|In My Opinion
What some people still don't understand about the unintended biological consequences of Agricultural Weed Killers in Commercial Horse Feed.
Fifteen Facts that every horseperson needs to know about how a toxic cocktail of Agricultural Weed Killers may be impacting the health and behavior of their horse.
Over the last three years I have immersed myself in the study of Agricultural Weed Killer and how these toxic stews of lethal elements act to induce biological damage in horses. My study has included a review of how the most popular Agricultural Weed Killers also act as Antibiotics, Chelation Agents and Desiccants. I have reviewed over 100 independent research papers. Based on the review of independent science, my own experiences and the application of a healthy dose of Common Sense I have formed the following opinions. We are in the middle of an Agriculture Chemical Induced Crisis of harm and hurt. We can no longer wait for change nor can we wait for the science or regulatory authorities to catch up.
Antibiotic Drug. Glyphosate, listed by Monsanto as the Active Ingredients in Roundup Products is registered as an Antibiotic (US Patent # 7771736). While Glyphosate is listed by the manufacturer as the active ingredient recent research has revealed that many other elements in the formulations possess toxicity and in fact the real culprit may be the co-toxicity of the secret formulations that are held by the chemical companies as proprietary blends. What we do know is that Glyphosate, one of the twenty or so ingredients in the most common Agricultural Weed Killer is a Drug. It is an antibiotic. It is thought by many that the destruction of the digestive microbes in the cecum of a horse severely limits the horse's ability to absorb adequate levels of key minerals and vitamins, leads to systemic toxicity and reduces the strength of the Immune System.
Digestive Discomfort. While the unintended biological consequences of the Drug (Antibiotic) Glyphosate are far reaching perhaps the most troubling and immediate is the damage to the microbial colonies in the digestive system and the resulting inflammation, irritation and possible pain. Primary victims of the destruction of the microbiome are Enterococcus Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. The destruction of these beneficial bacteria results in the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria including Clostridia. In the human population 2 out of every 3 people report Digestive Discomfort including gut diseases such as Crohn's, Celiac, IBD and IBS. In Western Canada we have the highest rate of Irritable Bowel Disease in the world, the highest levels of Glyphosate in our Food System and we allow and engage in the regional practice of staging and desiccation. Staging and Desiccation is the spraying of Weed Killer on non-GMO crops such as wheat, oats and barley 3 to 5 days prior to harvest.
Beneficial Bacteria in the digestive system of the horse may be up to 4000 times more susceptible to the antimicrobial action of Glyphosate and other antimicrobials than pathogenic microbes. This is especially important now that Dr. Seralini has disclosed the use of Arsenic in the formulation of many Agricultural Weed Killers. Arsenic is an antimicrobial. What this means to us as Horsemen and Horsewomen is that in the Digestive Tract of the horse the beneficial bacteria may be slaughtered, and the pathogenic bacteria may survive and thrive. In the absence of beneficial bacteria, the pathogens come out to play. At the same time as you have a compromised Immune System from inadequate levels of mineral bioavailability you may also be creating the optimum environment for pathogens to thrive.
The continuous carpet bombing of the equine digestive system by the un-prescribed antibiotic Glyphosate and the antimicrobial Arsenic from multiple feed sources and supplements destroys the health and viability of the microbial colonies that populate the fragile equine digestive system. At the very least this produces digestive discomfort. The resulting irritation and inflammation may have a negative impact on the success of performance horses such as racehorses, dressage horses, reining horses, hunter jumpers, cutting horses, working cow horses, etc.
Arsenic. The most recent Seralini study shows that one of the active elements in the most common Agricultural Weed Killers is Arsenic. Arsenic is a toxic Heavy Metal that is antimicrobial (digestive issues) as well as capable of damaging both the liver and the kidneys resulting in a multitude of systemic issues. The co-toxicity of Glyphosate and Arsenic is especially brutal as the Glyphosate binds with Arsenic and delivers it directly to the Kidneys potentially resulting in Chronic Kidney Disease. In the following chart the products that are preceded by R are Roundup products from Monsanto. The red bars show the levels of Arsenic (As) present in the formulas. It is thought that the Arsenic is from the petrochemical waste that is used in Agricultural Weed Killer.
Many industries and professions benefit from Agricultural Chemicals and the treatment of Chemical Induced Health Issues. Glyphosate-based Herbicides (GBH) in the USA are a $20 Billion business. Incremental revenue streams are counted in the hundreds of trillions and cloud the thinking of many professionals whose wallets and bank accounts are directly tied to Agricultural Weed Killers.
