Is There an Equine Version of Wind Turbine Syndrome?

While not much gets past WUWT, this story from Portugal has only recently gotten some press, well after its posting in March, and I think it warrants attention here.  While I don’t know much about horses, I’ve known several people who do, so I do know that just because a horse will let you ride it, it may look for a low hanging branch to walk under to scrape you off.

Not surprisingly, I had never heard of “Acquired flexural deformity of the distal interphalangeal joint,” but I came across a web page, Can Wind Turbines Cause Developmental Deformities In Horses? about a stud farm where horses developed downward pointing front hooves after several wind turbines were built nearby.

If I were a horse, I would not want my feet to look like the one on the right:

Image

Left foot is normal, right foot has an acquired (post birth) flexural deformity.

No other changes in rearing the Lusitano horses (a famous Portuguese horse breed that I never heard of) were known.  In the ensuing investigation, “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.”

The stud farm was studied as part of a masters thesis by Teresa Margarida Pereira Costa e Curto and it surmised:

Cellular Mechanotransduction 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.

That sounds reasonable to me, I know that stressing human bones increases their calcium uptake, and I wouldn’t be surprised that something like that could affect feet in other animals.

The wind turbines are obvious prime suspect, they were built nearby:

Turbine proximity to farm

So, WUWT readers who actually know something about horses, have you heard of this case or similar cases at other farms with new wind turbines? Or, if you live near wind farms that are near farms with horses, cattle, etc, have they had problems like this?

This is just one study, involving one farm and not very many horses, clearly more research is warranted.  If it’s confirmed, it would be interesting to know if other animals are susceptible to a similar problem.

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122 thoughts on “Is There an Equine Version of Wind Turbine Syndrome?

  1. If I wasn’t a horse I wouldn’t want my leg to look like either of the pictures.
    But I am sure that this disease has to be caused by global warming, because there is nothing that isn’t caused by global warming.

  2. No way! I don’t know a lot enough about horses, but it is a common enough condition that occurs with or without wind farms in sight.

    At any rate, I’ll bet vibrations originating on the farm will be orders of magnitude higher than anything from a wind turbine. Not that I believe vibrations can have anything to do with it.

  3. My horse is fine… course there are no wind turbines in sight! So that proves those windbeaters are to blame!

  4. Ric writes “That sounds reasonable to me”

    Really? How much ground vibration is there at that distance? It would be an easy one to test anyway.

    [The article includes a graph of ground acceleration and has peaks, if I can make out the numbers, and if the scale is accurate, of 0.04 cm/sec^2. "g" is 980 cm/sec^2, a big ratio of course. However, I have no idea what that feels like.

    Ah, ftp://ftp.ecn.purdue.edu/ayhan/Aditya/Papers/Wald%20Quitoriano%20Heaton%20Kanamori_1999.pdf suggests the threshold for sensing vibrations is 1-2 cm/sec^2, so they're measuring something at least 1/25 to 1/50 of what people can sense. Certainly makes it seem unlikely the cause.]

  5. To noticeably and quantitatively substantially shake the ground over many acres like a continuous earthquake would take capabilities beyond those of anything built by modern industry. For instance, a nuclear bomb briefly disturbs the ground somewhat out to kilometers of radius, but it doesn’t do so continuously. The power requirements would be immense if you trying to do so, fantasy supervillian style.

    I can’t believe wind turbines do so.

    I assume this article is well intentioned, but I must be blunt:

    It unfortunately has the same fallacy of many environmental myths: quantitative, mathematical illiteracy.

    Such is taking a qualitative truth and misapplying it. For instance, that a ball is shaken if it is impacted is true in itself, but someone could not properly conclude that, therefore, if he jumped up and down, he would knock the giant sphere of the planet Earth out of orbit.

    Is it true in itself that bones are affected by stress? Certainly. Grow chickens in a multi-g centrifuge, for instance, and the result is much different from 1g chickens. (In fact, the harm to bones from continuous zero-g exposure for current astronauts is much like the harm in event of months of totally continuous bedrest, probably solvable by the same means of even a fraction of a hour a day walking around in 1g gravity or pseudogravity, though present spacecraft have too low mass budgets, a separate topic).

    But wind turbines don’t change stress on bones in surrounding kilometers to a quantitatively sufficient degree for this article’s implication.

    I’m not a fan of wind turbines in particular. But, if arguing against them, let’s rather use the many valid points which can be made.

  6. I live surrounded by the world’s largest wind farm & lesser infestations thereof, & amidst thousands of horses without having heard of the association of this deformity with the hideous uneconomical bird & bat massacring monstrosities. My sister in law is a large animal vet, so I might have were it a problem.

    • And even the bird & bat masscre is I think being exaggerated. Hit them for what they actually do: they hurt our wallets and support fraud.

  7. Tim Walker says:
    September 26, 2013 at 8:57 pm
    http://www.equipodiatry.com/article_flexural_deformities.htm

    Good link. That shows non-absurd causes. For instance:

    Congenital flexural deformities are present at birth

    Proposed aetiologies [causes] of congenital flexural deformities include malpositioning of the fetus in utero, nutritional mismanagement of the mare during gestation, teratogens in various forages ingested by the mare and maternal exposure to influenza virus, or the deformities could be genetic in origin (Kidd and Barr 2002; Hunt 2011).

    Acquired flexural deformities generally develop when the foal is aged 2-6 months and generally involves the DIPJ initially. The aetiology of this deformity is unknown, but speculated causes include genetic predisposition, improper nutrition (i.e. overfeeding, excessive carbohydrate [energy] intake, unbalanced minerals in the diet) and excessive exercise.”

    “It is the current author’s opinion that a large contributing factor to this syndrome is contraction of the muscular portion of the musculotendinous unit caused by a response to pain, the source of which could be physeal dysplasia or trauma from foals exercising on hard ground. [...]

    Any discomfort or pain in the foot or lower portion of the limb coupled with reduced weightbearing on the affected limb appears to initiate the flexor withdrawal reflex, which seems to cause the flexor muscles proximal to the tendon to contract, leading to an altered position of the DIPJ. This shortening of the musculotendinous unit shifts weightbearing to the dorsal half of the foot causing a decrease in sole depth and bruising of the sole, reduced growth of the dorsal aspect of the hoof wall, and excessive hoof wall growth at the heel to compensate for the shortening of the musculotendinous unit.”

    “A genetic component must also be considered for acquired flexure deformities, as some mares consistently produce foals that develop a flexural deformity in the same limb as the dam or grand dam in which a similar deformity is present. The genetic component of the flexural deformity may be the ultimate determinant of the severity of the deformity.”

  8. “a horse will let you ride it, it may look for a low hanging branch to walk under to scrape you off.”

    And I don’t blame it.

  9. Lets see, one study…gee, add a computer model and you’ve got the basis for an entire consensus proven theory!

    It will be ignored even if true. It is demonstrably true wind farms kill bats and birds by the thousands, including endangered raptors, but the greenies ignore that while obsessing over six or seven birds killed accidentally at a refinery when they got thru the netting and into an oil pond. Gotta have your priorities straight you know.

  10. Dear Ric,

    Your heart was in the right place and it took your mind in the right direction (which is why the hardened hearts at IPCC end up in such ludicrous positions). I think, however, that the trail petered out into implausibility, once we all went down it a ways. I did a little bit of research on Bing and I think a more likely explanation for the “injury” might be found in the area of tourism. If that horse rancher uses the horses for tourists to ride on trails which have been ruined by the hideous sight and sound of windmills, that rancher might want to find a way to get rid of the windmills.

    Sigh. I wish, in a way, that the horse injury story was true, then we might get rid of blight and an investment scam at the same time. What’s a few thousand dead birds and bats, but, a HORSE… . Nope, it wouldn’t work. Not dead. They can move. It is the rancher who would suffer (move or get rid of my horses). And he or she is just a person. What are people? Per David Suzuki and his ilk, they are just “maggots.”

    Sad, isn’t it? The daily slaughter of birds and bats should be enough for the so-called environmentalists who are so enamored of windmills (because it feels good to them) to call for their perpetually economically inefficient operation to be STOPPED. Such kindhearted, caring, people — NOT.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Ric. It was worth a try.

    With gratitude for all the fine posting you do on WUWT (and for your Guide),

    Janice

  11. There’s so much bogus weirdness blamed on “global warming” that it’s kinda nice to see some of the bogus weirdness blamed on the “green energy” people for a change.

  12. Would it have to be vibration of the ground? Why not of air? Could stress cause such a problem? Those windmills put out sound that greatly disturbs people living nearby, and upsets livestock too. It might be easy to dismiss such the possibility raised in this article by assuming the vibration has to be ground vibration and “impossible”, but let’s not be so quick to rule the turbines out.

    If the horses written about didn’t suffer such problem until after the turbines went up, then there might be something to the theory, no matter how much people don’t want there to be.

    Aerial photos of other horse farms with similar problems would be useful here. It would also be interesting to see the aerial photos of those who claim to live near wind farms with horses that don’t suffer from such problems, to see just how close they actually are.

    I could claim to live near a wind farm, for instance, but in actual fact it’s some miles down the road.

    If I was living in a paddock and something new and strange loomed up on the hills making strange noises day and night, and I didn’t know what it was, I might end up a nervous wreck, too.

  13. Sorry, mods, I don’t know what I said… (“in mo-d-eration” at 9:37pm).

    P.S. Ric, if that rancher is intentionally injuring his or her horses to try to get rid of the windmills, then, that rancher should have all his or her horses immediately confiscated and never allowed to own a horse again! Just had to say this so you would know, given what I wrote at 9:37pm, that I would not approve of such a terrible thing, even if it DID get rid of all the windmills.

  14. I thought this was going to be something to do with replacing wind-powered subsidy harvesters with horse-powered windlasses.
    Leads me to a completely OT question: There’s an old mining engineering textbook, written by a Scotsman (why are we not surprised) maybe 200 years ago? Can’t remember the author’s name, but it was revised and reprinted numerous times. I know an opal prospector who has a copy that could be 100 years old. (He looks a little younger, but not much.) Loads of notes in the margins, but otherwise carefully preserved. The guy still uses it, just converts the “horse” bit to some other motive power such as a diesel stationary engine or electric winch. Claims it provides solutions to problems that are “too difficult” today.

  15. Horses are wild animals, and the smaller ones like Shetland ponies are the least tractable. Racehorses are notoriously scatty, and nobody who works with them for long avoids getting kicked or bitten.

    OTOH, very large, heavy breeds can have stable and intelligent temperaments. The novel “My Friends, the Miss Boyds”, by Jane Duncan, about growing up in a community that relied on horses, is instructive. Set in Scotland in the early part of the C20th, the importance of having good horses is unmistakeable. And, that included treating them as individuals, because they were not like the cows that obediently turned up for milking every night.

    It’s interesting – dogs just couldn’t wait to be domesticated, but horses only hang around humans because they have to.

  16. Google time!

    Live document:

    http://tobacco.health.usyd.edu.au/assets/pdfs/publications/WindfarmDiseases.pdf

    Symptoms, Diseases and Aberrant Behaviours Attributed to
    Wind Turbine Exposure

    Last updated: March 13 2013
    Total: 216
    Simon Chapman PhD FASSA
    Professor of Public Health
    School of Public Health
    University of Sydney

    Birth defects of cattle, chickens, behavioral problems, etc.

    And many human problems too.
    TL,DR.

    [Thanks, I sent Dr. Chapman a note. -Ric]

  17. I hope not , have you ever been downwind from a equine wind turbine on a hot day? I love them but there is a time and place.

  18. Ric writes “so they’re measuring something at least 1/25 to 1/50 of what people can sense. Certainly makes it seem unlikely the cause.”

    I would think a paddock next to a reasonably busy road with heavy trucks would produce larger peaks albeit much less regularly. I suspect they could be barking up the wrong pole.

  19. I can think of a few reasons why this cannot be:
    1. Horses POUND on their hooves just trotting around. This has to be thousands of times stronger vibration than turbines produce, just living their normal lives.
    2. Our horses were often driven around in horse trailers, sometimes for hours. There is huge vibration then. No problems.
    Do I really need to remind you that correlation does not imply causation?
    This really feels like quackery. I know y’all don’t like turbines, but I really feel sick to my stomach seeing something this poor on wattsupwiththat. Do you really want people to laugh at you?

  20. TimTheToolMan;
    I would think a paddock next to a reasonably busy road with heavy truck
    >>>>>>>>>>

    Or a railway line. Or a cargo shipyard. Or a strip mining operation. Or a large waterfall. Lotsa stuff induces vibrations into the ground, one would think that there would be deformed horses all over the planet if such a report were true.

  21. Stop thinking only ground vibration, people, there’s more to wind turbines than that and plenty of health/stress problems associated with them. I thought the whole point of any scientific investigation is to look at all aspects and not dismiss something out of hand based on one aspect alone.

    It’s great that ground vibration can be thrown out, or seems unlikely. It’s a fair point. What about the rest of it? Putting blinkers on and dismissing a claim as preposterous without even bothering to consider it is what the other side does. Can we at least have a scientific open mind?

  22. Dunno. Plausible from a long distance if you squint just right. But for now I’m calling this one a Texas Sharpshooter.

  23. I have to add and it may (will) be very politically incorrect and revolting for some people, but not too long ago when the economy was flying high in many countries owning horses was a status symbol. When those economy cratered, horses became a liability for, not only the owners, but for all of those countries economies (the farmers, for hay lost, stable crews lost jobs, veterinarians, transport companies, race tracks the dominoes just kept on falling). The owners fled their responsibilities and in many cases left the horses.
    There are some gruesome stories associated with this and may have led to some of the “tainted meat” scandals in the past few years.
    And I know I am going to offend A LOT of people here but after WWII ( not the only situation), when all food was scarce, just about “anything ” to survive was done. My parents and many others used horse flesh to survive and I am sure in some areas many still do.
    And tell me why not??
    Are these people just looking for a way out of a serious personal economic problem and using excuses? Or do we need to change a way of thinking?
    REMEMBER we eat::
    Steer, cow, veal,, sheep, lamb, deer, moose, caribou, reindeer, bear, grouse, elk, fish, shark fins,( just one piece of an animal and the rest thrown out as happens with other species), urchin, oysters, clams, whales, dolphins, chickens, turkeys, pigs and piglets , birds, squirrels, beavers and in some areas, monkeys, elephants, giraffes, dogs, cats, mice, rats etc. etc.are all consumed by humans .( I forgot worms, grubs caterpillars, spiders etc, etc.) If the horse population for what ever reason becomes an issue we need to look at options.
    I truly apologize to anyone upset by my comments.
    But just looking at some of the totally illogical thinking on this planet at times, it kind of just came stumbling out, Tobias Smit.

  24. Study group of four. Three got better except for the one that died.
    Apply a little selection bias and eliminate the ‘outlier’ as ‘unsuitable for the study’ and we have 100% of the study subjects showed signs of recovery when they were removed from the area affected by wind turbines.

    Control group size = errm, zero.

    Ric this is HORSE SHIT.

    If you can not smell that a mile away may I recommend a nasal decongestant.

    Please send Dr. Chapman a note about that too.

    [One of the reasons I posted this was to give it a good airing. Besides, Anthony has posted worse recently. I suspect many commenters haven't bothered to follow the link to the full story, you included. That refers to eleven horses, unfortunately it doesn't mention the total number, presumably the full paper does, but it's in Portuguese.

    Another reason to post this was to see if the WUWT community knows of similar situations elsewhere. If there are, that would be interesting. So far, just a useful negative suggestion from milodonharlani.

    While there certainly needs to be a control group, but for a preliminary study, I deemed it interesting enough to post here.

    Suppose you owned a small horse farm and several horses started developing deformities. Presumably you'd talk to your vet, let's say he could find a reason worth recording. Then what would you do? Commission a study with dozens of farms with and without wind farms, cart horses between farms and look for impacts to extremities and internal organs? Experiment with different feeds in case the feed companies hadn't done adequate development work on that? In this case, it appears the farm's owners asked the local Ag school to take a look and see if they could identify the problem. -Ric]

    [Oh yeah, I suggest you not take a look at Chapman's site. :-)]

  25. Those wind turbines are very far away from the stables to be able to produce a vibration which could hurt a horse foot. Besides, it is a not really a relevant story for this site.

  26. It must be obvious to anyone with any objectivity that the cause of this affliction in portugese horses is the dramatic increase in atmospheric CO2.

    How blind can you all be?

  27. I find it hard to believe like most of you that the turbines could be causing this. But that being said a Lusitano is a huge horse, often 6′ at the shoulder when full grown.(Think the horse from The Black Stallion, that was a Lusitano) These were foals, which means they were under a year in age. Big horses like the Lusitano ,especially purebreds do not fully develop their bones, muscles and tendons, etc. until they are about 3 years old. These are very expensive horses, the stud farm owner is not going to willingly do anything that will damage their legs. Nor is he worried about getting $20 an hour to take tourists on a horseback ride. These horses do Dressage and Grand Prix jumping, not trail rides.

    It is really odd that they would have 4 foals all at the same time develop this infirmity.

  28. tobias says (September 26, 2013 at 11:06 pm): “REMEMBER we eat::
    Steer, cow, veal, sheep, lamb, deer, moose … caterpillars, spiders etc, etc.)”

    Not to mention rabbit:

  29. Things that are wrong with wind turbines.

    1) They are uneconomic
    2) Variable in their power production.

    Fantasises about wind turbines.
    1) They are major Bird and bat choppers, as a cause of bird and bat mortality they come way down the list. If you really worry about birds try campaigning about cars and cats, Hunters and a host of other things before you get to wind turbines.
    2) They are damaging to horses hooves, yeah right. Constant vibration? I thought they were not working most of the time.
    3) They are dangerous for Father Christmas on his rounds, well, that’s as likely.Hopefully you get my drift.

    I know many people hate wind turbines, but be reasonable in your rationales otherwise you end up as a laughing stock when you site horses hooves and bird choppers.

  30. Wow, amazing. It’s been discussed here before, in comments etc, how animals are “alerted” before earthquakes. Low frequency waves transmitted through the ground are suspected.

    It’s also been learned how animals like elephants communicate with low frequency sound, which travels farther than high frequency, at frequencies below human hearing.

    http://swa.com/members/publications/garstang%20jcp.pdf

    Yet the possibility of the turbines generating low-frequency sounds, that can be transmitted through air and/or ground, that the animals are sensing and it’s causing them health problems, with many of them often attributed to stress when humans get them,

    Is casually dismissed out-of-hand, can’t possibly be true.

    Is what’s really going on, is certain individuals prefer to ignore this possibly Inconvenient Truth?

  31. “Is there an equine version of wind turbine syndrome?” There is indeed; both ideas are made up and not supported by any real research.

  32. Seeing there is general agreement that the horse hoof / wind turbine study is complete tosh, I thought it may be useful to also put the bird chopper idea into perspective with some mortality figures. It may upset the alarmists, but it’s useful info.

    Bird and bat mortality from man-made structure/technology

    Associated bird deaths per year (U.S.)

    1) Feral and domestic cats, Hundreds of millions

    2) Power lines 130 million — 174 million

    3) Windows (residential and commercial) 100 million — 1 billion

    4) Pesticides 70 million

    5) Automobiles 60 million — 80 million

    6) Lighted communication towers 40 million — 50 million

    7) Wind turbines 10,000 — 40,000

  33. It may not be the ground which is shaken, but the horse. Has much smaller mass with large cavities in its body, therefore a good receiver of low frequency aerial vibrations. Even then, if there is a connection, I would suspect the vestibular system to be affected, not the entire body. If anything is wrong with the sense of balance, that can bring about persistent behavioral changes, which in their turn may be responsible for developing bone deformities.

    Anyway, wind turbines are unbelievably noisy at frequencies below 0.1 Hz. These vibrations are inaudible, nonetheless have a huge effect on the workings of the inner ear, including the vestibular system. Low frequency vibrations can also travel large distances unattenuated in the atmosphere, circumvent obstacles and penetrate buildings freely.

    The biggest problem is we do not have regulations whatsoever for low frequencies. Standard noise control equipment is not even suitable to measure them (low frequency infrasound is not picked up by microphones), one needs a microbarometer to do that, which authorities do not have.

    We clearly need regulations on industrial environmental infrasound emissions along the entire frequency range, extending well below the threshold of hearing, down to 0.01 Hz, which is not even considered “sound” by some. There is a wealth of literature on the detrimental effect of high infrasound levels on the cochlea and the vestibular system, but they are regularly dismissed by wind farm companies on the basis that these emissions are not against the law. Which is, unfortunately, true.

  34. Cows would have the same symptoms and I never heard anything like this around here. And believe me, there are a lot of cows and a lot of windmills overhere. But, time will tell.

  35. I’d say this was highly suspicious as a confirmed link, certainly from the ‘evidence’ presented! However, it must be said that turbines do produce both noise and vibration, possibly even very low frequency rumbles and ultrasonic type vibes (think of the air vortices at the tips of fast moving blades)?
    I would doubt these can have a direct physical effect on animals, but if anyone has been and sat next to a turbine for a while, the thwop thwop thwop can be somewhat disturbing. Without trying to be too dismissive or ultraserious, if I were a standing hooved animal getting disturbed by this type of thing, I might be lifting or pawing my feet more than usual? (Think of the equivalent of white finger syndrome in humans).

    [Ultrasonic sounds are likely way down on the list, as they dissipate fairly quickly, even in the distance suggested in the aerial photo. I was a little surprised that they seemed to lean toward ground vibrations, since that's one possibility for what four footed animals may sense for earthquake precursors, what the heck. At least it was a change of pace from the common references to infrasonic sound. -Ric]

  36. I’m not quite sure why people are so quick to pull a warmist on this and deride it without consideration. For the record, my gut feeling is that it’s extremely unlikely that the turbines have anything to do with this, especially given the many more plausible possibilities.

    Not least, the fact that there’s a previously suspected genetic component and this is a stud farm, which is in the business of manipulating genetic traits – including, at times, the unwitting “selection” of undesirable ones.

    However, most of the arguments put forward above as “proof” that the story is horse manure are no better than the warmist claim that “natural variation can’t explain the warming”. Just because one aspect (ground vibration) appears to be too weak to have an effect doesn’t mean that other aspects can’t be involved.

    Even the apparently weak ground vibrations could turn out to have an effect far out of proportion to their magnitude – you can go to the gym and repeatedly hit a punch-bag without damaging your wrists, or you can type gently at a PC keyboard and develop RSI.

    I say again so there’s no misunderstanding, I suspect that the bat-killers aren’t to blame here, but if we want to champion open-minded science then we should champion all open minded scientific enquiry, including that which we suspect is flawed or which challenges our preconceptions.

    That doesn’t mean we need to spend much time on it, but we should respect those who choose to (the authors of this study, for example) and we should be willing to consider their results impartially and see if they’re borne out by further investigation.

  37. From just a few days ago, 9/22/2013, from Forbes by James Conca, Contributor (bold beyond title added):

    Wind Energy Gets Away With Murder

    I guess it’s the hypocrisy that galls. Under both the Bald and Gold Eagle Protection Acts and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the death of a single eagle is a felony, and the Administration has prosecuted oil companies when birds drown in their oily facilities, and fined utilities when birds are electrocuted by their power lines.

    According to an estimate published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin in March almost 600,000 birds are killed by wind farms in America each year, including over 80,000 raptors such as hawks and falcons and eagles (Wildlife Society). Even more bats die as their lungs are inverted by the negative pressures generated behind the 170 mile-per-hour spinning blades.

    On the other hand, the White House is considering giving wind generators permission to kill a set number of eagles for the next 30 years, at the urging of wind-energy lobbyists. Unfortunately for eagles, such permission is not subject to an environmental review because it is only an administrative change.

    The Interior Department repeatedly overrules its experts at the Fish and Wildlife Service on the wind issue. The wind industry actually became part of the committee that drafted and edited the guidelines and pretty much got everything it wanted, including stripping law-enforcement agents in the field from having the authority to file charges with federal attorneys.

    Wow! Just like Big Oil. I guess Wind has really arrived.

    Gareth Phillips, that Wildlife Society Bulletin mentioned is linked at the organization’s name. Please review so you can report more accurate numbers next time. ;-)

  38. Gareth Phillips says:
    Seeing there is general agreement that the horse hoof / wind turbine study is complete tosh, I thought it may be useful to also put the bird chopper idea into perspective with some mortality figures. It may upset the alarmists, but it’s useful info.

    ===

    Thank you Gareth. So to all those who have suddenly and conveniently become bird preservation advocates and unbearably concerned with the longevity of bats:

    please cover all your windows with sticky tape and stop driving , or shut the hell up about “bird-choppers”.

  39. Would one horse suffering from the same simptoms and not raised in the presence of wind generators falsify the theory?

    When one of my apprentices was confronted with the AGW theory, his first question was: Has it ever been this warm before?

    When it is not a pure lab situation, the right question can save a lot of money :)

  40. negrum — “Would one horse suffering from the same simptoms and not raised in the presence of wind generators falsify the theory?”

    In fairness to the authors, or not, this is a grant funding request more than a study. They found a plausible, to them, mechanism for causality and a statistical whoopsie. They have done no more than note this and state that future work would be needed to put it one way or the other. But it is a statistical model. Given known rates of the condition in question, it’s a matter now of collecting enough samples near turbines to see if there’s any statistically significant difference. Establishing causality through lab replication of the conditions is also possible, natch. Just not the typical approach for such things.

    Way too much epistemic ignorance at this point for anything more than a “Huh, weird.” No harm in chasing it if you have the money. No harm in waiting for someone else to chase it.

  41. From CFACT, March 18, 2013 by Jim Wiegand:

    Wind turbines kill up to 39 million birds a year!
    Big Wind hides evidence of turbine bird kills – and gets rewarded. Here’s how they do it.

    Whoa. They really did rig the game in their favor, to keep the “wind power” sympathizers and sycophants in the dark, or to at least shield them with plausible deniability.

    If these people are willing to slaughter millions of critters every year and cover it up, all for the sake of money, how could we ever trust them to not get rid of a few inconvenient humans and cover it up?

