Cattle waste presents a huge problem for farmers. From feed to fecal matter, it has the potential to cause environmental harm when leaked into waterways, released as gas into the air, and it can infect meat during processing. On Monday in Jalisco, Mexico the Hurtado reservoir was poisoned by hundreds of liters of molasses from a nearby cattle food plant. The facility creates the sticky brown substance by refining beets and sugarcane for cows to eat. Acting without a permit, the goo flowed into a canal feeding the reservoir, asphyxiating over 10,000 fish.

molasses, cattle feed, sugar, beets, sugarcane, cows

Local Mayor Emeterio Corona of Acatlan de Juarez is identifying the plant as the cause of the massive die-off. Images of fishermen clearing heaps of dead carp show the nearly 500 tons of animal bodies that had to be cleared from the water. About 180 families draw their livelihoods from the reservoir.

“The environment and the sustenance of everybody [in the community] was damaged,” Corona told the BBC. “What will they live off? I’m outraged. This is a tragedy.”

He would not give the name of the firm involved, but did state that they had acted illegally. Meanwhile, residents rake the bodies of dead fish from the water and remove them using shovels, bulldozers, and trucks. By maintaining cattle on an industrial scale, there is risk all along the production line for significant environmental and economic damage. Aside from the amazing amount of water, grain, and other feed it takes to raise meet and dairy, the mishandling of byproducts adds to the challenges of deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and unhealthy agricultural practices used to produce feedstock.

Via Huffington Post

Images via Wikicommons users Tractorboy60 and Jamain.