A recently completed study by two Cornell University researchers indicates the process of hydraulic fracturing deep shale to release natural gas may be linked to shortened lifespan and reduced or mutated reproduction in cattle—and maybe humans…
In one case, an accidental release of fracking fluids into a pasture adjacent to a drilling operation resulted in 17 cows dead within an hour. Exposure to fracking fluids running onto pastures or into streams or wells also reportedly led to pregnant cows producing stillborn calves, goats exhibiting reproductive problems and other farm animals displaying similar problems. Farmers reported effects within one to three days of animals consuming errant fracking wastewater.
“Of the seven cattle farms studied in the most detail, 50 percent of the herd, on average, was affected by death and failure of survivors to breed,” the researchers noted.
Mainstream media (a category ecowatch certainly doesn’t fall under) accounts of provocative new studies like this often close with the commonplace: “more studies are needed.” I can’t even recall how many times I’ve seen this. Shouldn’t journalism focused on the public interest more frequently press the question: “why are critical studies being conducted with so little urgency and paid so little heed?”