  42. I’m no expert, but have been present some yrs ago when a vet examined a 10wo foal that had developed this condition. It can be caused by stress, or rather certain behaviors associated with stress (stamping, pacing back n forth in a confined area etc.) It can be ca\used by a dietary deficiency during a period of increased growth, or excessive exercise on hard ground during similar growth phases.
    The satellite picture indicates thin topsoil over limestone or sandy subsoil/substrate, I would be inclined to check rainfall statistics for the area to rule out ground hardness as a prime suspect too.

  43. CAN YOU HELP: In our locality there is a plan to build some turbines near a stud (200m away) where highly strung race horses are bred and broken in. The owners of the stud are looking for evidence of how horses will be disturbed by the presence of these moving vibrating structures. Can anyone help?

    My understanding is that horses temperaments are very variable, some horses can be placid, others are very highly strung and easily spooked. Generally children’s ponies are bred to be placid, but Arabian bloodlines are much more temperamental and less predictable

    The owner of the stud break in the young horses which is a very dangerous job, so they need somewhere quiet to do this work. Any links are very useful

  44. Greg whines:
    September 27, 2013 at 1:19 am
    Gareth Phillips says:
    Seeing there is general agreement that the horse hoof / wind turbine study is complete tosh, I thought it may be useful to also put the bird chopper idea into perspective with some mortality figures. It may upset the alarmists, but it’s useful info.

    ===

    Thank you Gareth. So to all those who have suddenly and conveniently become bird preservation advocates and unbearably concerned with the longevity of bats:

    please cover all your windows with sticky tape and stop driving , or shut the hell up about “bird-choppers”.

    Gareth responds.
    Unlike yourself Greg I have been a member of the RSPB for many years and try and check out the evidence before I shoot my mouth off. Windows are a problem, but you don’t hear me continually whining about windows and how they should be banned due to Bird deaths. My point is to keep things in perspective, you can’t moan about bird deaths from wind turbines while ignoring other much more serious causes. Otherwise the word ‘hypocrisy’ springs to mind. If you don’t like wind turbines state valid reasons, don’t fantasise.

  45. Kadaka Qoutes
    According to an estimate published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin in March almost 600,000 birds are killed by wind farms in America each year, including over 80,000 raptors such as hawks and falcons and eagles (Wildlife Society). Even more bats die as their lungs are inverted by the negative pressures generated behind the 170 mile-per-hour spinning blades.

    Gareth responds
    I’m prepared to accept those figures, seems reasonable. But my point is, how does that compare with other causes of bird mortality? Using bird deaths as a reason to stop wind turbines just does not add up unless you also say something about the other much greater causes of bird and bat mortality.

  46. This is a well known problem. Especially in white horses, especially in those with small populations, such as Lusitanos, where the gene pool is now inadequate to maintain maximum strength without outcrossing.

    Contrast, my horse’s stud farm regularly introduce ‘new blood’ as most of the horses end up being related otherwise, with the ensuing duplication of genetic material. OK if the genes are good and adequate checks are done. A potential disaster if allowed to run amok.

    Contracted tendons is part of ‘white foal syndrome’. It is hushed up by breeders for fear that no-one will buy their horses. It is genetic and serious.

  47. The M.A. thesis was presaged in a conference paper by Professor Mariana Alves-Pereira et al. several years ago, and summarized as follows.
    ……..Between 2000 and 2006, 13 healthy thoroughbred Lusitanian horses were born and raised on Mr. R’s property. All horses (N=4) born or raised after 2007 developed asymmetric flexural limb deformities. WT began operations in November 2006. No other changes (constructions, industries, etc) were introduced into the area during this time.

    Tissue analyses of the defected tendons were performed and revealed the classical features of LFN-induced biological responses: thickening of blood vessel walls due to proliferation of collagen in the absence of an inflammatory process…….

    http://www.windturbinesyndrome.com/2013/horses-get-wind-turbine-syndrome-portugal/

    14th International Meeting on Low Frequency Noise and Vibration and its Control, Aalborg. 9 – 11 June 2010
    Journal of Low Frequency Noise, Vibration and Active Control

    http://multi-science.metapress.com/content/36t6161651053v7t/

  48. Where’s the WWF, where are the concerned environmentalists? Why aren’t they calling for a ban? It’s all for the grandchildren.

  49. I’m with most people here. Yes wind farms are a total fraud, kill birds and bats and make life unbearable for people who are forced to live near them. But they don’t cause deformed horses to be born.

    And anyone who uses that argument will damage the real arguments against them.

  50. I see that many of the people posting comments on the site are rubbishing the idea but I would suggest we just don’t know what the effect of infra-sound would have on a developing foetus, we know it causes vibrations in the body. Does this effect the development of the foetus? If so I’m sure no one has done any work on it, and what effect could it have on human or animal foetus.

  51. Gareth Phillips says:
    September 27, 2013 at 2:01 am
    “I have been a member of the RSPB for many years and try and check out the evidence before I shoot my mouth off. ”

    I wonder if the RSPB have issued a correction to the emphatic statement they made to the BBC’s QI (and which was duly read out in stentorian tones by Stephen Fry) that NO birds at all are killed by wind turbines. This statement was made some time ago but was well after considerable evidence had already emerged from Spain, the US and elsewhere so either they were more ignorant than the average blog reader who isn’t particularly interested in birds or lying.
    This edition repeats for all eternity on the Dave channel by the way.

    In unrelated news the RSPB makes a considerable amount of money from locating wind turbines on their land.

  52. “… In those animals, except for one that had to be euthanized for humane reasons, an improvement was observed on their condition…”

    The other horses got the message.

  53. If these are Lusitano horses then the masters student would have a very good idea of blood lines and the emergence of genetic heritable deformity.
    Perhaps the horses were stabled right next to the wind mills and were agitated and moved around a lot while in a rapid growth phase causing deformity to more plastic tendon insertions.
    Horses are usually not floated or given heavy work causing percussive injury until they have matured.So mavin them round a lot while immature plausibly could cause growth injury.
    Vibration of the ground may not be a proximate cause of agitation in horses, although they are reluctant to walk across bridges and stand on docks or enter boats or floats for that matter.
    However if immature it may have some small effect. The amount of energy in the soil would presumably diminish according to the inverse square law and unless the horses were right on the mills they could hardly be affected by this.
    However mills create the equivalent of lots of irregular waving accompanied by low frequency sound which may disturb the horses causing agitation, lack of sleep, and sudden startled movements as horses are wont to do.It could also disturb maternal behaviour and feeding regimes. This with sudden changes in direction when startled could trigger latent disease which otherwise would not express itself if the animals were quieter.
    If anyone has contact with the author it would be appropriate to ask this masters student for comment.

  54. Berényi Péter says:
    September 27, 2013 at 12:00 am

    It may not be the ground which is shaken, but the horse. Has much smaller mass with large cavities in its body, therefore a good receiver of low frequency aerial vibrations. Even then, if there is a connection, I would suspect the vestibular system to be affected, not the entire body. If anything is wrong with the sense of balance, that can bring about persistent behavioral changes, which in their turn may be responsible for developing bone deformities.

    Here’s another possibility: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21929320.600-the-knockout-enigma-how-your-mechanical-brain-works.html?full=true

    Infrasound seems like a reasonable candidate.

  55. It’s funny how the bat hater wind turbine lovers here assure us that there’s no problem at all for bats and even go so far as to list unsourced, probably made up numbers showing us no bats at all are harmed.

    And one of the bat haters has this to say:
    Greg says:
    “Thank you Gareth. So to all those who have suddenly and conveniently become bird preservation advocates and unbearably concerned with the longevity of bats:

    please cover all your windows with sticky tape and stop driving , or shut the hell up about “bird-choppers”.”

    Greg, for your information – I don’t know if you ever saw a bat or had it flying through your bedroom, I have – bats have no problem at all avoiding collisions with windows, as they have echo location.

    Please tell your wind turbine lobbyist boss that he needs to send better informed trolls.

  56. “Unlike yourself Greg I have been a member of the RSPB for many years and try and check out the evidence before I shoot my mouth off. Windows are a problem, but you don’t hear me continually whining about windows and how they should be banned due to Bird deaths. My point is to keep things in perspective, you can’t moan about bird deaths from wind turbines while ignoring other much more serious causes. Otherwise the word ‘hypocrisy’ springs to mind. If you don’t like wind turbines state valid reasons, don’t fantasise.”

    I recently cancelled my RSPB membership after 40 years of continuous membership after hearing they are putting wind turbines up on their nature reserves. It seems to me that this is a one sided political gesture by charity which is supposed to represent the need of birds and bird watchers first.

    I agree cats are bigger killers of birds, but cats do not kill raptors and are kept away from RSPB nature reserves. I did read that in the US they have put turbines on the mountainsides where Condors are being conserved, and they have been a problem.

