths and mutilations have been reported since the 1970s, and the FBI itself has investigated the phenomenon. The reports are eerily similar, sharing the grotesque details of missing body parts and a conspicuous lack of blood. Explanations for the phenomenon range from mundane illnesses to satanic cults to extraterrestrials.
Around the same time as the mutilations in Oregon were reported, a mutilated cow was filmed by Aaron Linn and Jodi Houston of Ocala, Florida, who claim to have seen strange lights over the pasture where the deceased animal was found. That cow similarly showed clean incisions, missing soft tissue, and a lack of blood.
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