Farm Animals


November 16, 2013

A message from Digby, Nova Scotia.

From: Debi VanTassel
Date: Fri, Nov 15, 2013
Subject: Ocean Breeze Emu Farm-closing

Dear Friends,
It is with great sorrow that I write this e-mail.
Due to the abuse we are experiencing from the Industrial Wind Turbines our emus have suffered greatly. First with the installation of the test towers and the high pitch sounds emitting from them, we lost 26 of our 38 emus with no eggs laid. During the time the turbines were erected and the test towers were still in place; we lost 5 more emus. Leaving us 8 emus. The Agriculture in Truro reported to us that these birds had died of fear.
Three years after the turbines were up and running we finally had 7 eggs and 4 out of the seven survived, expanding our emu count to 11. A female emu will lay approximately 40 to 50 and we were accustom to incubating 100 per year in which half would hatch.
The next two years we had no eggs on the third year we had 52 eggs laid and 27 chicks hatched.
From the time the Industrial Wind Turbines were erected we here had NO meat or oil to sell–only the egg shells to generate any income from our emu farm.  Two years ago we put up a little shop selling polished beach stone jewellery and novelties, which Judy and Dave (Davey’s Mom and Dad) and I create. People come to see the emus and sometimes visit the shop. Unfortunately, this does not generate enough revenue to even begin to support our farm.
Over the past two years we have struggled to keep these 35 emus alive, but we could not keep their weight up…the agitation from the turbines caused them to run and run night and day wearing them down to practically nothing. The young ones suffered the most from the effects of the infrasound emitting from the turbines.
Emus habits are to lay down together at dusk–males and females pick their mates and the others huddle together for sleep.  We noticed that our emus were not laying down, but running through the night. We noticed that the birds were getting thinner and thinner. We contacted the feed company and they added more vitamins and fibre to the feed hoping that this would help, but unfortunately it did not.
In the last two weeks we lost 5 our the younger emus. We have SEVEN of the 27 emus and SIX of the mature emus remaining; totalling 13 in all. We cannot prove that it is due to the effect of the turbines, but one thing we do know is that for the 18+ years before the turbines we NEVER had any problems with our birds, no unexplained deaths, no agitation they would lay down in the evening content and low us to sleep with their gentle drumming. We had healthy, productive, and content emus.
People would come literally from all over the world to visit our emus. Some from Sweden, Austria, Holland, London, all over United States and Canada, senior buses and tour buses have come to visit our Emu Farm and have been delighted in the antic and uniqueness of our emus. One of our emus “Ernie” was taken to Halifax to the Children’s Museum and appeared on the Breakfast TV show.
These unique animals have not only supplied us with healthy meat, eggs, and oil, but have brought entertainment, joy and happiness to everyone who has had the opportunity to meet them…they will be truly missed.
So with great sadness, after 18+ years with our emu farm, Ocean Breeze Emu Farm will be closing. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us and may God Bless you.
Davey and Deb Van Tassel

UK: Official: wind turbines are an iniquitous assault on property rights




August 23, 2012
by James Delingpole

I’m writing these words in what was formerly one of the loveliest valleys in all of Wales. To be fair, the Edw valley still is pretty spectacular. But this year, for the first time in the decade or more I’ve been holidaying here, I no longer look at the white houses dotting the valley and wish one day that I could own one.

Epw valleyWhy don’t I wish to buy my dream home in my dream valley any more? Because the greed and selfishness of a local sheep farmer has killed it, that’s why. I’m sure he doesn’t see it that way. I’m sure if you asked him he’d come up with some guff about how he needed to “diversify”, and how it would save on his energy costs and enable him to farm more sustainably. But the fact is that the poxy wind turbine which this ghastly man has erected on a promontory visible from almost every high point in the area – not to mention the bedroom window of our beloved rental cottage – has changed the character of the Edw valley forever. For centuries, millennia even, this idyllic, breathtakingly beautiful spot has survived untarnished by any form of obtrusive industrial development. No longer.

