Fracking has come under intense scrutiny in recent years for a long list of environmental and human health concerns, but studies show that pets and livestock can be more susceptible to the physical ravages of living in close proximity to Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) projects, of which there are over a million currently operating in the US.
Fracking is a process that utilizes massive amounts of chemical-laced water injected deep into rock formations to force out embedded gas and oil. It has the associated risks of wastewater leakage, and ground water contamination.
Toxic runoff from fracking can permeate the air and be carried for miles, while ground contamination can eventually reach residential drinking water-sources similar to what happened in Wise County, Texas to the Parr family.
The Parr’s recently won a $3 million suit against Aruba Petroleum, which operated more than a dozen fracking projects within the proximity of 1-2 miles from the family’s 40-acre ranch.
Bob and Lisa Parr along with their young daughter, Emma, began having health problems including nosebleeds, rashes, nausea and headaches that forced them from their home, resulting in the 2011 lawsuit.
Their family pets and livestock were also sickened.
A peer-reviewed report released in 2012, “New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health” from the Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine was based on 24 case studies linking suspicion of fracking chemicals to animal illnesses from air, soil and water contamination.
Elizabeth Royte, wrote in Food & Environment Reporting Network about the author’s findings.
“Farmers in six shale-gas states whose livestock experienced neurological, reproductive and acute gastrointestinal problems after being exposed — either accidentally or incidentally — to fracking chemicals in the water or air. The article describes how scores of animals died over the course of several years. Fracking industry proponents challenged the study, since the authors neither identified the farmers nor ran controlled experiments to determine how specific fracking compounds might affect livestock.”
Dogs, cats, goats, horses, cows and other domesticated animals are considered by most people to be part of their extended family. Prolonged illnesses and deaths by those members are just as excruciating to the family as suffering experienced by people themselves.
Amelia Urry noted in Monday’s Grist edition that pets likely occupy the home-grounds for longer periods of time than people who leave for jobs, school or errands.
Therefore, animals are more likely to endure prolonged exposure to fracking fumes like hydrogen sulfide.
Animals are smaller with less body mass than people, so tiny amounts of contamination can cause big health problems.
Urry’s succinct conclusion to the risks of pet and livestock exposure to fracking:
“So, to sum up, if your pets perform any of the following activities in a shale-rich region, they could be in trouble: breathe air, drink water, enjoy being alive.”