If “bird flu” makes its way to Iowa and flocks of birds here have to be killed, the Iowa National Guard might have to be activated just as it was during the “Cow War” of 1931. Michael Vogt (VOHT), the curator of the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge, says the Guard worked with state and local police forces back in 1931, “As oftentimes the Guard has been called on to do then and now, in states of emergency,” Vogt says. So what was the state of emergency in 1931? The “Cow War” involved the government’s battle to test all the cattle in the state, kill the cattle that had bovine tuberculosis, and inoculate the rest. Some farmers in Iowa, facing huge financial losses, tried to hide their cattle. “As a result, they declared martial law in some Iowa counties and they called in the National Guard to stand guard over fields and keep the roadways open and to make sure all the cattle were tested,” Vogt says.
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