Continue reading →

Letter To Prime Minister Stephen Harper from Carmen Krogh


Open Submission: Industrial Wind Turbines can Harm Animals
Submitted by Carmen Krogh, BSc Pharm
May 16, 2013

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Health
Health Canada


The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada

May 16, 2013

Dear Minister Aglukkaq,

Re: Wind Turbines Can Harm Animals

On November 21, 2012, I provided a submission to Health Canada , on request, and on behalf of the Brindley family who left their farm in Ontario and now farm in Saskatchewan . Documentation regarding that submission had been verified by the family. The file name of the submission was: “Brindley_Health Canada Submission Nov 21 2012 FINAL”.

The Brindley submission documented harm to their cattle and included photos of deformities entitled section “3.2 Swollen joints and deformities.”

The purpose of this submission is to inform Health Canada that documentation regarding deformities to horses is available.

I declare no conflicts and have received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this submission.

Indications are that industrial wind energy facilities may cause harm to cattle and horses. It is possible this risk could extend to other animals.

There is an opportunity for Health Canada to invoke the precautionary principle and to consider the risk to animal life.

Reports of risks to humans including children have been provided in previous submissions and through submission of peer reviewed articles and other information.

Health Canada should ensure that appropriate research determines guidelines that avoid risk of harm to humans and animal life. This research should be conducted before continuing to support industrial wind energy development.

Respectfully submitted,

Carmen Krogh, BScPharm
Ontario , Canada
Cell 613 312 9663

Australian gov’t advisor warns of wind farm dangers

May 6, 2013: A South Australian Government advisor has blown the whistle on the dangers of building wind farms on prime agricultural land. Mike Smithson reports.

One of the South Australian Government’s own advisors has blown the whistle on the dangers of building wind farms on prime agricultural land.

Former MP Peter Blacker is heading the Government’s independent council into windfarm impacts and came out swinging at a Parliamentary Committee today.

He said wind sheer from massive turbines sweep across vast areas, from farm to farm, and that creates a hazard during aerial bushfire fighting, and similarly when spraying herbicides and combating locust plagues.

Mr Blacker claims a 199-tubrine proposal for Yorke Peninsula could affect an 800 square kilometre area, and he called for such farming properties to be zoned windfarm-free.

“Probably 97 per cent of South Australia could be available to windfarms without affecting prime agricultural land,” he said.

Committee chairman David Ridgeway said: “There will be an impact, and that needs to be fully explored.”

Mr Blacker also raised concerns about the contracts signed by farmers who agree to house turbines on their properties.

He said secrecy clauses prevent them from speaking out if they change their mind.

“Land values have dropped considerably where a wind farm is on it,” Mr Blacker said.

The Greens support renewable energy, but strongly reject Mr Blacker’s assessment.

“Your property is worth more, not less,” Greens MP Mark Parnell said.

Courtesy of Mike Smithson, 7News Adelaide

Can Wind Turbines Cause Developmental Deformities In Horses?

The following is the summary of a case study of a group of Lusitano horses that have been monitored over 4 years which were the subject of a masters thesis at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Technical University, Lisbon completed in 2012.

The study was performed by Teresa Margarida Pereira Costa e Curto, ADVISOR: Dr. Maria da Conceição da Cunha and Vasconcelos Peleteiro CO-ADVISOR: Dr. Maria Luisa Jorge Mendes

The study reports the findings from a stud where 11 foals developed flexural deformities of the front limbs, after they were born. (Acquired flexural deformity of the distal interphalangeal joint).

In this stud farm, the owner has been breeding normal and physically sound horses since 2000. There were no changes in diet, exercise or any other significant alteration in management. Until in 2008, wind turbines were installed adjacent to the property and grazing paddocks.
Since this date, a good number of foals and yearlings have developed deformities.

The subjects of the study were:
-11 Lusitano horses. Age between 0 and 48 months old.
-6 males and 5 females
-9 were born at the stud farm, 2 were acquired from a different breeder.

