Recent reports in the news media have shown that livestock on farms near oil and gas drilling operations have been falling sick and dying. Many scientist and residents suspect chemicals used in drilling and fracking operations are poisoning animals through the air, water or soil.
Earlier this year, Michelle Bamberger, an Ithaca, N.Y., 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 report listed 24 case studies of farmers in six shale gas states whose livestock experienced neurological, reproductive and acute gastrointestinal problems after being exposed to fracking chemicals in the water or air. The article, published in “New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health,” describes how animals died over the course of several years.
In Louisiana, 17 cows died after an hour’s exposure to spilled fracking fluid, which is injected miles underground to crack open and release pockets of natural gas. The most likely cause of death: respiratory failure. In New Mexico, hair testing of sick cattle that grazed near well pads found petroleum residues in 54 of 56 animals. In Pennsylvania, 140 cattle were exposed to fracking wastewater when an impoundment was breached. Approximately 70 cows died, and the remainder produced only 11 calves, of which three survived.
This study should be a wake up call to all Arkansas residents who live near, visit or eat food grown near drilling sites. In addition to the pollution damage caused by fracking, the drilling has damaged people homes and property around Arkansas. A recent verdict was handed down in Federal Court in Little Rock against a drilling company whose actions caused damage to home in north central Arkansas. The company was forced to pay for the damage and additional punitive damages were assessed because their actions were grossly negligent. If you or a family member has been damaged due to gas drilling in Arkansas, please contact an Arkansas injury attorney to discuss your legal rights.