Conspiracy Theorists See Right Through Our Dastardly Plans Of COW MURDERRRR
At least 2,000 cattle have died over the last week in Kansas due to heat stress, with the heat wave bringing temperatures of up to 108 degrees, high humidity, and no wind. According to the University of Nebraska's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, this tracks, as "[t]he lethal range for cattle is 100°F and 80 percent humidity." This is not the first time this has happened, either. In 2017, thousands of cows died in California during a heat wave, and in 2011 the same thing happened to 4,000 cows in Iowa. Hell, it happened in 1991 in Queensland, Australia. There are over 93,000 results on Google Scholar on the subject of heat stress and cattle mortality from all over the world, suggesting that perhaps this is not an entirely uncommon event in this kind of weather.
Sixty-four human beings have also died due to the high temperatures this week.
But maybe that's just what "they" and/or "Bill Gates" want you to think!
Rather than take a second and look up the effects of heat stress on cattle or whether this is a thing that has happened before, rightwing conspiracy theorists all over the internet are proclaiming that something like this never could have happened as a result of the heat wave and thus something nefarious must have occurred.
"If you believe 3,000 cows in SW Kansas all died at the same time because of climate change — you’re not smart enough to be my friend" an obvious genius named Carson Krow wrote in a viral tweet.
\u201cIf you believe 3,000 cows in SW Kansas all died at the same time because of climate change\u2014 you\u2019re not smart enough to be my friend\u201d— \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8Carson Krow \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8Carson Krow \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1655337452
Below this tweet and elsewhere, conservatives insist that they all know how cows work and that this never happens, ever, and so therefore it must be sabotage of some kind. Poison is a popular theory. Some have also linked it to Bill Gates, who they claim is buying up all the farmland in hopes of forcing people to switch to Impossible burgers and become vegans.
This is all partly because the heat wave has been connected in the media to climate change, which they know for sure is not real, and because it fits in with an ongoing conspiracy theory they have about some secret evil plan to starve the populace through disruption of food supply chains. Over the last couple months, memes with lists of "mysterious fires" and other accidents at food processing plants have been making the rounds on the Right, frequently coupled with the usual lines about how there are no coincidences, that this is something "the media doesn't want you to know," assuring the reader that "something" must be going on. Probably a plan to "starve us." For reasons.
This theory, if you can even call it that, hit the mainstream a little over a month ago when Tucker Carlson ran a segment on it on his show, during which he claimed a small plane crashed into a General Mills plant (it did not, it crashed near a General Mills plant, causing no damage to the actual plant itself) and that over a dozen food processing plants had been burnt down or had planes crash into them recently.
While Carlson did not offer any kind of concrete explanation of what he thought was going on here, apart from allowing his guest to insinuate that it was part of a plot to attack the US food supply for some reason, he did end the segment by putting on his disgusted labrador face and saying, “I'm sorry, but the onus is on people who think this is a conspiracy theory to explain what’s really going on. What are the odds of that? I have no idea.”
Well, those people have explained "what's really going on" but it does not seem as though he or anyone else has cared to look that up.
If these fires and plane crashes and cow deaths are being caused by evil agents of the Deep State and/or Bill Gates, then why are they all so bad at their jobs? There are still millions of cows that are just fine and many of the plants that did have fires did not even have to shut down production. One popularly cited example was a vacant building that had gone unused for years and another was a small butcher shop. One of the production plants that actually was destroyed in a fire (as the result of a welding accident) was a manufacturer of wholesale salad products, which really puts a dent in the theory that this is about forcing people to become vegans.
One would have think that if this really were the plan, they at least would have been able to find better arsonists/cow poisoners. Are we really supposed to believe that with all of the access that the totally-not-imaginary Deep State must have to elite professional criminals and all of the money Bill Gates has, they can't get it together to find people who are better at this?
This theory, though clearly not all that fleshed out, has a lot in common with other rightwing conspiracies, including The Great Reset (the belief that COVID was manufactured to wipe out the world's population for reasons of sustainability), The Great Replacement (the theory that we want to replace white conservatives with people of color from other nations), and the many end of the world scenarios in which we refuse to let them buy anything unless they agree to write "666" on their forehead or whatever.
A very large chunk of rightwing conspiracies seem to revolve around our various evil plots to make them all go away. Perhaps this is because they understand, on some level, how incredibly fucking annoying they are.
It's your early OPEN THREAD.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse