A large number of goats in Taiwan may have died of exhaustion because of noise from a wind farm. A farmer on an outlying island told the BBC he had lost more than 400 animals after eight giant wind turbines were installed close to his grazing land.
The Council of Agriculture says it suspects that noise may have caused the goats’ demise through lack of sleep. The power company, Taipower, has offered to pay for part of the costs of building a new farmhouse elsewhere. A spokesman for the company said the cause of the goats’ deaths still needed to be investigated, but that it doubted the goats died from the noise.
Before the wind farm was built about four years ago, farmer Kuo Jing-shan had about 700 goats. Shortly after the electricity-generating turbines were installed, the 57-year-old says his animals started to die. He now has just 250 goats left.
Penghu is notorious for its strong howling winds. Mr Kuo said the stronger the wind, the louder the machines became. "The goats looked skinny and they weren’t eating. One night I went out to the farmhouse and the goats were all standing up; they weren’t sleeping.
"I didn’t know why. If I had known, I would’ve done something to stop the dying," he told the BBC’s Cindy Sui in Taiwan.
A local livestock inspector from the agriculture council said that Mr Kuo was the only farmer to have reported such large-scale deaths. He said his claim was plausible because of all the farmers in the Penghu archipelago, his farm was closest to the wind turbines – only 40m away. "Abnormal noises could affect the normal growth and feeding intake of animals and cause them to suffer sleep deprivation," Lu Ming-tseng said.
Mr Kuo said the power company had offered to help him move but that there would be no compensation for the loss of his goats. "It’s a pain to relocate, but what can I do. I can’t survive with the wind turbines," he said.
BBC News, 21 mei 2009