Healthy foal 6 month foal - close-upThe images show the same foal’s lower legs and hooves at 3 months (left) and later at 6 months (right) of age.

6 month foal - close-upAnother foal was bought from another breeder to exclude a possible genetic link to this problem. The pony came to the farm at 15 days old and, like the others, developed a flexural deformity.


The following tests were used for the study:
• Anamnesis
• Clinical examination
• Goniometry
• Ultrasound and x-ray
• Measurement of cortical bone
• CT
• Desmotomy of the check ligament
• Histopathology
• Sound measurements
• Measurements of Ground vibration

Proximity of horses to wind turbineHorse proximityproximity

Measurements of ground vibration were made at different distances from the wind turbines, with the same equipment that is used to detect seismic vibrations (earthquakes). The results of these measurements, showed ground vibration at different frequencies. Research has shown that vibration effects bone metabolism.

Cellular Mechano-transduction is the mechanism by which cells convert mechanical signals into biochemical responses. Based on the mechanical effects on cells it was proposed in this research project that the ground vibrations were responsible for a increased bone growth which was not accompanied by the muscle-tendon unit growth leading to the development of these flexural deformities.

The above research project was based solely on this case study. Therefore, further research is necessary in order to validate these preliminary findings and hypothesis. Regarding the sound that the wind turbines produce, measurements were taken and studies have demonstrated some cellular damage is caused by low frequency noise.

Acquired flexural deformity of the distal interphalangic joint in foals

Since 2008, a high prevalence of front limb acquired flexural deformities was observed in a Lusitano stud farm. This work aims to evaluate this problem by reporting the results from tissue alterations in the affected animals as well as environmental conditions and management changes, which could have led to this observation. A total of eleven affected animals were studied. In these, a complete physical and orthopaedic examination were performed specifically the determination of the angle between the dorsal hoof wall and the floor. Radiographic examination, CT imaging, determination of the thickness of the cortical bone of the third metacarpian and histopathology of some tissues collected in biopsy and necropsy were done in a subset of affected foals.

All the animals had been supplemented with balanced commercial diet for equine. To investigate a possible genetic cause, two foals from distinct bloodlines were brought to the stud. These also developed the deformities after 6 months. Two of the affected foals were placed in a
pasture away from the initial one and two others were admitted at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Lisbon. In those animals, except for one that had to be euthanized for humane reasons, an improvement was observed on their condition, with partial recovery of the deformity.

Histopathology was performed from (i) the tendon obtained by surgical desmotomy in one foal, (ii) tendon biopsies were performed in three foals and (iii) from the tissue of one foal during necropsy. Histologically the most significant alterations were the dissociation of myofibrils of the smooth muscle. This was predominantly seen in the small intestine but also in the walls of small capillary vessels, including those of the tendon vasculature. The flexural deformities have a complex and multifactorial etiopathogeny. They occur due to uncoupling of the longitudinal development of the bone and its adjacent soft tissues, but also from shortening of the tendon-muscle unit in response to pain.

In the case series presented here, there was no obvious cause for the development of this problem, therefore we hypothesised that unusual environmental conditions might have played an important role in the development of this condition, especially those introduced in recent years.

The Price of Green Energy: Is Germany Killing the Environment to Save It?

March 12, 2013

The German government is carrying out a rapid expansion of renewable energies like wind, solar and biogas, yet the process is taking a toll on nature conservation. The issue is causing a rift in the environmental movement, pitting “green energy” supporters against ecologists.

The Bagpipe, a woody knoll in northern Hesse, can only be recommended to hikers with reservations. This here is lumberjack country. Broad, clear-cut lanes crisscross the area. The tracks of heavy vehicles can be seen in the snow. And there is a vast clearing full of the stumps of recently felled trees.

Martin Kaiser, a forest expert with Greenpeace, gets up on a thick stump and points in a circle. “Mighty, old beech trees used to stand all over here,” he says. Now the branches of the felled giants lie in large piles on the ground. Here and there, lone bare-branch survivors project into the sky.

