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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 September 18 - 24  > Cows give premature births in Ie-jima, linked to Ospreys
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2013 September 18 - 24 [US FORCES]

Cows give premature births in Ie-jima, linked to Ospreys

September 20, 2013
In Okinawa’s Ie-jima Island where the U.S. military Osprey aircraft continue law-altitude flight training, three cows had abnormal deliveries in one day at a local dairy farm. Some claim the Osprey’s low-frequency sound emissions as the cause.

Located off the northwest coast of Okinawa’s main island, Ie-jima hosts the U.S. Marine Corps Auxiliary Airfield, which occupies about 35% of the tiny island. In addition to two runways and landing pads for AV-8 Harrier fighter jets, six pads for Ospreys have recently been built at the U.S. base.

Kobashikawa Yoshiyasu, a 54-year-old dairy farmer, has operated his farm for 30 years about 600 meters distance from the south fence of the Ie Jima Auxiliary Airfield. He currently has 30 cows.

He witnessed the abnormal deliveries on June 28. The first one occurred around 5 a.m. when a cow gave birth to a stillborn calf whose due date was July 2. Then in the early evening, a calf was born two days earlier than its due date and died four days later. This was followed by another premature birth around 11 p.m., which took place 24 days earlier than the expected date.

“I’ve never had three premature births in one day,” said Kobashikawa. The cow has been underdeveloped and has not been sold yet.

According to the local Ie Village office, Ospreys flew to the island eight days in June and conducted take-off and landing practices 118 times during the daytime and 20 times during the night.

Osprey’s low-frequency sound with vibration is recognized as causing headaches, palpitations, and dizziness in humans.

Ryukyu University Associate Professor Tokashiki Takeshi said, “Osprey’s impact on animals’ health has not been confirmed yet. But it is possible for animals to receive the same or even greater level of impacts as human beings from the aircraft’s low-frequency sound emissions.”

In the past, the low-frequency sonar U.S. submarines used while submerged reportedly contributed to mass strandings of whales.

“We’ve seen premature births of cows almost every year. While we thought they could be because of U.S. military aircraft, we never complained before,” said Kobashikawa, who went on to say, “But if we have to keep dealing with things like this, our business won’t survive.”
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