The erosion of the Immune System by the constant onslaught of chemical toxins results in systemic inflammation. Inflammation is at the root of disease.
Desiccation. In addition to Roundup Ready GMO crops sprayed with Roundup and other chemicals, in Western Canada, non-GMO crops (oats, barley, flax, wheat, etc.) other than organic are sprayed with Agricultural Weed Killers 3 to 5 days prior to harvest. The short time between application and harvest does not allow for the chemicals to deteriorate before the grains are harvested and shipped to commercial markets. These chemical burns could result in elevated levels of the chemical in the food we feed our horses. Some of the highest Glyphosate and Arsenic levels seen in bagged commercial horse feed are from ingredients that are non-GMO but are desiccated or staged with Roundup or equivalent chemicals 3 to 5 days prior to harvest. Words that best describe this practice include barbaric, horrific and stupid. The chemical composition of Agricultural Weed Kills is not that far removed from Agent Orange yet the politicians and so called Regulatory Agencies stand by and quietly allow this practice to continue.
Roundup Ready Alfalfa. With so many problems arising from the cultivation of Roundup Ready Alfalfa I hesitate to even discuss it. But it is here. It is our reality. With surplus RR Alfalfa available at reduced prices in the US market it is now being hauled into and sold in Canada. The growing of Roundup Ready Alfalfa is banned in Western Canada but somehow it is showing up at the feed stores. This is concerning in that any fugitive seeds may result in contamination of the entire conventional alfalfa crop and that would be most unfair to existing producers. Canadian growers who export to Europe or China, or sell to organic farmers, would lose income if their crops are cross-contaminated with genetically modified alfalfa, as their unmodified crops inevitably will. Recently I have tested Alfalfa from Washington State. The seller claimed not to know if it had been sprayed with Weed Killer or not. The test results showed high levels of Glyphosate and Arsenic. Glyphosate tested at over 1000 ppb. Alfalfa is grown by farmers who feed hay to grazing animals, including dairy and beef cattle, sheep and goats. It would be a shame to see these natural organic stands contaminated and to see the export markets become unavailable to Canadian Alfalfa producers. China, Japan and the entire EU has been very clear in its refusal to accept importation of Roundup Ready Alfalfa. The entire organic dairy and meat industries in Canada would be handicapped or should I say will be handicapped when the inevitable occurs if the supposed Regulators continue to stand by and do nothing.
But that is a different conversation than the focus of this article. You already know my concerns about how Agricultural Weed Killers can compromise Horse Health. With tests showing Glyphosate exceeding 1000 ppb in Roundup Ready Alfalfa brought into Canada from Washington State my concerns are amplified a hundred-fold. I wonder what Health Issues the combination of the regional practice of Desiccating grains that is linked to Equine Feed that exceeds 1000 ppb combined with Roundup Ready Alfalfa with significant levels of Glyphosate could possibly create? And this is just the Glyphosate which as bad as it is, in many ways is an indicator element alerting us to the potential damage of some of the other toxic elements in the formulations possibly including POEA, Arsenic and Oxalates.
Glyphosate Contamination of Supplements. Many supplements targeting the Equine Industry are contaminated with Glyphosate and Arsenic contaminated ingredients, often as inexpensive fillers. There is a reason that contaminated grains that have been sprayed with Agricultural Weed Killer are cheap. They are discounted below the price of grains that have not been sprayed with Weed Killers because they have been contaminated with Weed Killer. Supplement manufacturers are focused on optimizing profitability and achieving price points in their categories that allow them to compete and succeed. This is very different than Equine Health. It is important that you check all of the ingredients in any supplements you may be feeding your horse.
Grains and Lentils that are sprayed with Agricultural Weed Killers cannot be kept or used for seed because of damage to the germination process. That speaks loudly to me about the Safety of Chemical Contaminated Grains. There has only been two long term, independent studies on the Safety of Glyphosate. Both of them raised alarms. There have been no long term independent studies on the Safety of the full formulations of the Agricultural Weed Killers on the food that our horses eat.
