One of the first scientific studies on the subject has been authored by Professor Robert Oswald, an expert on molecular medicine at Cornell University. The study complied a list of 24 incidents across six US states where livestock on farms adjacent to drilling sites died or suffered illness, including reproductive and neurological problems, following exposure to fracking chemicals.
Among the case studies uncovered were seventeen cows that died of suspected respiratory failure after exposure to spilled frack fluid in Louisiana, and around seventy cows in Pennsylvania that died after 140 animals were reportedly exposed to frack wastewater – of the surviving cows, less than a dozen produced calves, and only three survived. Another Pennsylvania herd recorded a 50% stillbirth rate after cows had grazed in fields contaminated by fracking chemicals spilling from a waste pit; the following year saw an abnormally skewed sex ratio, with ten female and two male calf births, as opposed to the typical 50:50 ratio.
The study concludes that fracking for gas and oil in the British countryside poses such a significant risk to livestock that a moratorium should be imposed on the industry until its impact on food safety can be assessed.
A more detailed summary of the study can be read here:
Other recent cases have included:
Cows exposed to fracking wastewater following a pit leak into their pasture have 70% stillbirth rate:
A goat and chicken farm in Fort Worth, Texas suffered a number of livestock deaths by asphyxiation, following the commencement of drilling operations near the farm. Air testing revealed toxic compounds in the air at 250-300 times the normal level of ambient air.
Farmland in North Dakota has been left infertile following a wastewater spill:
A poisoned water extraction well in Jackson County, West Virginia led to the deaths of livestock which drank the water, including chickens, goats and rabbits.
In Colorado, produced water discharge into the Cucharas River caused high sodium levels in farmland, dramatically decreasing crop yields and causing abnormally high birth and death rates in livestock.