Nearly 100 domestic sheep died after grazing near an abandoned mine in southeast Idaho. The mine was owned by Monsanto, makers of Round-Up herbicide. The company announced Oct. 12 that the sheep had presumably eaten plants near the Henry Mine, where operations halted more than two decades ago.
The Associated Press reports that a federal lab at Utah State University confirmed that the sheep had likely died after eating Western aster, which accumulates chemicals from contaminated soil.
Monsanto officials said an Idaho sheep herder entered the contaminated pit with nearly 1,200 sheep earlier this week without permission. When several of the animals fell sick, the herder tried to move them, but 95 sheep died soon thereafter.
“We have already initiated preventative actions, including more clearly marked signage on fences and gates, and locked gates where appropriate,” the company said. “In addition, we will continue working with the rangeland plant specialists as part of a program of aster identification and control. Based on these remedies and conversations with the owner about best grazing practices in the future, needless losses of this kind will be avoided.”