Cattle in fracking areas show side effects

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UPDATE: An energy group responds to the article by The Nation. Click here to read the article.

Scientists have been unable to diagnose the reason why livestock near oil- and gas-drilling zones across the country are sick and dying.

The Nation reports scientists believe chemicals used in drilling and hydrofracking operations are poisoning animals nearby, but a direct cause has not been determined.

In 2009, cattle from a North Dakota ranch adjacent to a drilling site experienced weight loss from 60 to 80 pounds in a week. The animals were unable to produce milk for their calves and were limping on swollen legs.

Cattle from the ranch were infected and their tails mysteriously dropped off. The owner of the ranch, Jacki Schilke, lost five of the cattle. The remaining livestock have recovered, but she’s not selling them because she’s concerned with the safety of the meat they’d produce.

A report of 24 case studies earlier this year showed farmers in six shale-gas states owned livestock who were exposed to fracking chemicals in water or air and experienced neurological, reproductive and acute gastrointestinal problems. The report was challenged by the fracking industry as farmers involved in the study were not identified.

Michelle Bamberger, an Ithaca, N.Y., veterinarian who co-published the report, is concerned if animals affected by fracking chemicals enter the food supply.

“They live in areas that have tested positive for air, water and soil contamination. Some of these chemicals could appear in milk and meat products made from these animals,” Bamberger told The Nation.

Click here for more information.

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Illinois  |  November, 30, 2012 at 04:56 PM

This, like ethanol, could be another issue that pits grain farmers against livestock farmers since grain farmers are wedded to cheap fuel.

Tony Newbill    
powell butte oregon  |  December, 03, 2012 at 09:21 AM

Bio Algae would change all this .....

November, 30, 2012 at 05:44 PM

Gee I wonder why these cattle are dying. couldn't be them chemicals. nope.

Ohio  |  November, 30, 2012 at 06:18 PM

BS. A Veterinarian in Ithica New York? Fracturing and gas drilling has been banned in that State for two years! Isn't Ithica the home of Cornell University that published a negative report about gas drilling that was rebuked by MIT just last week? NBC sure is credible, just like CBS My cattle have been surrounded by fracturing for two years and they have never been healthier. The royalty check sure helps with the feed bill and my winter heating bill has never been lower. Personally I smell a rat...A New York DemocRAT to be specific.

Oklahoma  |  November, 30, 2012 at 10:27 PM

We are catle ranchers and oil porduicers in Oklahoma and believe in the way of life ofo our couuntry. This possible lhealth informaiton linking fracking to animal adn ultimatly human health adn importantlly our ability to produce and sell healthy food needs a full and complet sintific based analysis. I happly pay my beef check off $$. OUr indusrty needs to get in front of this issue and get teh real facts out

Mary Ann    
Virginia  |  December, 02, 2012 at 05:44 AM

So, we are suppose to accept this without any proof, no names, no cattle to be examined...nothing, just the information in a report that "some scientists" and "some farmers" believe this is what is causing this, as for the cattle of Jackie Schilke, did she have them tested for other diseases, such as black leg - it lives in dirt and is everywhere, my father-in-law lost a heifer and two calves shortly after birth to this - we know because like most responsible ranchers' he had the carcasses autopsied after the second death. The calves died way before they could be vaccinated and he had just bought the heifer at market - unlike the farmer's in this article, he didn't assume or guess, he tried to find out what was happening to his cattle, not score political points or push an ideology based on politics as this article seems to be doing! We have so many issues and real problems in this country, why purpose will this serve other than pit one type of farmer against another...why do I feel that is the entire purpose?

Georgia  |  December, 02, 2012 at 05:47 AM

Reported by NBC? LOL! I don't believe in anything they report. Its's a false flag.

