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Video shows dead sheep in the country of Georgia, not Idaho

June 23, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: A video shows sheep in Idaho who dropped dead a week after thousands of cattle died in Kansas.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. While the video does show dead sheep, the footage was actually recorded in August 2021 in the nation of Georgia, an editor for a regional media outlet that published the clip confirmed to The Associated Press.

THE FACTS: After a video of cattle apparently killed by heat stress in southwestern Kansas drew attention last week, social media users are sharing an old clip of dead sheep, falsely claiming it was recorded in Idaho in recent days. Some users also suggested that there was a link between the two incidents, and that the deaths were intentional.

In the video, dozens of sheep can be seen lying motionless on rocky ground surrounded by hills. A group of people stand nearby looking at the scene and gusts of wind can be heard.

“Last week thousands of cattle dropped dead all at the same time in Kansas, now this week sheep in Idaho,” one Twitter user who posted the video wrote on Monday in a tweet that was shared over 8,000 times. “Who is doing this?”

But the video doesn’t show Idaho, nor was it recorded this month. It was filmed on Aug. 9, 2021, on a mountain in southern Georgia, according to Rima Gharibyan, editor of the Georgian media outlet Jnews, which published the footage at the time. The footage was provided by Yagor Levanov, the son of a farmer who owned deceased sheep, Gharibyan said.

“It is in south of Georgia,” Gharibyan told the AP in a Facebook message, referring to the footage. “It’s the same video.”

Jnews reported at the time that a thunderstorm killed the sheep. Gharibyan said that local authorities came to the same conclusion. Government officials with Ninotsminda, a municipality in southern Georgia, did not respond to the AP’s requests for comment.

At least 2,000 cattle died in feedlots in southwestern Kansas last week, according to officials. While video of the lifeless livestock piled in neat rows spurred a variety of baseless and conspiratorial claims about mass killings, experts said a fatal combination of soaring temperatures, high humidity and little wind were to blame, the AP reported.

“This was a true weather event — it was isolated to a specific region in southwestern Kansas,” A.J. Tarpoff, a cattle veterinarian with Kansas State University, told the AP last week. “Yes, temperatures rose, but the more important reason why it was injurious was that we had a huge spike in humidity ... and at the same time wind speeds actually dropped substantially, which is rare for western Kansas.”


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.