There was no apocalyptic cause for the recent deaths of 200 cattle in Central Wisconsin. The steers succumbed in a Portage County feed lot earlier this month, and Doctor Peter Vanderloo at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab said tests have shown that it was moldy sweet potatoes used in the animals’ feed that did them in. “The mold product that grows on sweet potatoes was present in the sweet potatoes,” said Vanderloo. “All the clinical science, the death loss, the changes in the steers, are all compatible with this mold.
Sweet potato waste was a major component of the animals’ diet at the time of the January 14th incident. Vanderloo said regionally available agricultural byproducts are commonly used to supplement animal rations, and in Central Wisconsin, that’s often sweet potatoes, potatoes and other vegetables. There’s no danger to humans. “This is a byproduct and it has a lesser value and therefore it can be fed to livestock at a lower cost, so this is not a product that goes in the food chain,” Vanderloo explained.
The deaths of the Wisconsin cattle, reported shortly after other mass animal die-offs, fueled wild speculation as to the cause, everything from the end of the Mayan calendar to the second coming and the apocalypse.