Kaiser says this is “a climate-policy disaster” and estimates that this clear-cutting alone will release more than 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Forests are important for lowering levels of greenhouse gases, as large quantities of carbon dioxide are trapped in wood — especially the wood of ancient beech trees like these. Less than two years ago, UNESCO added the “Ancient Beech Forests of Germany” to its list of World Natural Heritage Sites.

It wasn’t any private forest magnate who cleared these woods out. Rather, it was Hessen-Forst, a forestry company owned by the western German state of Hesse. For some years now, wood has enjoyed a reputation for being an excellent source of energy — one that is eco-friendly and presumably climate neutral. At the moment, more than half of the lumber felled in Germany makes into way into biomass power plants or wood-pellet heating systems. The result has been an increase in prices for wood and the related profit expectations. The prospect of making a quick buck, Kaiser says, “has led to a downright brutalization of the forestry business.”

The Costs of Going Green

One would assume that ecology and the Energiewende, Germany’s plans to phase out nuclear energy and increase its reliance on renewable sources, were natural allies. But in reality, the two goals have been coming into greater and greater conflict. “With the use of wood, especially,” Kaiser says, “the limits of sustainability have already been exceeded several times.” To understand what this really means, one needs to know Kaiser’s background: For several years, he has been the head of the climate division at Greenpeace Germany’s headquarters in Hamburg.

Things have changed in Germany since Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government launched its energy transition policy in June 2011, prompted by the Fukushima nuclear power plant catastrophe in Japan. The decision to hastily shut down all German nuclear power plants by 2022 has shifted the political fronts. Old coalitions have been shattered and replaced by new ones. In an ironic twist, members of the environmentalist Green Party have suddenly mutated into advocates of an unprecedented industrialization of large areas of land, while Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats have been advocating for more measures to protect nature.

Merkel’s energy policies have driven a deep wedge into the environmental movement. While it celebrates the success of renewable energies as one of its greatest victories, it is profoundly unsettled by the effects of the energy transition, which can be seen everywhere across the country.

Indeed, this is not just about cleared forests. Grasslands and fields are being transformed into oceans of energy-producing corn that stretch beyond the horizon. Farmers are using digestate, a by-product of biogas production, to fertilize their fields as soon as they thaw from the winter. And entire tracts of land are being put to industrial use — converted into enormous solar power plants, wind farms or highways of power lines, which will soon stretch from northern to southern Germany.

The public discourse about the energy transition plan is still dominated by its supporters, including many environmentalists who want to see the expansion of renewable energies at any price. They set the tone in government agencies, functioning as advisors to renewable energy firms and policymakers alike. But then there are those feeling increasingly uncomfortable with the way things are going. Out of fear of environmental destruction, they no longer want to remain silent.

Greens in Awkward Position

Although this conflict touches all political parties, none is more affected than the Greens. Since the party’s founding in 1980, it has championed a nuclear phaseout and fought for clean energy. But now that this phaseout is underway, the Greens are realizing a large part of their dream — the utopian idea of a society operating on “good” power — is vanishing into thin air. Green energy, they have found, comes at an enormous cost. And the environment will also pay a price if things keep going as they have been.

Within the Greens’ parliamentary group in the Bundestag, politicians focused on energy policy are facing off against those who champion environmental conservation, fighting over how much support the party should throw behind Merkel’s energy transition. Those who prioritize the environment face a stiff challenge, given that Jürgen Trittin — co-chairman of the parliamentary group who long served as environment minister — is clearly more concerned with energy issues.

In debates, members of the pro-environmental camp have occasionally even been hissed at for supposedly playing into the hands of the nuclear lobby. “We should overcome the temptation to sacrifice environmental protection for the sake of fighting climate change,” says Undine Kurth, a Green parliamentarian from the eastern city of Magdeburg. “Preserving a stable natural environment is just as important.”

“Of course there is friction between environment and climate protection advocates, even in my party,” says Robert Habeck, a leader of the Greens in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein who became its “Energiewende minister” in June 2012 — the first person in Germany to hold that title. “We Greens have suddenly also become an infrastructure party that pushes energy projects forward, while on the other side the classic CDU clientele is taking to the barricades. It’s just like it was 30 years ago, only with reversed roles.”

