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Bovine Intervention

High-powered research team tries to get to the bottom of cow mutilations

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

ARE EXTRATERRESTRIAL aliens swooping down on the cattle ranches of our Western states, pouncing on unsuspecting cows, cutting out their vaginas and other interesting body parts, and carrying them back to their home planets for weird science experiments?

The National Institute for Discovery Science isn't ready to say yes, but they're not throwing out the possibility, either. The privately funded research organization is conducting a serious study of what it calls the "controversy regarding the alleged connection between cattle mutilations and UFOs."

"We've been able in a few cases to rule out predators, scavengers and infectious disease, and we've been able to show, using veterinary pathology, that sharp instruments were used on these animals. That's as far as we're prepared to go," says NIDS deputy administrator Colm Kelleher. "Who's using the sharp instruments, why they're using them, we have no idea. In most of the cases there has been an absence of vehicle tracks around the scene. We don't know what that means. A lot of ranchers have reported a lot of unusual activity in the sky to us, but we're not in a position of drawing a cause and effect between UFOs and animal mutilations without more evidence. There's not a smoking gun, so to speak."

At first glance, it's easy to dismiss the folks at NIDS as a bunch of, well, nitwits. Not counting people who have chosen to isolate themselves from humanity by several hundred miles of desert, who actually believes that extraterrestrials are cutting up our cows? And why, of all the locations on earth for a national headquarters, did this organization's management choose Las Vegas?

The last time we associated extraterrestrials with Nevada's gambling capital, they were zapping peace doves and singing backup vocals for Tom Jones in Tim Burton's Mars Attacks.

But these people are serious. The organization's founder, Robert Bigelow, is a successful national business developer, the owner of Budget Suites of America. Kelleher, his second in command, holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry. One member of the organization's Science Advisory Board once served on the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb; another is the provost of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas; and a third, former Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell, was the sixth man to walk on the moon.

And they conduct serious investigations.

In one report on a mutilated cow by a NIDS investigator studying a 1998 incident in northeastern Utah, the organization alleged that the cow's left eye and ear had been removed, an "unusual, formaldehyde-containing blue gel-like substance was found on the eye, the ear and the anus of the animal, its heart was shredded, and though no fetus was present, it tested positive on two different pregnancy tests."

Kelleher says that this is one of perhaps a half-dozen cattle-mutilation cases NIDS has documented in its four-year existence that cannot be explained by so-called natural phenomena, such as scavengers or human poachers.

Lest anyone wish to distance themselves from the issue by several hundred miles of parched desert, NIDS has received "lots of reports from Northern California" that the organization has not been able to investigate (NIDS hotline: 702.798.1700.)

"Ninety-five percent of the calls involve cattle," Kelleher says. "But occasionally we hear about a horse, or an elk, or a buffalo."

According to the NIDS website, missing body parts of dead cattle include lips, tongue, skin and muscles of the lower jaw, rectum and/or genitalia (vulva, vagina, sometimes the entire uterus), penis, scrotum (with or without testicles), eyeball (with or without eyelids; usually only one, on the upper side, when the animal is lying on its side), tail, mammary gland (the whole udder or teats only) and ears. An online graph indicates that the most commonly reported missing parts are rectums and vaginas.

Another mutilation investigator, former Alabama police officer and now Bay Area resident Ted Oliphant III, talks in a 1997 article on his website about a dead cow found in Red Bluff (Sonoma County): "It was found missing teats from the udder, its jaw had been stripped and an ear was missing. Then it happened again, and again and again. By the time the first year had passed, the Bartons had lost four head of livestock." Oliphant attributes the mutilations to a government conspiracy rather than alien invaders.

But according to the Idaho Falls Post Register, animal-mutilation investigator Linda Moulton Howe, author of the book An Alien Harvest, believes that extraterrestrials are definitely behind the cattle killings. "I've talked to dozens of eyewitnesses who have seen silver discs landing in their fields," Howe is quoted as saying.

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From the January 20-26, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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