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Wind farm: another stillborn foal

On May 19, Ann-Marie McLaughlin’s Lippitt Morgan mare aborted a stillborn foal at 9 months. McLaughlin and her family live in Calhan, Colorado, near the Golden West Wind Energy Center, which consists of 145 453-foot tall industrial wind turbines. It has been fully operational since October 2015.

According to an article in the May issue of “The New Falcon Herald,” residents living near wind turbines reported numerous health issues with their domestic animals.

One woman, who lived within the wind farm’s footprint, said that her horse had given birth to a stillborn foal. A veterinarian could not determine a cause for the premature birth and death of the foal.

McLaughlin said she has never had a mare abort at 9 months; they typically abort by 6 months. Additionally, this particular mare has had successful pregnancies for the last six years, with no complications, she said.

“The typical gestational period for horses is 11 months,” she said. “To lose a baby at 9 months is totally uncommon.”

The whole foaling season for her horses has been unusual, though, McLaughlin said. The mares gave none of the typical signs that they were getting ready to give birth. The stillborn foal was perfectly formed; the sac never ruptured and the placenta was bright red, all indications that the baby should have been born on time and healthy, she said. “Something terminated that pregnancy,” McLaughlin said.

The only difference between this foaling season and the last is that the wind farm is operational, she said.

In the Lippitt Morgan bloodline that McLaughlin breeds, there are only 1,500 horses of breeding stock left, and the species is on the near-extinction list, making them highly sought-after, she said. The foal she lost was worth $5,000 and represented 18 months of work, McLaughlin said.

“I have lived on this property for six years, and I have never had a stillborn (foal or colt) in my entire life,” she said. “The first one I have ever had was after they put in the turbines and turned them on. The turbines have changed our entire ecosystem.”