This role is an unfamiliar one for environmentalists. For a long time, they were the good guys, and the others were the bad guys. But now they’re suddenly on the defensive. They used to be the ones who stood before administrative courts to fight highway and railway projects to protect Northern Shoveler ducks, Great Bustards or rare frog species. But now they are forced to defend massive high-voltage power lines while being careful not to scare off their core environmentalist clientele.

Bärbel Höhn, a former environment minister of the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, has a reputation for being a bridge-builder between the blocs. She concedes that there have been mistakes, like with using corn for energy. But these are just teething problems that must be overcome, she adds reassuringly.

Encroaching on Nature Reserves

The opposition in Berlin has so far contented itself with criticizing Merkel, believing that her climate policies have failed and that she has steered Germany’s most important infrastructure project into a wall. Granted, neither the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) nor the Greens are part of the ruling coalition at the federal level, but they do jointly govern a number of Germany’s 16 federal states. And, when forced to choose between nature and renewable energies, it is usually nature that take a back seat in those states.

It was in this way that, in 2009, Germany’s largest solar park to date arose right in the middle of the Lieberoser Heide, a bird sanctuary about a 100 kilometers (62 miles) southeast of Berlin. Since German reunification in 1990, more than 200 endangered species have settled in the former military training grounds. But that didn’t seem to matter. In spite of all the protests by environmentalists, huge areas of ancient pine trees were clear cut in order to make room for solar collectors bigger than soccer fields.

A similar thing happened in Baden-Württemberg, even though the southwestern state has been led for almost two years by Winfried Kretschmann, the first state governor in Germany belonging to the Green Party. In 2012, it was the Greens there who passed a wind-energy decree that aims to boost the number of wind turbines in the state from 400 to roughly 2,500 by 2020. And in the party’s reckoning, nature is standing in the way.

The decree includes an exemption that makes it easier to erect huge windmills in nature conservations areas, where they are otherwise forbidden. But now this exception threatens to become the rule: In many regions of the state, including Stuttgart, Esslingen and Göppingen, district administrators are reporting that they plan to permit wind farms to be erected in several nature reserves.

But apparently even that isn’t enough for Claus Schmiedel, the SPD leader in the state parliament. Two weeks ago, he wrote a letter to Kretschmann recommending that he put the bothersome conservationists back into line. Schmiedel claimed that investors in renewable energies were being “serially harassed by the low-level regional nature-conservation authorities” — and complained that the state government wasn’t doing enough to combat this.

Fears of Magnetic Fields

Just as controversial as the wind farms are the massive electricity masts of the power lines, which bring wind energy from the north to large urban areas in the south. This has led the Greens to favor cables laid underground over the huge overhead lines for some time now. Trittin, the party’s co-leader, believes that using buried cables offers an opportunity “to expand the grid with the backing of the people.”

Ironically, however, there is growing resistance to this supposedly eco- and citizen-friendly form of power transition on the western edge of Göttingen, a university town in central Germany that lies in Trittin’s electoral district.

Harald Wiedemann, of the local citizens’ initiative opposed to underground cables, has already sent to the printers a poster that reads: “Stop! You are now leaving the radiation-free sector.” Plans call for laying 12 cables as thick as an arm 1.5 meters (5 feet) below ground. Wiedemann warns that the planned high-voltage lines will create dangerous magnetic fields.

He and some other locals have marked out the planned course of the lines with barrier tape. It veers away from the highway north of the village, cuts through the fields, runs right next to an elementary school and through a drinking water protection area.

Wiedemann is also the head of the city organization of the Greens, who are generally known as Energiewende backers. “But why do things have to be done so slapdash?” he asks. The planning seems “fragmented,” he says, and those behind them have forgotten “nature conservation, health and agriculture.”

