Trumpsters claim dead cows are evidence of a nefarious plot to starve Americans

Republicans have viewed the deaths of thousands of cattle in a heatwave in Kansas as the latest evidence of an unfounded conspiracy theory that saboteurs ranging from the mega-rich to the government are out to destroy the national food supply.

This hoax has been floating around on the right for months, but received renewed vigor after thousands of cattle died in Kansas in a June heatwave that saw temperatures topping 104 degrees. A viral video that appeared to show hundreds of dead cattle has been cited by as evidence that someone — the Biden administration, liberal billionaires or an unnamed elite cabal — was behind the deaths.

For ranchers, the death of the cattle was not mysterious. A spokeswoman for the Kansas Livestock Association told PBS that the cows died of “heat stress” after a sudden 20-degree rise in temperature. Instead of accepting that the cattle were being killed by the heat — and the prospect that climate change will bring similar mass deaths — some Republicans were convinced that a shadowy force was behind the dead cattle.

Tennessee House nominee Robby Starbuck claimed he had unnamed sources who insisted the cows could not have been killed by the heat.

“They didn’t die from extreme heat,” Starbuck tweeted. “I’ve spoken to several ranchers since seeing this video (one from Kansas) and they all say this needs to be investigated ASAP to get to the bottom of it because there’s no way heat is one of them can result in more than 10,000 cattle dropping dead. That’s not normal.”

Theories about the cows’ deaths also circulated on Telegram, the social media network that has become a haven for far-right figures. Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, an inventor and a leading figure in the 2020 conscientious objection movement, reinforced another user’s post who suggested that Bill Gates was behind the deaths. In a Telegram message, Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes speculated that the cattle killings were part of a plot to “make us so hungry” that Americans would revolt, giving the government the opportunity to declare a state of emergency.

Few of the conspiracy theorists have been as willing to name a culprit for the cow death as Pulitzer or McInnes. Welcoming the kind of levitating skepticism that has become prominent on the MAGA right, right-wing comedian Steven Crowder tweeted Tuesday that he was “a little suspicious of 2,000 cows suddenly dropping dead in Kansas from heat stress.”

The sudden death of livestock has been integrated into a growing right-wing narrative that the country’s food supply is threatened by a shadowy network of sabotage. In April, Conservatives seized upon a spate of fires and other incidents at food processing plants to indicate a mysterious group of arsonists are intent on undermining the food supply. In reality, however, some of the incidents were years old, while others didn’t actually happen near the food factories.

The conspiracy theories surrounding cow deaths have even made it into Congress. Speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) said Americans have “every right to be skeptical” about incidents in the food supply, including cattle deaths and shortages of baby food. Cawthorn described the incidents as a “seemingly inexplicable series of accidents in the food industry” that were ignored by the media.

“Doesn’t anyone care that kids are starving you and your colleagues at Le Diplomate?” Cawthorn said, referring to the French restaurant popular with Washington politicians. Trumpsters claim dead cows are evidence of a nefarious plot to starve Americans


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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