Irony of ironies, wind energy — a preferred form of renewable energy among environmentalists — has animal rights advocates concerned about the hundreds of thousands of birds killed by wind turbines.
On Tuesday an international bird watchdog group based in Spain, Save the Eagles International (STEI), warned that the expected construction of 3.5 million wind turbines worldwide will result in the extinction of a variety of bird species.
STEI is calling for a moratorium on all wind farm construction and an investigation into whether the threat to wildlife is worth the amount of energy produced — when, they say, there are so many other, more efficient sources of energy.
According to STEI it is a fallacy to compare wind turbine bird deaths to other sources of bird carnage such as automobiles and high windows, as wind turbine construction is optional.
“[M]ortality caused by windfarms and their power lines is new and additional”, said STEI president Mark Duchamp. “[A]nd like the proverbial last drop that spills the glass, its effects will be upsetting. To wit the Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle, which has been condemned to extinction by the construction of seven windfarms in its habitat.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) also expressed concern about the high number of bird deaths that result from wind turbines, but has not gone so far as to call for a ban.
“Unfortunately they do kill and maim birds and bats. Not only do they harm these birds, but they also hurt the young who depend on them and end up suffering as well. There are ways to reduce harm,” senior PETA campaigner Ashley Byrne told TheDC “There are more wildlife friendly turbines that spin more slowly and pose less of a risk and there is even a company that manufactures hoop shaped blades that are far more wildlife friendly.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department reports that these sky-high blenders slaughter more than 440,000 birds annually, including protected species.