Indeed, underground cables are anything but gentle on the landscape. Twelve thick metal cables laid out in a path 20 meters wide are required to transmit 380,000 volts. No trees are allowed to grow above this strip lest the roots interfere with the cables. The cables warm the earth, and the magnetic fields created by the alternating current power cables also terrify many.

Nature Suffers

Many nature conservationists believe that Germany’s Energiewende is throwing the baby out with the bath water. For example, last week, Germany’s Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) hosted a meeting of scientists and representatives from nature conservation organizations and energy associations in the eastern city of Leipzig.

Kathrin Ammermann, who heads the organization’s unit responsible for renewable energy, is troubled by recent developments. “Increased production of biogas, in particular, has intensified corn monoculture,” she says, noting that this has harmed numerous plant and animal species. Wind turbines also kill birds and bats. “The expansion of renewable energies must not only be carried out in a way that makes the most economic sense, but also in a way that is as friendly as possible to nature and the environment,” she says.

As Germany’s environment minister, it is Peter Altmaier’s job to balance the interests of both sides. But the CDU politician spent his first months in office singing the praises of renewable energies only to then turn around and warn with increasingly grim forecasts of an explosion in electricity prices that can no longer be controlled. Indeed, nature conservation doesn’t exactly top his list of priorities.

Last summer, when he presented his personal 10-point renewable-energy plan, it occurred to him, just in knick of time, that he was also responsible for environmental protection. He then pulled out a few meager words on nature and water protection, which have yet to be followed up with deeds. Nor has any progress been made on a noise-control plan relating to the building of offshore wind farms that had been announced with much fanfare.

At least Norbert Röttgen, Altmaier’s predecessor and fellow CDU member, conceded during his time in office that nature protection might ultimately risk getting put on the back burner as a result of the nuclear phaseout. He even set up a Nature Conservation and Energy division within the ministry to address the issue. Nevertheless, it is the champions of renewable energies who are increasingly dominating the ministry’s policy line, with the traditional advocates of nature and environmental protection just standing back and watching in astonishment. “In decision-making processes, we either get listened to too late or not at all,” says one ministry official. “Nature protection just isn’t an issue the minister has taken up.”

Animals, too, suffer from Wind Turbine Syndrome

August 22, 2011

Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine


Like those proverbial canaries in the coal mine, chickens near wind farms may provide early clues to potential harm to health of humans and animals. That’s the contention of Hamish Cumming, a farmer battling proposed wind turbines near his home in New Zealand.

He has written a letter to East County Magazine seeking help from people living near wind farms locally (and in other locations) to document cases of shell-less eggs, dead chickens, or other animals that suffer internal hemorrhaging.

The “humble chicken” is common in rural areas near wind farms and can be easily monitored, Cumming says. Chickens under stress may produce a soft-shelled or shell-less egg that can’t be laid, killing the chicken. Such incidents have been documented near wind farms, says Cumming, who has also collected examples of livestock and a dog that died from internal hemorrhaging near wind farms.


Read more


Can turbines and free range hens co-exist?

July 16, 2012 – If you as a free range egg producer were suddenly told that a tall wind turbine was likely to be built adjacent to your hens, what would you do? Would you think, ‘OK I am not bothered’ or would you have sleepless nights worrying about it?


Does it depend on how near the turbine would be to the hens? Supposing it was close to the hens’ house, could the hens become accustomed (habituated) to the turbine?

Whereas hens may be able to cope with small turbines, can they also be un-phased by the very big ones that are springing up throughout the UK? With the increased emphasis on green electricity generation, these are interesting questions to be asking.

As a Poultry Consultant, let me put forward here my thoughts:
A Consultant has to look objectively at the situation, so I am presenting to you what I think may be the dangers. I might be wrong but until it is proven that hens can indeed take no notice of large wind turbines, I think that it is sensible to be cautious.

So the basic question that has to be assessed is whether it is practicable for free range hens to co-exist adjacent to a wind turbine.

Farm animals have proved to be resilient and unperturbed by the turbines, but that does not mean that hens are too. There is little evidence at the moment that hens can become habituated to the close proximity of wind turbines. Indeed, equipment that can be both noisy and which also throws shadows and has a flickering effect could be frightening to hens.

