Extractive industries (EI) are operations that harvest resources such as metals, minerals, aggregates, and other items from the earth. Examples include oil and gas drilling, mining, dredging, and quarrying. The AVMA acknowledges the worldwide demand for the EI products and anticipates that the continued advances in technology will further enhance safety and effectiveness of extraction processes. As an advocate for animals and animal health, AVMA’s primary concerns relative to EI are the real and potential impacts of EI on animal health and welfare.
There is sparse scientific knowledge pertaining to EI impacts on animal health and welfare. Such knowledge gaps must be dramatically reduced. Drilling for oil dates back centuries; yet, the world is still learning of animal and habitat impacts from oil spills, such as that from the Deepwater Horizon in 2010. Harvesting natural gas by hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking) has existed since the 1940’s; however, little scientific information is available regarding impacts of this process on animal health, foods of animal origin, and the environment. While regulators and policymakers seem to be focusing on the public health and environmental aspects of EI, animal health must be considered. Not only is biodiversity dependent upon healthy animal populations, but so is public health relative to foods of animal origin. To date, many papers on the health effects of extractive industries have focused almost solely on anecdotal reports, rather than controlled, scientific studies. To bridge the existing knowledge gaps, the AVMA supports objective scientific research on EI impacts on animal health, foods of animal origin, and the environment.
US Department of the Interior (DOI)
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
2014 American Veterinary Medical Association