    I think worrying about the effect of turbines on bird life is valid and should be included as one of the reasons for opposing their construction, especially in areas where their are rare migratory birds flying through, or resident populations of rare raptors.

  57. Friends:

    Windfarms are expensive, polluting, environmentally damaging bird swatters that only generate electricity for some of the time and never generate electricity useful to an electricity grid at any time.

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/courtney_2006_lecture.pdf

    All subsidies for windfarms should be removed, and the owners of land covered by closed windfarms should be required to return that land to its pristine state at their expense.

    The bones of horses are not relevant to any of that.

    Richard

  58. Berényi Péter says:
    September 27, 2013 at 12:00 am

    … I would suspect the vestibular system to be affected, not the entire body. If anything is wrong with the sense of balance, that can bring about persistent behavioral changes, which in their turn may be responsible for developing bone deformities.

    I agree. Animal behavior is affected by quite subtle things. My favorite was a group of cows who were mysteriously off their milk. The cause: a small voltage between the water trough and the floor. The cows had quit drinking as much.

    Research at Cornell University indicates that cows subjected to three or less volts of alternating current between the water bowl and hind feet adapted within two days with no change in water consumption. Beyond 3-4 volts, however, many cows refused to drink. However, field observations indicate that voltage above one-half volt can cause a decrease in water consumption in some animals. Thus, from a practical standpoint, stray voltage in excess of one-half volt could lead to water consumption problems. http://www.greenlandsnutrition.co.uk/article_water_quality.htm

    If you touch the water trough, you can’t feel a shock but it really affects the cows. I wouldn’t discount the possibility that the horses are being affected by the windmills.

  59. I haven’t read all of the comments but many are rubbishing what is suggested, namely that ultrasound vibrations from wind turbines have stimulated excess bone growth in advance of tendon/ligament growth. They are wrong to do so.

    Ultrasound in the 0.5mhz range is used to stimulate bone growth / healing and numerous studies refer to this (try a google search for “ultrasound 0.5mhz effects on bone”.)

    Studies in the UK “Microseismic and infrasound monitoring of low frequency noise and vibration from windfarms” by the Applied and Environmental Geophysics Research Group at Keele University found that the 0.5mhz range not only travelled significant distances through the ground but increased in amplitude with wind speed. They concluded it was related to the wind turbines.

    Consequently it must be concluded that there is a potential for this to encourage excess bone growth in rapidly growing bone tissue which is subjected to 0.5mhz ultrasound stimulation through the ground as was the case with these foals.

    I have kept horse for well over half a century and bred a few over the years. Despite one commentator stating this is common in horses it is not something I have ever come across or heard of as being anything other than exceptionally rare and unusual.

  60. It is notable that the tibio-tarsal joint, the tarsus, tallus and in fact all the bones in the distal limb are enlarged and more robust and radio-opaque. There is clearly a biomechanical response to the altered posture. In the developmentally responsive young foal the tip-toe posture is placing increased mechanical loads on all the bones of the foot and hock, and there is an anabolic response in increased bone. The mechanotransduction – that is – the mechanism by which bone senses and responds to an altered mechanical loading environment by increased bone formation / decreased resorption, is currently attributed to the network of osteocye cells which live in small lacunae (little “caves” inside bone) linked by a dense submicron network of “cannalicula” connecting tubes. These cannaculiculae transmit neur-endocrine and cytokine signals. The bone is thus aware of its mechanical environment and, with appropriate stimulus, responds.

    The evidence here is of course only anecdotal, more data would be needed to show a real causation by wind turbines. A psycological stress and resultant behavioural response to some aspect of the turbines might be plausible.

  61. Old England says:
    September 27, 2013 at 3:18 am
    I haven’t read all of the comments but many are rubbishing what is suggested, namely that ultrasound vibrations from wind turbines have stimulated excess bone growth in advance of tendon/ligament growth. They are wrong to do so.

    Ultrasound in the 0.5mhz range is used to stimulate bone growth / healing and numerous studies refer to this (try a google search for “ultrasound 0.5mhz effects on bone”.)

    I guess you’re referring to Clinton Rubin and his vibrational bone response (magic frequency) hypothesis. He is even trying to commercialise this and having old folks with osteoporosis stand on vibrating platforms to boost bone growth. Kind of reminds me of a scene from the recent film “The Internship” with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan.

  62. Phlogiston says:
    “I guess you’re referring to Clinton Rubin and his vibrational bone response (magic frequency) hypothesis. He is even trying to commercialise this and having old folks with osteoporosis stand on vibrating platforms to boost bone growth. Kind of reminds me of a scene from the recent film “The Internship” with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan”/

    No – never heard of either, but originally came across it’s use when consultant orthopaedic surgeons suggested it to help healing of my son’s broken phalanges (rugby injury). Numerous peer-reviewed research papers have been published – perhaps you might like to look at them through, as I suggested, a google search.

  63. Old England says:
    September 27, 2013 at 3:49 am

    I was not trying to disparage the bone vibrational response despite my light-hearted reference, it clearly occurs. I used to work in the same lab as Clinton Rubin. I know the literature on this.

  64. Berényi Péter says:

    > … wind turbines are unbelievably noisy at frequencies below 0.1 Hz.

    Unbelievably, yes. That’s a whole 10 seconds from one non-event to another. Imagine yourself on a platform that goes up and down 0.1 micron once every 10 seconds. Scary!

    The whole “infrasound” thing and how we need to be open-minded about it has been going on for generations, since the end of the 19th century. The reason we are asked to be open-minded is because not was was there any evidence presented to support any of the claims made.

    If you believe in infrasound breaking horses’ legs, don’t keep horses anywhere near a sea shore and don’t play music anywhere near them.

    The only plausible connection between oscillations (of any kind, not just sound) in the lower frequency range (several Hz) and animal health is where they resonate with brain rhythms — and for that they have to be strong enough for one to sense them without super-sensitive accelerometers and laser interferometers. We do see epileptics have fits from flicker or from observing a regular pattern, like tiles on the floor. We have never seen anybody develop a bone deformity because of this.

    @Old England: ultrasound in air dissipates very quickly. In any is produced by a turbine, it will drown in thermal noise within metres from the source. I’ll give it 10-20 metres in the longwave range (20-30kHz); for 1MHz, it will be a fraction of a millimetre.

    For the bone stimulation to which you are refferning to work, the ultrasound needs to be of a destructive magnitude. Also note that in this case, it travels in a relatively non-lossy fluid from a transducer in contact with it, not in air.

  65. I have no problem with the question Ric asked, and and am somewhat surprised that some are offended. Even if the proposed cause-and-effect relationship is proven invalid, we learn a lot more than we knew before in the process. Do the offended have a problem with learning new things?

    One thing people are failing to consider is that the ailment may not be caused by a physical trauma. There is no phyical wound; no bruise or blood. Rather the retraction of the tendon (and resultant imbalance in tendon versus bone growth) can be caused by the animal wincing.

    For example, if I were to sing to you all softly, there would be no physical damage done, but the wincing might cause pulled muscles and damaged tendons, and bald patches where hair was ripped out.

    Haven’t they done studies where plants are grown in different settings with different music played in the background? We need to add a group of plants grown with the thud-thud-thud of a wind turbine in the background.

    Send me the money, and I’ll get to work on it. But you can rest assured I’ll do the study where I myself don’t have to listen to the thud-thud-thud.

  66. Phlogiston says;.

    Thanks for the clarification – and glad you are familiar with it – probably much more so that I am !

    On the veterinary side – I am out of touch with the latest research nowadays – I was due to study veterinary at Cambridge (a very long time ago) but got sidetracked showjumping and teaching in Canada and the US. A cousin is responsible for managing the stallions and the breeding programme at what is probably the best known stud in ireland and maybe in the world – but he does not come across this condition at all.

    If you are interested in low frequency / ultrasound from wind turbines here is a link to the Keele study I mentioned .

    http://www.keele.ac.uk/geophysics/appliedseismology/wind/Final_Report.pdf

  67. I’ll just point out that there are other relatively common sources of vibration (railroads,especially those transporting heavy freight, come to mind), and I have never heard of such maladies being ascribed to those sorts of sources. I really seriously doubt that the wind turbines have much if anything to do with this problem.

  68. Interesting. Elephants hear with their feet, so anything is possible, right? But as much as I’d like to blame windmills —in fact, *because* I’d like to blame them– I would want to see a lot more science here. Hard to construct (and fund) the gold standard of several randomized double-blind trials with enough statistical power to support or reject the null hypothesis (windmill vibes do not cause funny horse feet). So we may never know “for sure.”. But I am prepared to entertain the argument that chronic subsonic energy fields can affect living things in close proximity. You couldn’t pay me enough to live near a windfarm.

  69. If there’s anything to it, it’s probably due to the effects of low-frequency vibrations in the air, which are known to cause all kinds of health problems for people and animals. Since wind turbines turn at low frequencies, and low frequencies can travel long distances, this could be a real factor to contend with. The army has actually researched the use of low frequency vibrations as a weapons system, and found it quite viable.