Although hens have been domesticated, they still have an inherent fear of flying predators.

There have been many documented cases of panic caused to free range hens by helicopters and hot air balloons. The hens on the range area rush in panic to the safety of their house and this can lead to stress and possibly death by smothering. Birds of prey have a dramatic effect on the behaviour of the hens.

When these predators fly over hens that have ventured out of the house onto the range area and especially when they hover over the hens, there is a headlong rush by the hens for the security of having a roof over their head. This basic inherent reaction is the equivalent of their hiding in the undergrowth when they were in the jungle before they became domesticated. It is not possible to eradicate this behaviour.

It is entirely perceivable that the flicker affect and especially the moving blades on a wind turbine would induce a reaction in the hens that would be the same as for birds of prey or helicopters. Hens (and all birds) have eyes that have a very wide monocular field of vision.

This allows them to be able to focus on both near and far away objects at the same time. Their eyes are relatively large when compared to human eyes and they have a flattened shape. With such good vision, they are therefore able to stay alert whilst out on the range. They could very easily see the movement of the blades of the wind turbines, both on a horizontal and a vertical plane to them.

In addition, the cones in the retina of the eyes are concerned with colour vision. They produce sharp images and colour sensations because each cone has its own nerve connection. For example, hens can see very much better in the ultra-violet wavelength area of the spectrum than humans. The rods in the retina of the hens’ eyes create a large light reception facility for maximising vision.

It is therefore unwise to assume that something that would not be seen as a threat to humans or farm animals would not be seen as such by hens. The eyes of hens are different and they have an inbuilt fear of predators from the sky. These movements could be either near or far away and would be seen clearly by hens both at the same time. Movements that are rapid or slow can induce a fear reaction in the hens.

The physiological construction of the hens’ eyes implies that there may well be a problem. Therefore it is clear that there is a possibility that the turbines could have a financially debilitating affect on the business of producing free range eggs and that those who make a decision on a proposed project should not ignore this probability, because the turbine could indeed be a stressor for the hens.

Stress is one of the most common reasons why some free range flocks do not perform well. Stressors, such as the wind turbine could possibly:

• cause an increase in the mortality of the flock;

• induce a loss of egg production;

• lead to a reduction in the size (value) of the eggs;

• directly cause an increase in second quality (less valuable) eggs;

• induce an increased risk of antagonistic behaviour of the hens, leading to feather pecking and death from cannibalism;

• induce an increased fear reaction leading to the hens taking fright more readily, which can cause death from smothering and broken bones.

So stress is probably the most common cause of a free range flock failing to attain its genetic (and therefore its financial) potential.

Often, a stressed flock is one that has an increased mortality pattern, where it becomes virtually impossible to stop the escalating number of hens that die. An input from a Specialist Poultry Veterinary Surgeon is invariably necessary. They would be likely to endorse that probably the most common cause of death is from peritonitis and that this is usually associated with stressors.

In my view, the possibility of stressed hens caused by the wind turbine can not be ignored. I suspect that some would argue that the hens could become accustomed (habituated) to the presence of the wind turbines. They might be right because this can be true for some potential stressors.

However, for one that is so deeply inherent as the fear of predators, I feel that this needs to be proven and that those wishing to install the turbines should be made to present statistically sound evidence that shows that the welfare and productivity of free range hens is not detrimentally affected by their turbines. If they can’t do that they should erect their turbines elsewhere.


Wind turbines create a noise that is higher than the background noise level at a particular site. Whether this is intrusive is less clear, because of the variability of all of the associated factors that combine to create noise.

Noise tests on a turbine that is typical of ones that are currently being erected in the UK show that both the operational noise level of the turbine and the background level increase exponentially with increasing wind speed. This means that the total noise levels tend to be higher when the wind speed is stronger.

Let’s consider what would happen with a turbine that is close to a free range site. I suspect that for the hens, the time when the hens would be at the greatest risk from disturbance from the noise of the turbines would be when the wind speeds are low.