Oklahoma  |  December, 02, 2012 at 06:46 AM

I find this article wreckless and unsubstantiated. If they want to make claims they should be a lot more specific about which chemicals they are talking about. For example I could tell you about the main component of fracing fluid. The government not only allows us to be exposed on a daily basis but is complicit in our exposure. The elements of this chemical are extremely corrosive and highly flammable. Thousands have died from exposure to it every summer and yet the government has done nothing to limit its distribution. I am referring to the deadly chemical H2O! By printing an imcomplete article like this with virtually no rebuttal from the oil and gas industry Drovers has lent it credibility and I am disappointed in the editor.

The Watchman    
Tennessee  |  December, 02, 2012 at 07:42 AM

This story is pure left environmentalist bullcorn. I cannot believe that anyone would buy this load of hogwash from those anti-fracking idiots.

Central New York  |  December, 02, 2012 at 08:32 AM

Peter ya knead to figer out how ta yous the keybored ferst, bafor yah taak on biger thangs

Nebraska  |  December, 02, 2012 at 08:43 AM

Anonymous, grow a pair and leave your name/location. Or would New York be a give away? Face it folks, the left has been pitting the conservative center of this country against each other for years. Hence he ethanol, farm subsidies, blah blah blah. Stop falling for it. If you didn't receive your farm subsidy AND didn't have to pay for all the other garbage subsidies given out to farmers who live thousands of miles from you you would be better off in the end. Lower tax bills mean more income. Give up the farm subsidies driven by the democrats and join your neighbors. Vote with your family values, work ethics and love of this country, not the golden leash of farm subsidies,

World  |  December, 02, 2012 at 09:00 AM

John, Most of the letters were there in Peter's post. Perhaps he was ini a hurry when he did his post, or perhaps he was sending it from a mobile phone. Still he got his point across, while your post looks like a kindergarten child may have done it. It is very easy to miss a letter here or there, being in a hurry, a key or two sticking, or typing on a small keyboard with large fingers. Obviously since you had plenty of time to type your very misspelled post, you have all the time in the world, no sticking keys, a large keyboard and small fingers.

Houston  |  December, 02, 2012 at 10:56 AM

There is no direct correlation of any cattle being effected by fracking. There is a correlation to to cattle and milk producing cows more consistent with contaminated cattle feed in feed stores and new fungi that causes changes in hay and grass. Most people who eat meat products or drink milk don't become ill from long proven and safe obtaining natural fuels from processes below the ground. This is just another attempt by the Federal government to prevent this country coming out of a massive debt caused by socialists, Muslim radicals and Barry Obama.

Conrad Bock    
December, 02, 2012 at 11:43 AM

B.S. , just like the global warming lies. Anything the EPA and their zelots can dream up some of the weak minded and gullible sill believe. Long love the king etc...... What most don't understand avbout fracking would fill volumns.

Edward Patrick    
San Antonio  |  December, 02, 2012 at 12:22 PM

This is all rubbish, and flags should be going off in everybody's head. The report gets quoted as opinion of those involved and not on the science. They also cite that it is a peer-reviewed article. Well, all science should be peer-reviewed. That fact that they have to point this out should make all suspicious of their motives. What this is about is giving vegetarians the ammo they need to make you concerned about cows. They don't give a rat's butt about cows, but they hope you care enough about cows to make you care about fracking. That's what these people do.

New Mexico  |  December, 02, 2012 at 02:14 PM

Thank you for your comment! My sister and brother-in-law have blackleg in their soil, and every cow that comes on their place has to be vaccinated. My grandfather had a huge herd of hogs wiped out with cholera many years ago. He bought a new hog that was cholera infected and introduced the animal to the herd, not thinking about isolating the animal in quarantine prior to introduction to the herd. The cholera epidemic cost him a fortune.

montana  |  December, 02, 2012 at 03:57 PM

thank you sam also the farmers with the cows were not identified

Howard Lee    
Bogalusa La  |  December, 03, 2012 at 09:20 AM

Anything that says NBC News should be suspect. They have become litle more than a propaganda service for the left. I no longer trust anything from the left or the Enemedia.