  70. Read an article several weeks ago that claimed that perhaps half of whooping crane population has apparently gone missing, presumed dead, and also presumed the victim of wind turbine. Population was, I believe around 160 (pairs?) up from a low of 26 pairs during the 1950s.

    Also saw an article the other day that cited American eagle deaths due to wind turbines. Where is the Audubon Society, which I believe has supported wind turbines?

    Thanks – I was going to mention to Gareth Phillips myself. The bird kill numbers have so many problems that this horse research would appear to be stellar by comparison. There’s a wind farm that’s fairly close to me but the turbines are on private property and no one is studying the the bird or bat issue there. Even where there are ground studies, they’ve been criticized for looking at too small a “throw radius” and here in New Hampshire researchers would have to compete with our coyotes for the carcasses.

    It seems to me people could attach vibration sensors on to turbine blades (the inside of the blade is accessible through the nacelle) and then measure the impulses from impacting hawks. Bats might be too light, especially those that died from non-contact pulmonary damage.

    Of course, turbine owners have a strong disincentive for doing any bird kill study, so I fear our data on that will continue to be all over the place, as numbers in the comments above indicate.

    As for the Audubon Society, the “smaller” (than Greenpeace or the WWF) conservation groups seem to work together on several issues, it’s the only reason I can think that Audubon is ignoring the issue. If the decline in Whooping Crane counts continues and is shown to be turbine related, that could change quickly.

    A group I hadn’t heard of before, American Bird Conservancy, seems to be taking a reasonable position on things, check out http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/collisions/wind_policy.html -Ric]

  71. I actually study the low frequency vibrations and have sample recordings and analysis from Industrial wind turbine (IWT) sites. (I despise the term “wind farms” — nothing green about them) Most recording equipment does not have a low enough frequency response to measure the noise accurately.

    Much of the noise is in “seconds per cycle” — as opposed to “cycles per second” — this is because the energy from the wind turbines forms beat notes with each other and there are “pockets” where the noise is the resultant of the patterns from all wind turbines — additive and subtractive.

    While the infrasound issue is becoming better understood, we do know that it does not affect everyone.

    A local (Ontario, Canada) researcher has shared some of his files with me and I ran them through my custom analysis software — which seems to perform much better than Fourier analysis at picking out the low frequency noise and the harmonics.

    I saw that article some time ago. I neither “believe or disbelieve” at this point. All we know (personally) at this point is that people who get vertigo from seismic waves or get dizzy due height are more likely to exhibit other symptoms from the low frequency noise generated by wind turbines.

    Mostly I study the power output and the cost. The health issues should be non-issues. They are such a drain on the Ontario Canada economy due to subsidies and having to pay NY and Michigan to take the unneeded energy that one can only wonder why we want to install 10 times more IWTs.

    [One thing I wonder about is the vertigo effect, and related stress on the horses. Being bipedal, humans may have a much greater reliance on balance organs than quadrupeds, they can get a good idea of their balance from comparing pressure on each foot. -Ric]

  72. @Ric Werme, It’s the first time I’ve read about this happening between horses and wind-turbines, I know a few people who own horses where I live, I’ll ask about and let you know if I find anything.

    Have you heard of any link between offshore wind-farms and beached whales/dolphins etc…
    I only have a suspicion that offshore wind-farms are disrupting marine life but to me its common sense, and its well known that these animals are extremely sensitive to sound vibrations and echoes, my thinking is if a pod of dolphins can’t communicate with each other due to the noise of an offshore wind farm, the pod of dolphins may become disorientated change its usual course to avoided it or become separated trying to find a quieter spot away from the noise and vibrations, this may lead dolphins into shallower water and quieter bays where they are likely to become stranded by unpredictable or unfamiliar tides.

  73. “Acquired flexural deformity of the distal interphalangeal joint,” in horses is usually due to too much ballet dancing “on point” before complete calcification of the chondral growth areas of the involved bones, leading to extensor tendon collapse!.

    But I have indeed been very worried about the effect on whales of near-costal vibrations emanating from off-shore windmills which have no doubt already led to an epidemic of “beached whale syndrome”, such that when the Starship Enterprise returns from the future to collect a whale in order to fend off the doomsday machine, all it will find is those got dam windmills!

  74. People have a point of confusion when comparing wind turbines to truck or rail noise. That truck noise is intermittent — however loud. Train noise does indeed cause LFN/Infrasound (Low frequency noise) that can last several minutes — but not for many hours or days — as IWTs do.

    Some times the wind does actually blow strongly for days at at a time. Then the infrasound is present for some days. The noise from many turbines can combine and form “pockets” of high intensity low frequency vibrations. This much is known and generally accepted.. Whether it can or could or does cause the symptoms in the article is another question — one I can’t answer.

    Some people can sense the vibration — but you do not hear it except as “pulsations” on top of the jet engine like noise of the turbines.

  75. Caleb says:
    September 27, 2013 at 4:14 am

    I had the same thoughts last night. Whenever I see one of the monstrosities I wonder what is the psychological response in people exposed to them permanently. And would a test sample of dishonest climate hacks confess if they were penned near one of them for a month? The problem would be, of course, that the turbines would not run reliably enough during the clinical trial period. And how would I evaluate the results if the test sample wouldn’t confess but grew crocked feet? I’m still working on it.

  76. Oops, it looks like Sparks has just barely beaten me to it, so that Sparks is going to be the next Nobel Peace Prize recipient..which may not be a good thing.

  77. @Gareth Phillips
    Interesting comparative figures of associated bird deaths and structural causation. I didn’t realize that the ratio of every other causation factor induced mortality to wind mill induced mortality was so high. Interesting information.

    I have to ask about the ratios though.
    ratios of mortality between specified causation factor and wind generators
    Lighted Communication towers 1000:1
    Automobiles ____________________ 2000:1
    Power Lines (and assoc.equip.) 4000:1

    A 2000:1 mortality causation ratio seems quite damning on the surface (strictly by the numbers)
    But what is the feature to feature ratio?

    I can guarantee that if you were to factor in the prevalence ratio (cars certainly outnumber wind turbines by a greater factor than 2000:1) it would indicate that, if wind turbines were as common as the other causality factors they would be far more deadly.

  78. Gene Selkov says:
    September 27, 2013 at 4:12 am
    “ultrasound in air dissipates very quickly. In any is produced by a turbine, it will drown in thermal noise within metres from the source. I’ll give it 10-20 metres in the longwave range (20-30kHz); for 1MHz, it will be a fraction of a millimetre.”

    Point is it is not ultrasound in air but ultrasound through the ground. The Keele study showed the dominant wavelength through seismic measurement at 1km distance was 0.5khz.

    Have a look at their report and you will see for yourself :

    http://www.keele.ac.uk/geophysics/appliedseismology/wind/Final_Report.pdf

    [The title of that paper is "Microseismic and Infrasound Monitoring of Low Frequency Noise and Vicrations from Windfarms." I see references to "ultra-sensitive," "ultra-low,", and "broadband 120s to 50Hz". Ultrasonic frequencies are higher then human hearing, and I used to be able to hear 19kHz. 50Hz is very high for seismic analysis, frequencies above that dissipate very quickly. There's no good source of ultrasonic sounds in a wind turbine, and if there were, people would not be measuring them with seismometers. -Ric]

    • Old England commented:

      > Point is it is not ultrasound in air but ultrasound through the ground. The Keele study showed the dominant wavelength through seismic measurement at 1km distance was 0.5khz.
      >
      > Have a look at their report and you will see for yourself :
      > http://www.keele.ac.uk/geophysics/appliedseismology/wind/Final_Report.pdf

      I am sure you meant “infrasound”. We’re done with ultrasound: it does not propagate. You can’t sense an ultrasound siren 1 km away, even through the ground. Through water or a continuos steel rail, you can, but sand, soil, clay and fractured rocks kill ultrasound very quickly.

      Regarding infrasound, the report you cite is very interesting (I particularly liked the shutdown experiments), but it confirms what I told you on a hunch: the infrasound even in the vicinity of the turbines is measured in microns. Did you notice they call it microseismology?

      Now, micron-sized displacement at 10kHz is audible (and maybe even loud). There is a lot of energy in a 10kHz, one-micron wave. At 100Hz, you can’t hear it. It drowns in noise. You need wind-like air motion in your ear to hear 100 Hz. Notice the levels those fellows measured -160 .. -140 dB. They needed a correlator to reach that far below the noise level. There is no known mechanism in life to do that.

      I can only conclude from these experiments that the only conceivable casualty of turbine infrasound are some dudes in bunkers listening to the goings-on on the other side of the planet. And even for them, it is not such a big trouble, it seems.

