JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Federally protected vultures are literally eating farm animals alive in parts of southern Indiana.
Several farmers, including Karen Foster of Jeffersonville, have reported losing animals to black vultures.
But it hasn't always been like this. Foster said her cattle and the birds have always been able to coexist on her family's farm.
"When the cows give birth, (the vultures) come behind and clean up after the cows, which (the cow) doesn't clean up," Foster said.
But recently, something changed. Calves started being born dead, while the number of vultures spiked.
"We went from having two or three on the farm at any given time to, I would venture to say, somewhere between 50 to a 100 vultures at a time," Foster said. "It was crazy."
What Foster learned next was even crazier. The vultures were killing the calves during birth, she said.
Foster said the angry birds even took a shot at the family pet one day in the backyard.
Despite the attacks, Foster's hands are tied because vultures are protected by a 101-year-old law, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
"So we can't shoot them," she said, "we can't get rid of them."
Foster has tried to scare the birds, but nothing has worked so far.
"I was carrying a (.22-caliber) rifle around and I would shoot it into the creek to make a noise, and they wouldn't even move," she said.
When she shared her story, Foster learned other farmers are having problems with the birds.
"Since then, I have gotten calls and been contacted from people as far away as Somerset, Kentucky, up to West Baden, Indiana," Foster said. "They're eating the roof at West Baden and French Lick. I've heard about people saying that they've eaten the covers off of their boats."
Some farmers are working with Indiana lawmakers and hope to permanently remove restrictions protecting the vultures.
"We've applied for our federal permit to be able to kill the vultures if they are harming our animals," said Foster, who expects to receive the permit by the end of the week and plans on "disposing of the vultures" if they return.
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