kansas  |  December, 03, 2012 at 09:31 AM

First, I don't have a stake in these ag versus animal rights arguments one way or the other. But I do know from personal experience hydrofracking has been in use since the 1970s. And its reported inception is the late '40s. The ONLY new thing in the press is it is now predominantly horizontal rather than vertical as in the past. Anything you can think of has been pumped down these wells. There is no conceivable reason why animals should be affected today by a practice that has been in use for over half a century.

kansas  |  December, 03, 2012 at 09:48 AM

Abstract: (of peer reviewed article) Environmental concerns surrounding drilling for gas are intense due to expansion of shale gas drilling operations. Controversy surrounding the impact of drilling on air and water quality has pitted industry and lease-holders against individuals and groups concerned with environmental protection and public health. Because animals often are exposed continually to air, soil, and groundwater and have more frequent reproductive cycles, animals can be used as sentinels to monitor impacts to human health. This study involved interviews with animal owners who live near gas drilling operations. The findings illustrate which aspects of the drilling process may lead to health problems and suggest modifications that would lessen but not eliminate impacts. Complete evidence regarding health impacts of gas drilling cannot be obtained due to incomplete testing and disclosure of chemicals, and nondisclosure agreements. Without rigorous scientific studies, the gas drilling boom sweeping the world will remain an uncontrolled health experiment on an enormous scale. Synopsis: I have a degree in molecular biology. I went out and interviewed some producers about there cattle being sick. The producer daid his cattle are sick and they don't know why but there is hydrofracking occuring in the area. Therefore the cattle must be getting sick from the hydrofracking.

Bob Minor    
Florida  |  December, 03, 2012 at 10:23 AM

It's much more likely that the cattle, which like many animals are sensitive to the ground vibrations that are precursors to earthquakes, are being effected by the explosive nature of fracking that occurs deep down. There have been no instances that I've seen reported anywhere of any physical harm to anyone through supposed exposure to fracking chemicals in the air. Couple few cases of diseased or otherwise unhealthy animals with nearby fracking operations and environmentalists and you'll find fertile ground for yet another potential area in which to litigate against the future and our energy industries.

Craig A. Moore    
Billings, MT  |  December, 03, 2012 at 11:01 AM

John, Maybe you should be concerned more with the content over the context, you pedantic idiot.

Craig A. Moore    
Billings, MT  |  December, 03, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Not that I am going to argue with the National Barak Company, but it sounds like a lot of guessing and assuming going on here. Out here I have customers that have water that will water grown cattle but kill calves. I also have customers that have to vent gas from their wells because there is so much in the water. In some of the wells, there isn't an oil well or fraced well within a couple hundred miles. Sounds like someone is looking for ammo in the fight against that which isn't green.

KY  |  December, 03, 2012 at 12:18 PM

The smooth voice of that reassuring lady on the television screen who is trying to reassure us all that we can do whatever we want in the name of progress must have hypnotized us all. Every action has more than one consequence. One good-sized earthquake, and the true repercussions of our failure to consider the severity of the possible consequences will come to light. We fail to see or heed the lessons of the past. Greed and failure of foresight caused the Dust Bowl, Love Canal, the Three-Mile Island disaster, and many of the extreme destructions of various recent floods and storms where people thought they could control Mother Nature. Greed and a similar failure of foresight will ultimately pollute or destroy the clean water in various areas all over this country for our children and grandchildren, if not for us. They will look back on us as the most foolish, blind, selfish and greedy generation in the history of civilization. The abomination of the desolation we have caused following the philosophies of short-sighted people like Ayn Rand will be long-standing lessons to future generations--if they can survive the messes we are making today. Unless and until shale fracturing interests drill in our own backyards, destroy the quality of our water, and pay us NO money from it, I guess we will not understand or be open to the realities of those consequences.

