Livestock Falling Ill in Fracking Regions, Raising Concerns About Food
By Elizabeth Royte
Beaver County Blue via Food and Environment Reporting Network
In the midst of the domestic energy boom, livestock on farms near oil-and-gas drilling operations nationwide have been quietly falling sick and dying.
While scientists have yet to isolate cause and effect, many suspect chemicals used in drilling and hydrofracking (or “fracking”) operations are poisoning animals through the air, water, or soil.
Earlier this year, Michelle Bamberger, an Ithaca, New York, veterinarian, and Robert Oswald, a professor of molecular medicine at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, published the first and only peer-reviewed report to suggest a link between fracking and illness in food animals.
The authors compiled 24 case studies of farmers in six shale-gas states whose livestock experienced neurological, reproductive, and acute gastrointestinal problems after being exposed—either accidentally or incidentally—to fracking chemicals in the water or air. The article, published in New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, describes how scores of animals died over the course of several years.