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Open garbage dumps all across the urban environment make it easy access for stray animals of all kinds to find food. They search through all the little plastic bags looking for something to eat and end up consuming the plastic with it.
Plastic bags and all other waste from human activity ends up inside cattle, and there’s no way to remove the blockage without surgery.
Small pieces of material may go on through and you never know the animal ate it. If it’s a large blockage, however, the animal may stop passing manure, and stop eating.
We have previously removed over 80 kilos of plastic waste from the rumen of cows that have been admitted at the RESQ Centre, this goes to show that stray cattle feed on dumpsters all their life and are prone to numerous health complications due to it.
A pregnant cow who has been consuming plastic is at an increased health risk because once the fetus got large enough to restrict abdominal space, the rumen became occluded and huge, and these cows die of suffocation.
We recently had a case where a bull while feeding at a dumpster had a used tin stuck in its mouth! We were able to remove this tin and thankfully the bull did not sustain any injuries from it but had it not got help in time he would be roaming about with a tin stuck in its mouth, not able to forage for food and would have eventually died of starvation!
It is a grim reality that is directly linked to improper human waste management. We at RESQ have been trying to do as much as we can to treat cattle that come to us for this issue. Though it is a thin line when it comes to recovery, there are numerous cases where the cattle have bounced back and stay with us leading a healthy plastic feed free life.