  79. “If I were a horse, I would not want my feet to look like the one on the right:” Now of course if I was a horse ballerina I would be totally cool with that. ;-)

  80. Colorado Wellington says:
    September 27, 2013 at 6:21 am

    “And how would I evaluate the results if the test sample wouldn’t confess but grew crocked feet? I’m still working on it.” [what an overall riot, Colorado!]

    But what, crocked heads and now crocked feet? Well then, who in the world is ever going to need Obamacare’s “free” Victory Gin in order to experience the Communist Utopia? Forget Nobel, move over, Karl Marx!

  81. Industrial Wind Turbine Noise

    High accuracy recorder.

    If people want to do their own analysis I will point them at a sound recorded by a high quality Sony digital recorder with high quality microphones. I have the details on the equipment — it’s pretty good equipment.

    Set your volume to 50% — works best with high quality headphones or a good speaker set with at least decent bass response.

    I have run this one through my software and the infrasound is easily detected by my software. FFT/DFTFA is less likely to spot this due to the low frequencies. In MATLAB or OCTAVE the decimation function can be your friend if used once and once only — so that you can run through the entire sample in reasonable time.

    Their may be a paper on this and similar recordings in the future.

    Enjoy.

    [I'm intrigued with the infrasonic noise issues, to the point of looking for low frequency microphones ($500, but assembled in a clean room and comes with calibration data) and wonder what it would take to make the sounds more comprehensible, e.g. frequency multiplying or fast play back. At a WHOI open house I heard a recording from a seismometer placed on the mid-Atlantic ridge played back at about 100X speed, and was impressed with how much it sounded like thunder from a squall line. -Ric]

  82. As an Agricultural Scientist, horse owner, and trained ‘natural trim’ farrier, this looks like a long succession of bad trim jobs to me. Trims that have left excess heel while trimming for a long toe. Combine that with either trauma or too much rich feed and/or grazing and the inflammation and edema which develops in the hoof capsule leads to rotation of the coffin bone within the hoof capsule. It’s usually repairable with consistent and correct trimming of the hoof and keeping the animal in a paddock where it is forced to travel to get its vittles and drink. Horses aren’t meant to be kept in stalls or pens and not allowed to move about. Nor are their hooves meant to be bound by steel nailed to them.

    The hoof functions as an integral part of [their] circulatory system and the movement and pressure created with each step moves nourishing blood through the innumerable capillaries of the hoof and forces it back up the leg toward the heart. Also, a hoof trimmed by either natural wear over the horses daily travels covering many miles (as they do in the wild) or trimmed into a shape which matches and mimics that of the wild horses’ hoof shape will encourage that intended function of the hoof. Unfortunately, many still hammer the steel on that was began in medeival times when war horses were forced to remain inside the castle standing in a fetid and infectious mess during seiges. They did just fine for the many millenia before domestication.

    My own horses are trimmed to the wild horse model. Our oldest [wore] shoes for 8 years before my wife and I decided to give the natural trims a try. After a year of those trims, his chronic low grade lameness was gone. After two years, he became a gravel grinding machine with ne’er a misstep or ‘ouchie’ step on rough terrain.

    I find the assertions made difficult to buy, but am willing to keep an open mind while I await confirmation by diplicated studies.

  83. JPeden says:
    September 27, 2013 at 6:23 am

    Oops, it looks like Sparks has just barely beaten me to it, so that Sparks is going to be the next Nobel Peace Prize recipient..which may not be a good thing.

    I would give the prize money to charity and some other good causes more deserving.

  84. Ric says:
    “I’m intrigued with the infrasonic noise issues, to the point of looking for low frequency microphones ($500, but assembled in a clean room and comes with calibration data) and wonder what it would take to make the sounds more comprehensible, e.g. frequency multiplying or fast play back. At a WHOI open house I heard a recording from a seismometer placed on the mid-Atlantic ridge played back at about 100X speed, and was impressed with how much it sounded like thunder from a squall line. -Ric]

    If you are handy with electronics it is possible to build a detector, all you need is a LNB (Low Noise Block) a cheep dish tuner and an 18v power supply, an incoming signal is picked up and converted by the LNB to something closer to 1000 MHz, which can be used as an input to any sound card to then be visualized and recorded, I built one myself and wrote an oscilloscope program to locate hidden electronics behind walls that needed to be repaired.

  85. Seems like a good place to tuck in this thought, since few will read this far down the comments, and it’s off-topic, but might be of interest to others:

    When Willis ran his article about deep breathing the other day I found myself changing my breathing (experimenting) for a bit. As I did so, however, I also worried about the possibility of inducing a cold. About 40 years ago, I tried very deep breathing for 20-30 minutes and that night contracted a horrible cold. It was miserable enough that I linked the two events in my mind permanently.

    Since that time, it’s happened at least twice again, but the severity of the cold wasn’t notable. Nonetheless, I wondered if the breathing exercises I was doing two days ago would induce a cold. That night, about 12 hours later, I began to experience the scratchy throat and runny nose that usually precedes a cold. Fortunately, the symptoms have abated and didn’t progress to a full-blown episode (so far, anyway.)

    So, I’m curious, (sort of in the vein of Ric’s horse/windfarm question) whether anyone else noted such a relationship if they experimented with deep breathing after reading Willis’s post the other day?

    • Rod Everson: I’ve been experimenting with various breathing modes for three days now and I did get a runny nose this morning and now it’s kinda stuffy (I thought it was allergy). I wouldn’t jump to conclusions about cold though because that type of virus only binds to the tissues of the upper respiratory tract. So deep breathing is unlikely to have anything to do with it, but more vigorous breathing might — exposing the tissue and making it lose more water.

  86. Old England says:
    September 27, 2013 at 4:21 am
    Phlogiston says;.

    Thanks for the clarification – and glad you are familiar with it – probably much more so that I am !

    On the veterinary side – I am out of touch with the latest research nowadays – I was due to study veterinary at Cambridge (a very long time ago) but got sidetracked showjumping and teaching in Canada and the US. A cousin is responsible for managing the stallions and the breeding programme at what is probably the best known stud in ireland and maybe in the world – but he does not come across this condition at all.

    If you are interested in low frequency / ultrasound from wind turbines here is a link to the Keele study I mentioned .

    Thanks for the interesting link to the paper on wind turbine vibration and the Eskdalemuir MOD seismic center, very informative.

    If you got in to do Vet Medicine at Cambridge you must be more intelligent than me – I considered Oxbridge briefly but went red-brick to study at Southampton Uni in the end.

    A lot of the ultrasound and fracture research was in the 90s but here are 3 review like articles from 2001 (from Clinton Rubin) and 2007. The consensus is that LIPUS (low intensity pulsed ultrasound stimulation) is definitely effective but there remains uncertainty as to the mechanism. But hey – they still dont fully understand even how bisphosphonates work in bone either.

    http://www.researchgate.net/publication/12114056_The_use_of_low-intensity_ultrasound_to_accelerate_the_healing_of_fractures/file/d912f50b3bdf965bc1.pdf

    http://www.researchgate.net/publication/6853371_The_enhancement_of_bone_regeneration_by_ultrasound/file/50463516d613e45533.pdf

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00776-006-1080-3 [paywalled, abstract only]

  87. Well, it is a good piece of research in that it shows how people will assume linkage if they want it to exist.
    Pachuri just did that this morning on BBC news “glaciers have receded, temperatures and sea level have risen, and the concentration of greenhouse gases has increased. He left it to the listener to make the connection, I guess because he still can’t prove it.

    Come to think of it, I’ve had more gray hairs ever since I got an iPad…..must be some way to sue Apple for causing that……..

  88. @ Gary Hadlik re Rabit, Thanks I needed that, but be careful if PETA saw that no more fun for children any age. WAAAAAYYYY back when there was only one ( true, honest to God, yes just one) TV in the neighborhood we as children (for a penny no kidding) got to watch this on Saturday afternoons for 15 minutes at a time, never to be forgotten.

  89. @Ric Wereme:

    I am sure you can find my email address. Pop me an email I will put you in touch with the fellow that made the recordings.

    Cheers

  90. author saw something and questioned it and gets jumped on.
    nice.
    and regarding cat vs windmill stuff, a cat cannot be jailed for killing a bird yet a human (who builds the windmills) can be fined/jailed here in US just for picking up a feather or getting an inheritance containing eagle feathers.
    an oil company finds dead birds on property not killed by them, they self report the findings as required by law for them and get fined.
    windmills are given a free pass on ALL of this.
    so take your hypocrisy crap about cats and shove it up your windmill.

  91. WillR says September 27, 2013 at 7:02 am
    Industrial Wind Turbine Noise

    High accuracy recorder.


