On June 2, Muskogee County, Oklahoma police arrested two individuals in connection with the deaths of 105 cows and one dog.
The property on which the dead animals were found was initially put under police radar after the ranch’s owner spotted a dead cow whilst visiting the current occupants, according to a press release by the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office.
Who Were the Individuals Responsible for the Deaths of the Animals?
The two allegedly responsible individuals are Lindsey Brashear and Kasey Clay.
According to 2 News, they were charged “with 155 counts of felony cruelty to animals, one count of receiving/concealing stolen farm equipment, and 104 counts of unlawful leaving/disposing of a carcass.”
Cameron Ousley of the Muskogee Ranch Outlet said of the crime, “That’s just pure – I wouldn’t even call it evil. That’s just downright no good right there. To have that many cattle, especially on that small piece of land. You said it was 50 acres or so? Yeah, that doesn’t even – it’s hard to run 30 cows on 50 acres.”
What Circumstances Caused the Cows’ Deaths?
As Ousley pointed out, Brashear and Clay were keeping too many cattle in too small a space. There was no grass on the property that was edible and no area for the cattle to graze.
Andy Simmons of the Muskogee County Police Department told 2 News, “[one] could tell down on the south end that they were pushing the fence over trying to get to this lush, green grass over in the other field.”
Authorities also found a stolen tractor on the premises.
American Farmers Are in Crisis
At no point in history has farming ever been an easy job. People like Brashear and Clay likely did not consider the many challenges of farming before deciding to take up the lifestyle.
In 2017, small farms—defined as those that bring in less than $350,000 a year—accounted for only a quarter of food production in the US. Small farms also accounted for only 10% of dairy production in the US.
Because of factory farming/corporatization, the traditional “family farm” lifestyle that once defined rural America is facing extinction. And currently, farm debt is at an all-time high of $416 billion.
There is no easy solution to the ever-growing number of problems farmers face in the irreversible wake of technology. Many farmers are simply giving up, declaring bankruptcy and attempting to adapt to a ruthlessly competitive new world.