A cow—mysteriously beheaded—was found floating in the Rainy River in an eddy just west of Manitou Rapids.
“It was headless, upstream of Manitou Rapids,” noted Jennifer Mercer, co-ordinator of the Rainy River First Nation Watershed Program.
“It’s out and it’s been buried by one of our community members,” she added.
The cow—the second in as many years to be found in the river—has aroused concern because of the potential impact on the river, and because it’s an indication there may be a farmer out there who has little regard for the waterway’s well-being.
“The head was off so it didn’t just fall into the river,” noted Mercer. “It’s a fairly serious concern having dead animals floating down the waterway.
“The bacteria—you have it in one spot and it could kill everything there swimming. You wouldn’t want to swim in it,” she added.
Mercer also noted several communities get their drinking water from the river.
The carcass was found Friday—bloated and maggot-ridden—by resident Tony Bombay, who donned firefighting oxygen tanks to avoid the stench and removed the animal from the river.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs was contacted and requested he remove it from the river.
The Rainy River First Nation Watershed Program has received funding from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Canada to work with area farmers to preserve the watershed.
“We’ve actually had really good feedback from all the farmers so we don’t know who’s doing this,” noted Mercer.
Most farmers are working with the watershed program, and funding is still available for fencing to prevent cattle from reaching the waterways by contacting Mercer.