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|More than 50 dead cows found buried in manure piles at Rego Dairy|
|News - Latest|
|Monday, 26 March 2012 13:08|
State water regulators found more than 50 decomposing cow carcasses at the Rego Dairy in Gustine, California. The operator could face fines and a referral to the state Attorney General's office.
The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a cleanup order. Dairy owner Franklin Rego has until March 30 to dispose of the carcasses. If he can't meet that deadline, he could face fines.
Franklin said cows were buried there three or four years ago after the animals died because of a bad batch of feed. When the cows died, Rego had some of them taken away by a rendering company. But concerns about mad cow disease years ago left the job undone, he said.
"Once they decomposed I was dumbfounded," he said. "I didn't know what to do. We were clueless of what do with them. We only found out yesterday of what do with them on the (water board's) website."
Once cows and other animals decompose past a certain point, rendering plants can no longer take them, said Robert Busby, regional water board spokesman. In this case, the carcasses must be taken to a specific landfill that's state certified to accept the remains.
This was the first time since 2007 the Rego dairy had been inspected, said Busby, adding this kind of violation "happens, but the board is not aware of it happening too often. There are 1,600 dairies in California. We inspect which ones we can on a regular basis."
Rego said he and his family won a lawsuit against a Land-O-Lakes subsidiary that sold them the bad cow feed but that the money received from the lawsuit barely covered his losses from losing the cows and from other expenses.
The family plans to put the farm up for auction in about thirty days, Rego said. "It's just the dairy business. The banks don't work with anybody. It's been a rough five years. We're getting out of the business." PD
—From Las Banos Enterprise