The testing by government of Glyphosate has been done in isolation as a single ingredient. Independent testing of common Agricultural Weed Killers including adjuvants and surfactants has found that they are up to 125 times more toxic than Glyphosate on its own. There is only one reason that the so called Regulatory Agencies allow the chemical companies to get away with this questionable practice. Concealment of the truth of the negative health effects of glyphosate is critical to continuing the flow of profits to all who benefit. There are many beneficiaries of glyphosate who act as agents of the Chemocrocy that now rules our Agriculture Industry. My experience has been that many people are incapable of thinking beyond the thickness of their wallets and the size of their bank accounts.
Chelating Agent. In 1961, Glyphosate was originally registered as a pipe and boiler cleaner due to its powerful chelating action. U.S. patent # 3160632 A. This chelating action dramatically reduces the bioavailability of key minerals especially Manganese, Copper, Zinc and Iron. Compromised Nutritional Density is one of the major reasons to avoid Glyphosate Contaminated Horse Feeds. Compromised Nutritional Density depresses the effectiveness of the Immune System and fuels disease.
Soil Contamination. Depending on soil conditions, the potent chelating effect of Glyphosate may last for years. The half life of Glyphosate has been reported in some studies as being as high as 22 years. This is a long way from the early claims by the chemical industry of the absence of glyphosate in areas that are sprayed within 24 hours. This is a serious concern now that the Glyphosate concentration in Glyphosate based chemical has increased by 50% (360 to 540 gm) over the last two years. A Glyphosate Contaminated field reduces the Nutritional Density of all crops from the field for an extended and unknown period. Fields that are now being hayed but have been used for other purposes such as the production of GMO Corn that was sprayed with glyphosate continue to show glyphosate levels for years after the actual spraying has stopped. The same is true for grain farmers attempting to transition away from chemical sprayed fields and earn organic certifications. Depending on soil types and other environmental factors the glyphosate levels can continue to reside in the soil for decades making the transition difficult if not impossible for many. Once a field is contaminated with the toxic stew of chemicals that compose Agricultural Weed Killers the integrity of the soil is destroyed.
Mineral Deficiencies. As a Chelator the Descaling agents are effective binders, which grab onto and tie up minerals. Once glyphosate is combined with a mineral, it does not follow the normal degradation pathway and remains in the environment or biological systems for a long time. The mineral deficiencies seen in plants that have been sprayed with glyphosate continue to compromise the Nutritional Integrity of future crops. The crops may appear cosmetically healthy, but they are devoid of significant minerals thus creating a cascade of disease when consumed. Of the dozen key minerals that are blocked by the chelating action of Glyphosate, iron, manganese, copper and zinc are among the most troubling. Severe health conditions result from deficiencies of any of these minerals.
Stomach Inflammation and Irritation. Cattle and Hogs that are destined for slaughter at 18 and 6 months respectively when autopsied show serious inflammation levels in the stomachs and livers including lesions. The stomach and liver are good indicator organs to alert us to the possibility of systemic inflammation, damage, pain and suffering.
As I look at these pictures of pig stomachs from six-month-old animals I am saddened to see the how the Chemically Contaminated Livestock Feed has turned the stomachs to mush in these GM Fed Pigs. These photos reveal the severity of the damage caused by crops that are sprayed multiple times with Weed Killer during a growing season. No wonder aggression, agitation and anxiety are such problems in the Hog Industry and the Livestock Industry in general. If my stomach was irritated and inflamed like that I can assure you that I would not be happy and that my behavior would be somewhat grouchy at the very least.
Animal Cruelty? Whether it is pigs, cattle, chickens, sheep or horses someone would have to explain to me how the feeding of Agricultural Chemically Contaminated Commercial Feeds to Livestock is anything other than Animal Cruelty. To me this is an Animal Welfare issue. I do not believe that responsible people would want animals to suffer this way. It is for this reason that I call for the immediate elimination of the horrific practice of desiccation of grains with Weed Killer and the removal of chemically coated grains from animal feed supplies. The depth of suffering these animals face should be of great concern to mankind.
Bad Behavior. The Equine Liver is an amazing organ. The liver is the powerhouse of the body; it is a significant organ that works in partnership with every other organ in the body and therefore a diseased or compromised liver can have devastating repercussions.
One of the primary purposes of the liver is to detoxify the blood. As marvelous as the liver is and as hard working as it is even the liver has its limits and it can only do so much. Against all kinds of abuse from a constant flood of toxins the liver's ability to successfully detoxify the blood becomes compromised. At some point the liver can't keep up. The filtration capability of the liver is harmed and the capacity of the liver to detoxify the blood is reduced. When this happens the toxins overflow into the blood stream and are distributed to all of the wrong places including the brain. Inflammation of the brain is a serious, life threatening issue that produces significant behavioral shifts including anger, agitation and anxiety. At this point, some of the damage to the Neurological System may be irreparable. The immediate solution is to discontinue the source of the toxin.
