Pennsylvania

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Pa. Dept. of Agriculture Says Frack Water Didn’t Kill Calves

Last week we wrote about a farmer in Tioga County who lost 8 out of 11 calves this spring, after the herd came in contact with frack water. The farmer, Carol Johnson, told us that in 56 years of farming, she’s never lost more than 2 calves a year. Johnson believes there’s a connection between the dead calves and the contaminated wastewater.

She sent two bodies to Penn State for a necropsy. We haven’t heard back from the veterinarian who examined the cows, but Johnson says E. coli bacteria are listed as the cause of death on both reports.

We did hear back from the Department of Agriculture, which had instituted a quarantine of the cows last year. Johnson’s herd wandered into a spill of contaminated water after the fluid leaked from a holding pond. Department spokesperson Samantha Krepps says the necropsies concluded that the deaths were not related to the frack water. The Department did not do the actual necropsies, but did examine the results. Krepps says the Department does monitor quarantines.

“Animal Health visits the various premises we have under quarantine as our schedules allow and also based on our perception that there may be a compliance issue. We do a risk analysis and perform compliance checks when we are in the area of a quarantined premise preforming other investigations or inspections or as the risk analysis indicates.”

Comments

  • Anonymous

    What did kill the calves?

    This story leaves a gaping question; one would hope the Department of Agriculture could provide some additional detail. Readers might wish to know how conclusions were reached that the deaths were not related to the frack water, and, what the necropsies concluded was the cause of death?

  • brian oram

    I think it is clear – the article says – E. coli killed the cows – this is a pathogenic (disease causing bacteria).

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