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Emu farmers blame birds’ deaths on wind farms

Two emu farmers in Digby, N.S., say they can’t keep raising their birds because nearby wind farms are killing off their flock.

Davey and Debi Van Tassel are spending this week selling off and harvesting the last of their emus, often farmed for their oil and meat.

“When we watched the birds in here die, when we started with 27 and ended up with seven, when we had to watch them die every day, I said to Davey, ‘we can’t do it anymore,’” she said.

“We know we are doing the best. Because we know they’re going to go somewhere they’re not going to be abused by turbines.”

Nova Scotia Power built a wind turbine farm behind the couple’s home almost three years ago.

The 20 turbines can power over 10,000 homes, but Van Tassel said the turbines are noisy and have distressed her birds.

The Van Tassels said since then, their emus have gotten thinner and haven’t been yielding as many eggs.

They said the eggs that do arrive don’t survive and some birds have died.

Nova Scotia Power said they just heard about the emus’ deaths. Officials promised to speak with the family on Monday.

“I wouldn’t know what to say to them because they really don’t care. We said all we had to say them and they just don’t care,” said Van Tassel

With a vital portion of their income gone, the Van Tassels said they don’t know what’s next for them.