Are Wind Turbines Killing Innocent Goats?

By Boonsri Dickinson | May 21, 2009 5:41 pm

windfarm.jpgDespite their energy-saving efforts, wind farms have a bad rap for killing birds. And now there may be a bigger problem: The noise from turbines could be killing livestock as well—or, at least, playing a part in their deaths.

According to one Taiwanese farmer, Kuo Jin-shan, the turbines erected near his farm on an island in the Taiwan Strait have been keeping his goats awake at night. Now that 400 of Huo’s goats have died, he is blaming their deaths on the loud noise coming from the wind farms.

After eight turbines were installed on the Penghu archipelago four years ago, the farmer began to notice some marked changes in his goats—they weren’t as hungry, they were losing weight, and many had started to die.

It seems outlandish to suggest that hundreds of goats dropped dead from sleep deprivation, but local livestock inspector Lu Ming-Tseng has backed up the farmer’s claim. Apparently, unusual sounds can affect an animal’s appetite, disturb how it grows, and make it lose shut-eye, all of which cause serious disruption to the animal’s health.

Still, while it’s possible the lack of sleep could have played some part in their demise, the verdict for the cause of death still hasn’t been settled. Perhaps the goats caught goat plague or fell ill to one of the many other goat diseases.

If all other causes of death are in fact ruled out, then Taipower has agreed to help pay for the farmer to move his flock to a quieter place. With only 250 goats left, he’d better relocated his livestock soon—the poor things need some sleep.

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Image: flickr/ rg250871

  • http://www.swmm2000.com red

    You might say that the Wind Turbines got his goat(s).

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/SkeptikSnarf SkeptikSnarf

    ive been to a number of wind farms cause i work on them. the noise of a single turbine is nothing compared to the noise of highway traffic. even the noise of the wind blowing by your head is noisier then a wind turbine at full power, and standing under it

  • Joeblow

    Maybe Skeptik’s hearing has been damaged after working around wind turbines, so he can’t hear them anymore. I remember the rich people of Martha’s Vineyard, MA blocking a wind turbine operation because it would be ugly and noisy.

  • klb8s

    Are there some guilty goats out there? Why are only the innocent ones dying?

  • Markk

    I agree with SkepticSnarf. Modern utility sized turbines are almost inaudible unless you are right by them. I walked right up to the dorr at the base of a 1.6MW unit this weekend in 20mph (30kph) wind and the wind was much louder than the turbine. when right underneath it sounded like small waves hitting a beach. Now older smaller turbines did have much more issues with noise.

    That is not to say flashing lights or something on the turbines could mess things up, but for an entire herd of goats? Sounds suspicious. I hate to say it but how is the herders financial situation…

  • NewEnglandBob

    I got wind that the goats are organizing into a Goat Liberation Army Brigade (GLAB) and intend to attack and kick over the turbines at night.

  • Clive Dove

    Has anyone considered that the noise affecting the goats may be subsonic? Have any studies been made as to what range of sound the turbines may be emotting (subsonic through to supersonic ranges)?

    There are pest control devices on the market that repel animals by emitting subsonic waves (i.e. sound below the human audible range). Humans cannot hear the sound but animals react to it.

  • Al Gibson

    Give me a break concerning birds and wind turbines. Whoever wrote this post hasn’t done a bit of research into wind turbines and birds. None. Why don’t you look up the study in the Netherlands from a few years ago? Stop misleading the public with lazy journalism.

  • http://drvitelli.typepad.com Romeo Vitelli

    I thought bats were supposed to be the big casualties of wind turbines because of their sensitivity to sound.

    http://www.fort.usgs.gov/BatsWindmills/

  • bongwater

    Goats! how ’bout alittle fact checking before getting published in a scientific publication? “according to one Taiwanese farmer”..Gimme a break.

    Look up ‘goat licks electric fence’ on youtube.

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  • Chuck B

    Clive Dove may be on to something. I’ve noticed that if I play music with a lot of bass, such as a Bach organ fugue or a Mahler symphony, my cat will leave the room, but mid-range music, such as a Glass or Riley Minimalist composition doesn’t bother her at all.

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  • sonya

    Morons the noise is not audible by humans of course it sounds quiet

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