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In New York’s Southern Tier, local newspapers are investigating
the connection between a local racetrack owner’s sick foals and the
fracking fluids present on his farmland. The Ithaca Journal
featured a report by Tom Wilber in which he investigated the ongoing issue with foals being born without the ability to swallow —
seventeen of them so far — on the breeding farm of Jeff Gural, owner of
the Tioga Downs, Meadowlands Racetrack, and Vernon Downs.
The foals have survived, although all of them have had to be transported to Cornell’s School of Veterinary Medicine, located fifty miles north in Ithaca, New York. An earlier study by Cornell professor Robert Oswald and Cornell veterinarian Michelle Bamberger linked the presence of the byproducts of hydraulic fracturing to numerous animal deaths and stillbirths. Their research included twenty-four case studies of multiple farm animals who had either been killed outright by the cocktail of chemicals or later proved unable to successfully reproduce after exposure.
The vets are conducting their own study of what may be causing the epidemic of horse birth defects. The veterinary team cite the presence of a gas well adjacent to Gural’s land that was drilled by Chesapeake Appalachia LLC as the “prime suspect” in the Gural farm problems. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection confirmed that the farm’s water is contaminated, although they failed to cite Chesapeake as the cause.