Publication Date July 5, 2017 | CBS News

Cow carcasses pile up in California as heat wave causes mass death

Central California's largest rendering plant is overwhelmed by the number of cows that died during a June heat wave, so officials are allowing dairy farmers to bury or compost hundreds of carcasses. 

The unusual run of heat last month - including nine straight days of triple-digit temperatures -- and a mechanical malfunction at Baker Commodities have contributed to the overload at the plant, the Fresno Bee reported Friday. 

Because of the excess carcasses, Baker stopped picking up from farms, leaving farmers without a place to send their dead animals. 

Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner Les Wesley told CBS affiliate KGPE-TV an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 livestock died in June due to the heat wave.




This isn't the first time there has been a heat-related disaster for livestock owners, according to the newspaper. San Joaquin Valley farmers went through a similar crisis in 2006 when nearly $300 million in losses were reported because of the heat. In Kings County, 1,834 milk cows valued at $3.7 million died. 

It is too soon for county officials to know how many animals died in this heat wave.