Information that is available online demonstrates that whereas the difference between the total noise and the background noise was only 4.8 decibels (dB Laeq) when the wind speed was 12 metres/second, it was 13.9 decibels (dB Laeq) when the wind speed was only 3 meters/second.

I think that this is very important to bear in mind for the welfare of the free range hens. The reason why it is important is because a wind turbine does not work at very low wind speeds (usually <3m/s). Imagine therefore on a calm night when the hens are sleeping in their house, which may have an inherently quiet ventilation system (natural ventilation), the background noise both externally and within the house is likely to be low. The wind turbine would not be working at these times. Assume that the turbine then starts to work because the wind speed has increased to above about 3m/second. Suddenly the total noise externally could jump by about the 13.9 decibels (dB Laeq) that are shown in the tests. Within the free range house, the total noise would increase too, probably by a lesser amount, but because natural ventilation that is used in many free range houses is silent, the sudden increase in noise could be intrusive. It is very well known indeed that sudden noises can cause panic to free range hens and that not only could they be stressed but also they could die from smothering in a pile up of hens. Whilst hens can become habituated to noise, it is less certain that they would not be disturbed by the variability in noise levels that could occur if the turbine was close to the free range house. Therefore, I suspect that in some instances, the potentially stressing effects of noise can not be ignored. SUMMARY
It is likely that the erection of a tall wind turbine within the lines of sight and in close proximity to free range hens could detrimentally affect a free range egg enterprise. The health and welfare of the hens and the financial viability of the business could be put at risk.

The basic reason for this is that the hens could perceive the turbine as a stressor. There is ample evidence within the free range egg industry that stress is one of the most common causes of failure. Until there is evidence to show that hens can indeed co-exist in close proximity to a large wind turbine, it would, in my view, be unwise to take the risk. So there you are! Are you going to prove me wrong?

Article courtesy of Farming

Do wind turbines harm animals?

May 10, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – With an increasing number of industrial-scale wind turbines around the world, numerous reports are surfacing to suggest that noise, infrasound and stray voltage (dirty energy) may be harmful to livestock and wildlife.

While evidence is largely anecdotal, incidences of mass die-offs of farm animals, chickens laying soft-shelled eggs, high animal miscarriage rates and disappearance of wildlife near turbines provide pause for reflection. These and other incidents suggest a need for scientific study to determine safety before additional wind energy facilities are erected across the U.S., including several proposed in San Diego’s East County.

Although wind turbines have been growing in popularity as an energy alternative in the 21 st century, there has been little to no testing done on the effects that these towering turbines could have on animals or for that matter, humans in the vicinity. We require testing of chemicals to assure safety before they may be used in the environment. Why is similarly rigorous testing not required to date for wind turbines?

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“One-third of the dairy herd died since the turbines began operation” (Wisconsin)

cowsSeptember 2, 2011 – What if siting massive 50-story industrial wind turbines close to peoples’ homes harms them, kills animals and disrupts lives?

All of this has happened to several families in southern Brown County, Wisconsin.

One couple tried to live with the six 50-story turbines west of their property, but she [the wife] had migraine headaches after the turbines went online in December 2010. They could not adjust to the low frequency noise emitted by the giant machines. My husband and I were invited to visit their home in April after they left to stay with their daughter. We all wondered if the swallows would return in May to their mud nests in the barn. They did not.

Recently, I learned of another farm family in the shadow of wind turbines who were having similar health problems. Their three children are now living with their grandparents, where their headaches have subsided. One-third of this farmer’s dairy herd have died since the turbines began operation. An autopsy of a calf showed no infectious cause for its death.

What now? For the past 20 months, I and my neighbors have written letters, paid for billboards and testified at hearings appealing to our representatives and State Board of Health for a moratorium until epidemiological studies can be done in Wisconsin wind projects to find the answers needed to help these families and others like them.

We are all still waiting.

Courtesy of Sandra Johnson, Greenleaf, Wisconsin, in