Moo. Maury County Taxpayers Foot Bill To Dispose of Cow Carcasses

The (Columbia) Daily Herald nailed the headline: “Maury County to spend $50K on dead cows.”

OK, maybe a story about disposing of bovine carcasses — and using taxpayer money to do so — is like the old fish-in-a-barrel joke. Too easy.

The Herald reports that the Maury County Commission voted 15-6 to approve the one-year contract with Appertain Inc., which can expect to haul away some 700 dead cattle a year, according to County Mayor Jim Bailey’s figures. Typically, supporters of the contract cited the economic challenges of farmers, while opponents said hauling dead cows was just not a government function — we heard both refrains when the issue came up in December, too. The commission has apparently had time to tackle the cow issue, looking forward to passage of a budget without tax increases (sorry, no tax rollback, either) and raises for county employees.

Interestingly, the cost of disposing of cattle has increased because of another well-intended government intervention aimed at preventing the spread of mad cow disease.

The Herald explains:

Costs have risen recently as a result of new regulations from the Food and Drug Administration, Bailey said.

Just a few years ago, the county was only budgeting about $24,000 to provide the service — about half of what is allocated for this year.

The new FDA regulation prohibited the use of brains and spinal cords in cattle more than 30 months of age as ingredients in rendered products. As a result, renderers stopped accepting the carcasses, which greatly increased disposal costs.