Edwin Hamilton    
Bennington, Kansas  |  December, 03, 2012 at 12:38 PM

There should not be any cattle left alive in the Texas Panhandle, the Oklahoma Panhandle or Southwest Kansas because they have been fracking there for 66 years, since 1946. I have not been there for a couple of years but then there were probably a million cows. I don't know if they had tails.

TEXAS  |  December, 03, 2012 at 01:07 PM

Frac-ing has been going on since the early 1940's. Almost every gas or oil well is frac-ed. Texas has millions of wells, both very new and some very old. Back in the 50's, much of the oilfield waste was allowed to run down the ditch or be discharged into earthen pits. Cattle have always prospered around the oil and gas business in Texas, and continue to do so now. I think the Northeastern states should fight all this new oil and gas development in their region. Just leave the oil and gas production to us here in the south central states. You don't deserve to have any of this mineral bounty. Besides, as long as WE have all or most of the oil and gas production, we can shut your fuel off in a heart beat and let you freeze in the dark. Wouldn't bother me in the least.

Wisconsin  |  December, 03, 2012 at 02:23 PM

Now, I'll be the first one to admit, I know nothing about fracking, but I am a veterinarian. The clinical signs described (in a limited manner) of weight loos, decreased milk production, loss of the tail, and sore feet sound a lot like fescue foot and fescue toxicosis. Just my thoughts.

Mertzon, Texas  |  December, 03, 2012 at 03:57 PM

We've been running sheep, goats, cattle and deer hunters amongst many oil/gas wells for years. These wells were are developed using the new hydraulic fracturing process. Best lamb and kid crop in several years last year and the only calf lost was a casualty of a bad delivery. Our biggest issues now as well as yesterday and probably tomorrow will be drouth and predators. If you are going to lose sleep over something try something else.

Rice, TX  |  December, 03, 2012 at 05:31 PM

I agree Sam....Never had a problem around here...and I don't have any wells....but there are many close that Fracking has been done....our cattle have had no problems at all....the well water was nasty before...and it is still nasty!!....sulfer...why don't we just screw the cattlemen with another Boogyman story.. >:(

South Dakota  |  December, 04, 2012 at 05:13 PM

This all sound like another pink slime story from the same people who do not know how to tell all of the story.

December, 05, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Thanks for identifying yourself as a pro-gas troll!

lynne whelden    
canton, pa, bradford county, ground zero for PA drilling  |  December, 05, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Sam...Thanks for making a comment that clearly identifies yourself as a pro-gas troll who abandoned reason after you got your first royalty check!

Fracked and hating it    
Heber Springs,Arkansas  |  December, 05, 2012 at 08:02 PM

Why would an industry or anyone need to be exempt from the safe drinking water act.I can tell you that the stream on my property just a couple hundred feet downhill from a sludge pit is now contaminated with Norm.Tested by the health department of this state.I can also tell you that I have seen dead birds in the frack fluid and on the side of the pit! The fluid in the pit was the most foul thing I have ever smelled and burned my eyes,made my nose run.It was hard to breath.It smelled many times stronger than an overheated car with an antifreeze smell.animals will drink antifreeze because it taste sweet.It doesn't take an extremely educated person to know that stuff is dangerous.just plain common sense.I think more studies need to be done before they destroy the future of the generations to come.Unequal protection under the law.No one should be forced to live with those smells and have their way of life destroyed and their lands contaminated.My Grandchildren deserve better and so do yours.When out food chain is destroyed clean air,water and soil it will be too late.The almighty dollar will not save us then all living things depend on how we respect that which God has given to us.We can live without many things but not the 3 things I just mentioned above.

Ohio  |  December, 14, 2012 at 10:01 AM

...Or this all seems to be happining during the administration of BHO. Could it be that the cows are upset? Correlations and coincidence is not cause and effect. And agendas are not always public. However: Shela Jackson Lee head of BHO's EPA has not found any evidence of enviromental damage due to fracturing. And that is not for a lack of looking, looking some more, hopeing and praying for even the slighest bit of evidence to use against the industry. Since facts wont work they are left with rummor.

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