The following article was published in The Sierra Times, Arizona, USA, on November 4, 2002, author is Kathy Gibson-Boatman.
Note: I do not claim that there is any causal link between this report and the UFO phenomenon, but I think this information is of UFO research interest anyway, if only because it shows that scientific investigation of cattle death can sometimes be conducted fast and seriously, and yet produce no conclusion.
Mysterious Cattle Deaths in Navajo County, Arizona
Arizona ranchers are facing a new and deadly threat. In Northeastern Arizona, Larry Gibson, Seibert Cattle Co., received the first report of dead cows on Monday September 23, 2002. A school bus driver noticed a dead cow just off the road as he was driving his route.
The local Forest Service office received numerous calls reporting dead cows near Heber and contacted Larry to remove them. Larry and his wife Janet received additional calls as more animals were noticed along the road. All of the cattle affected have been in the same pasture.
Larry contacted the authorities including, his Veterinarian, Dr. William Wafer, and the Navajo County Sheriff’s office. By September 25th the death toll had climbed to fifteen. With assistance from a Sheriff’s Deputy, the cows were checked for bullet holes but none were found. The cows appear to have eaten something toxic, causing neurological stress and rapid death. Larry found one cow showing signs of distress; she was loosing fluids and motor functions while not exhibiting any signs of infection or fever. The men loaded her in a trailer, and rushed to the University of Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Lab. She died on the trip to Tucson.
Officials suspected nitrate poison from Pigweed may have been the cause. Nitrogen appears naturally in plants and on a few occasions has poisoned cattle. Kendall Hughes, range Conservationist with the Forest Service was on site and assisted Larry with gathering samples of the weeds, water, tissues and organs. Early test results conducted at the U of A did not support the nitrogen theory. Samples were sent to the University of Michigan for additional heavy metal studies.
On Saturday September 28, while the Gibson family was attending the Congressional Hearing on the Rodeo Chediski Fire, John Seibert, owner of the ranch was contacted by another Vet to inquire about the test results. A similar situation was occurring near Springerville, Arizona. The twenty-six bar ranch, owned by the Hopi tribe had about thirty head of cattle down and couldn’t figure out why.
On September 30th, I called the Arizona Cattle Growers Association and the Farm Bureau Federation to get advice. They referred me to the Arizona Department of Agriculture, Animal Services Division and the State Veterinarian. I called to request their assistance and provided their office with all of the information I had to that point. I was assured they would check with their inspectors, consult with the U of A and try to determine the cause of death. There are now 38 dead cows near Heber, and even more at the 26 Bar Ranch near Springerville where over 140 cows have died.
Both incidents may have a common thread. Cattle were gathered and held overnight in an enclosure, then driven to a new pasture, and taken to a water source. In the Heber incident, the water source was a stock tank. Near Springerville, the Little Colorado River is the source of the water.
Preliminary testing has not identified any toxins in the samples that were examined. Field tests were conducted by Doctors Blair and Northam with the Arizona Department of Agriculture on October 10. They searched for a variety of poisonous weeds, but did not locate an abundance of any one poisonous plant, or any conclusive evidence from the tests conducted. They theorize that a combination of factors contributed to this situation. Both locations, Heber and Springerville had experienced a change in the monsoon cycle and changes in the growth of the weeds due to drought. The cattle consumed something that was toxic under the circumstances that might not ordinarily be harmful, possibly some sort of metabolic change in the weeds. Dr. Carlos Reggiardo, DVM with the U of A received results October 10, 2002, the tests done with the University of Michigan were inconclusive in the Seibert Cattle death, it remains a mystery.