Whenever I see an agitated, aggressive or anxious horse I wonder. Is the horse suffering from the neutralization of the digestive enzymes, the irritation of the digestive tract from antibiotic action or possible liver damage resulting in disturbing shifts in behavior? Or perhaps some or all of these? One cause; many possibilities. Immediate removal of the chemical toxin often produces quick results.
Here are two pictures that illustrate my concerns about the toxicity of Chemical Weed Killer in Livestock Feed.
Normal liver of a healthy calf.
Friable liver of calf fed soy-based feed with levels of Glyphosate exceeding 500 ppb.
As a Horseman I wonder what impact the Chemical Contaminated grains and complete feed might have on the fragile digestion system of horses? When you think of the horrific practice of Desiccation in Western Canada where lethal Weed Killer is sprayed on grains 3 to 5 days prior to harvest you really have to wonder what we are doing to our animals and ourselves, don't you? With our animals ingesting Chemical Residue I can't help but wonder to what degree this chemical poisoning is the cause of much of the harm and hurt I observe in horses. For many horse people the compromised health of their horses such as systemic body pain, digestive discomfort, behavioral issues, performance issues such as tying up and compromised hoof integrity have become the new normal.
Hoof Collapse. We have all heard the saying no hoof; no horse. Dr. Anthony Samsel, a noted Research Scientist, in a letter to the California Environmental Protection Agency reveals that he has analyzed tissues from pigs and cattle in the food supply as well as horses and found all tissues contaminated with glyphosate, particularly high levels in the bones and also horses' hooves. Dr. Samsel goes on to state that I have recently followed glyphosate from horse feed into the keratin of the animal's hooves. I have identified structural defects in the keratin protein found in collapsing hooves of horses. These animals eating contaminated feed have glyphosate bioaccumulating in all tissues. I have found it circulating in their blood, their urine, manure and keratin in the hooves. Dr. Samsel tells me that he has found in excess of 50 ppb glyphosate in the hooves of horses. Think about what he is saying. The Chemical Industry has declared Glyphosate to be the active ingredient in many of its Weed Killers. Dr. Samsel is confirming that he has found levels of Glyphosate as high as 50 ppb in the equine hoof.
These findings are consistent with my observations that horses fed Glyphosate Contaminated Grains and/or hay have weak hoofs and thin soles. Once again, the solution is obvious. Removal of Weed Killer contaminated food sources from horses will strengthen the health and hardiness of the hoof.
Glyphosate mimics and displaces glycine in the keratin which alters the integrity of the hoof and hinders the development of thick robust soles. Glyphosate is the major reason that so many horses need to be shod these days. The thickness of the sole is dependent on the stimulation of the receptors in the bottom of the foot and when the receptors are not being stimulated as would be the case when the hoof is elevated on Peripheral Loading Devices (shoes) the thickness of the sole is compromised. One of the reasons that many horses have trouble transitioning from being shod to barefoot is that they are being fed Glyphosate Contaminated Feed which compromises the health of their hoofs. It really isn't about being barefoot. It really is about the fact that without the steel devices to elevate them above the ground they are more dependent on the health of the hoof and it may be that the presence of the Weed Killer has compromised the hoof health.
We always hear how supplements are required to positively influence Hoof Health. I see it differently. First of all, I have noticed that some of the most heavily marketed hoof supplements are in fact contaminated with Glyphosate themselves. Secondly, I think that to positively influence Hoof Health we need to stop feeding horses toxins that bioaccumulate in their body and create disease.
Time and time again I see that horses with thin soles and weak hoofs bounce back once the toxins are removed from their diet and the keratin can form, free of the toxic influence of the Chemically Contaminated Week Killer.
If 30% of the hoof is composed of Keratin and 33% of the Keratin is composed of Glycine does that mean that in a hoof where Glycine has been displaced by Glyphosate that the integrity of the hoof is now reduced accordingly?
