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:
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:
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.