    [I'm intrigued with the infrasonic noise issues, to the point of looking for low frequency microphones ($500, but assembled in a clean room and comes with calibration data) and wonder what it would take to make the sounds more comprehensible, e.g. frequency multiplying or fast play back. At a WHOI open house I heard a recording from a seismometer placed on the mid-Atlantic ridge played back at about 100X speed, and was impressed with how much it sounded like thunder from a squall line. -Ric]

    Hobbyist-priced geo-phone sensors:

    Geophone Sensor Only – http://www.bgmicro.com/GeophoneSensor.aspx
    Geophone Seismic Kit – http://www.bgmicro.com/GeophoneKit.aspx

    Mount the geophone to a sheet of plywood for low-freq ‘air’ vibes.

    Couple that with an NI DC-10 kHz DAQ (data acquisition card) and a LabVIEW app and you’re in business … (PC sound cards have low-freq rolloff which may discourage their use).

    .

  92. Didn’t see the topical category “stray voltage” mentioned, also known as AC mains-induced ‘ground currents’ or neutral-currents returned via earth. A few references on the subject follow.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stray_voltage

    http://www.uwex.edu/uwmril/pdf/StrayVoltage/03_What_do_we_know_about_Stray_Voltage.pdf

    http://maec.msu.edu/Copy%20of%20understanding_neutral_to_earth.pdf

    Here is an example of a researcher seeing ground currents while in search of “Schumann Resonance” also via ground currents …. plainly evident is the ‘mains’ frequency energy as well as commuter train 16 2/3 Hz supply:

    http://www.vlf.it/sven/schumannunderground.html

    .

  93. Gene Selkov says:
    September 26, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    And even the bird & bat masscre is I think being exaggerated. Hit them for what they actually do: they hurt our wallets and support fraud.
    ###

    That it is happening at all is significant in that it highlights the true motivation of the green hoard.

    • DesertYote (speaking of bird killings):

      > That it is happening at all is significant in that it highlights the true motivation of the green hoard.

      Totally agree and am likewise disgusted. Deaths at oil companies’ sites are dramatised and stories of them perpetuated, transportation-related deaths are ignored and wind turbine-caused deaths are censored.

      But I myself have yet to see a bird (let alone a dead one) anywhere near a wind turbine (not that there is a lack of both where I live). So I have a sense that those of us who oppose wind development focus their energy on the wrong issue. If they really cared about not killing any birds, they ought to argue against the use of inter-city buses. I have experienced bird collisions dozens of times while riding a bus, and my own car killed a grouse and a wood pigeon just last month.

  94. @Sparks

    “If you are handy with electronics it is possible to build a detector, all you need is a LNB (Low Noise Block) a cheep dish tuner and an 18v power supply, an incoming signal is picked up and converted by the LNB to something closer to 1000 MHz, which can be used as an input to any sound card…”

    You probably used an amplitude demodulation like a diode detector just before the sound card, right?

    AFAIK this setup detect microwave thermal emission (blackbody) and noise from “hidden” electronics, but is it capable of detecting minuscule mechanical variation occurring at pointed objects? Is it showing behavior consistent w/t mixing effect w/t its own radiated Local Oscillator and giving Doppler signal?

    My point is microwave wavelength seem probably too long to extract from phase noise the Doppler information of a micron amplitude mechanical variation at infrasound frequency.

    Also another comment on sound card low frequency cutoff is correct, no card to my knowledge let pass DC or very low frequency. The signal must be “upmixed” to audio range.

  95. Ric alerted me about this interesting discussion. Here’s my paper about the factoid of wind farms causing “vibroacoustic disease” – includes the issue of boxy foot at that farm. http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au//bitstream/2123/9106/2/ANZJPH%282013%29-VAD.pdf also my collection of diseases and symptoms that anti wind woo websites say are caused by wind turbines http://tobacco.health.usyd.edu.au/assets/pdfs/publications/WindfarmDiseases.pdf; plus a recent couple of blogs of mine http://theconversation.com/wind-turbine-syndrome-farm-hosts-tell-very-different-story-18241 and https://theconversation.com/wind-turbine-syndrome-a-classic-communicated-disease-8318

  96. Just in case anyone is still reading this, who actually cares about birds, from today 9/27/2013:

    California Wind Farm Seeks Permit to Kill Eagles

    SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 27 (UPI) —
    A Solano County, Calif., wind farm would be the first renewable energy project in the nation allowed to kill eagles under a federal plan, a U.S. agency said.

    Under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal, outlined in a draft environmental report released Thursday, the Shiloh IV Wind Project would be issued a golden eagle take permit for its 3,500-acre plant in the Montezuma Hills, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

    The plan would allow the company’s 50 wind turbines to kill as many as five golden eagles in a five-year period in exchange for measures to protect the birds, including retrofitting 133 power poles to prevent electrocutions, the Chronicle said.

    It is already a federal crime to kill even one of the eagles, a felony. Power companies are prosecuted and fined for their deaths from power lines and transformers.

    We know the death count is severely under-reported, the true numbers covered up. This would be a fig leaf, they’ll “voluntarily report” up to the five allowed.

    Isn’t this like giving a serial killer permission to murder up to five people, in exchange for a promise to try to stop randomly slaughtering passerby who bump into them?

  97. [A horse] may look for a low hanging branch to walk under to scrape you off.

    In fact it may find a branch to gallop under wiping you off like a bit of dandruff. The impact can break ribs and cause you to cough up the lining of your throat. With me only the throat lining came up but my dad collected broken ribs once.

    As regards the hoof deformity, I would really want to eliminate the effect of inbreeding. A rare recessive becoming fixed seems more likely than the article’s suggestion. It should be relatively easy to look at animals in comparable areas (say in California) and try to determine whether there is a corresponding increase in the deformity. I know there are plenty of horses and cattle grazing in the wind farm areas east of the San Francisco Bay Area.

    [Well, they did bring in two other horses that appeared to start developing the condition. It might be worthwhile in future tests to keep the visitors separate from the residents. -Ric]

  98. [i]Prof Simon Chapman says:
    September 27, 2013 at 2:04 pm
    Ric alerted me about this interesting discussion. Here’s my paper about the factoid of wind farms causing “vibroacoustic disease” – includes the issue of boxy foot at that farm.[/i]

    Dr. Chapman, I note that you are a sociologist. Industrial Wind Turbines seem to be a far remove from your specialty. Your papers seem to comment on the noise aspects and the health aspects of wind turbines. I am curious as to how you gained the expertise to comment on the medical aspect as well as whether wind turbines do indeed produce noise — which seems to be more on an engineering or acoustics aspect.

    http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/2123/8977/4/Complaints%20FINAL.pdf

    e.g. page 14 where you diagnose the effects of the noise as “psychogenic”. That’s an interesting diagnosis.

    Apparently this symptom is apparent since 2009 — when the very large modern wind turbines appeared — the ones that reach up to 450 feet tall. They also do seem to generate a lot of pulsed sound — at frequencies that are inaudible and can only be measured by specialized equipment.

    I am also curious as to whether you were able to find studies where the levels of the low frequency sounds were actually measured.

    Cheers.

  99. Perhaps it was due to the proximity of high power lines that carry the current from the windmills. Oh, wait, that was leukemia in children, sorry.

  100. Gareth Phillips says:
    September 26, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    You put numbers into perspective. Allways a good thing.

    I once heard a higly educated woman say she was worried that satelites might increase “Global Warming” .

    Right.

  101. Actually, Satellites DID increase global warming. Isn’t that how they created the Hockey Stick, by splicing satellite data onto the end of proxy data induced temperature reconstructions?

    Without the Satellite data, the Proxy Reconstruction data indicates we are in a cooling trend
    ALA “Hide the Decline”

  102. Rod Everson says September 27, 2013 at 7:56 am


    Since that time, it’s happened at least twice again, but the severity of the cold wasn’t notable. Nonetheless, I wondered if the breathing exercises I was doing two days ago would induce a cold. That night, about 12 hours later, I began to experience the scratchy throat and runny nose that usually precedes a cold. Fortunately, the symptoms have abated and didn’t progress to a full-blown episode (so far, anyway.)

    I might proffer, Rod, that you’re seeing what some others of us have seen, to wit, a developed ‘culture’ in the throat owing to possible post nasal drip or other conditions amenable to bacterial growth … for me, until a means to assure this ‘culture’ was suppressed, I suffered yearly sore throats that also developed symptoms into the lungs and sinuses as well.

    The remedy I pursued involved the use of Cayenne Pepper in preventative capacity, as a preventative measure.

    .

  103. Gareth Phillips says:
    September 26, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Seeing there is general agreement that the horse hoof / wind turbine study is complete tosh, I thought it”

    Gareth- is that your 97% consensus?

  104. I used to live someplace where a VW dealership was a few miles down the road, and when my VW Rabbit needed service, I’d drive down there and bicycle back. Later, bike down and drive back. The road was pretty active then, now it’s a four lane commercial strip, but once or twice I came down with a cold or flu a few days later, especially on chilly, damp days. I’ve smelled cigar smoke from passing cars before, so I assume I can intercept aerosols from people with sneezes or coughs.

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