Around 10,000 Cattle Expected to Die in Texas’s Largest Recorded Fire

Around 10,000 cows are expected to perish in the Smokehouse Creek Fire—the largest fire ever recorded in Texas. The fire has spread over 1.2 million acres in the Texas Panhandle, causing widespread damage and the deaths of both people and animals. As of this writing, the fire is still only 87% contained.


Texas cattle stampede away from plumes of smoke as wildfires covering 300,000 acres force thousands to evacuate.

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According to Texas agriculture commissioner Sid Miller, more than 85% of the state’s cattle population resides on ranches in the Panhandle. Miller stated that he anticipated the deaths of 10,000 cattle, who will either die in the fire or be euthanized afterwards:

A lot of those cattle are still alive, but the hooves are burned off, the teats on their udders are burned off. It’s just a sad, sad situation.

Like tragic barn fires, which happen all too often, wildfires have devastating impacts on farmed animals. According to a 2021 report by the Office of the Texas State Climatologist, climate change is expected to bring drier, hotter conditions and substantially increase the risk of wildfires throughout the state. Rising temperatures could mean not only more horrific deaths by fire but greater chances of heat stress in farmed animals. 

Animal Agriculture and Climate Change

The global food system accounts for about one-third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, and animal agriculture is a major part of the problem. Because farmers must clear countless acres of land for pasture space and to grow feed crops, animal agriculture is a huge driver of deforestation. It is also a leading source of methane, a greenhouse gas that can trap 28 times more heat than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.

Animal agriculture is a significant source of global emissions, worsening the climate crisis and causing suffering to people and animals alike. But transforming our food system—and shifting toward more plant-based food in particular—can be a powerful solution to reduce global emissions and secure a more livable future. Start exploring plant-based eating today!