Glycine Analogue. As discussed above Glyphosate acts as an analogue to Glycine. It mimics and displaces Glycine in the production of protein. With increased levels of suspensory issues in horses one must wonder to what degree the collagen of horses in the suspensory system is contaminated and compromised by Glyphosate. In the horse, the suspensory ligament is a strong band of stiff collagen fibers that lies along the back of the cannon bone between the splints bones. It does exactly what its name implies. It suspends. Collagen is the major fibrous protein in the connective tissues and is the most abundant protein in the horse with the highest concentrations in the connective tissues, the joints and the muscle tissue. With the increase of Suspensory Injuries in performance horses, just like we see an increase in Achilles Tendon injuries among humans one has to wonder about the role that Glyphosate plays in reducing the integrity of the tissue.
The root of the word collagen is derived from the Greek root kolla, meaning glue. Collagen is the glue that holds all the pieces of the horse body together. It's the main structural protein found just about everywhere: bones, skin, soft tissues, digestive wall linings, muscles, tendons. Perhaps most importantly to performance horses, collagen gives the tissues and skin their elasticity. Glycine is the primary amino acid in collagen. It accounts for about 33% of the composition of Collagen. It is Glycine that Glyphosate mimics and displaces resulting in the reduced integrity of the equine suspensory system, and elsewhere. If Glyphosate displaces Glycine in the suspensory does that reduce the integrity of the Suspensory System by 30%? Could it be that horses that are fed Glyphosate Contaminated feed are performing with suspensory systems that have only a 70% level of integrity?
Antibiotic Resistance. An emerging area of concern is how Glyphosate contributes to the global threat posed by antibiotic resistance. New studies show that Glyphosate increases antibiotic resistance in both E. coli and salmonella. Simply stated, the University of Canterbury has found that Roundup makes bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
The call by the World Health Organization for an end to the unnecessary feeding of medically important antibiotics to herds of chickens, pigs, cattle and other food-producing animals is a vital step in the war to protect and preserve the rapidly dwindling antibiotic arsenal. The use of these antibiotics to promote rapid growth and prevent diseases that haven't even happened yet has created a global public health disaster. Without effective antibiotics, surgeries can be compromised, the cost of health care sky rockets and millions are diagnosed with diseases that are no longer effectively treated with antibiotics. As an example, over 480,000 people develop multi-drug resistant TB each year and it is complicating the fight against other diseases like malaria as well. We can no longer afford to waste these precious medicines.
While calling into question the misuse of antibiotics in the livestock industry an often unnoticed but significant area is the overuse of the antibiotic drug Glyphosate on the bacteria in the soil. Thousands are killed each year from antibiotic resistant diseases. The University of Canterbury researchers have found that exposure to the Chemical Weed Killers cause bacteria to alter their responses to antibiotics resulting in increased resistance. Without getting into the weeds, what has been discovered is that glyphosate essentially immunizes the bacteria to the antibiotics.
One of the authors of the University of Canterbury study, Dr. Heinemann reports that antibiotic resistance is the cause of nearly a million additional deaths worldwide from infectious diseases. The United States, for example, estimates that more than two million people are sickened every year with antibiotic-resistant infections, with at least 23,000 dying as a result. By 2050, resistance is estimated to add 10 million annual deaths globally with a cumulative cost to the world economy of $100 trillion (US). In other words, roughly twice the population of New Zealand will be lost annually to antibiotic resistance.
Yes, it is good that actions are being taken to restrict the use and misuse of antibiotics in the livestock industry, but this recent research shows that producers of field crops that spray Chemical Weed Killers on the soil also need to be held accountable for the part they play in this Global Public Health Crisis.
Future historians will look back on our time and write not about how many pounds of pesticides we do or don't apply, what they'll write about is how willing we are to sacrifice our children and jeopardize future generations just for this massive experiment that we called genetic engineering that's based on failed promises, flawed science just to benefit the bottom line of a commercial enterprise. Dr. Don Huber
Fusarium and other Soil Pathogens. Different than the situation with the creation of the antibiotic resistance bacteria but similar is the destruction of beneficial bacteria in the soil by Glyphosate which then results in increased pathogenic activity. The presence of the pathogen Fusarium and the related mycotoxin DON can be significantly accelerated by up to 500% with the presence of Glyphosate. Glyphosate in the soil destroys the beneficial microbes allowing pathogens such as Fusarium to flourish. Repeated glyphosate applications in consecutive growing seasons could cause Fusarium levels to snowball and severely reduce the value of the crop and the field. The Economic Impact of Glyphosate and Fusarium Contaminated land could be significant. I believe that Fusarium is under-reported because of how it links to the production capacity of land and land values. Anyone considering the purchase of farm land should seriously consider extensive testing of the soil to confirm its integrity and ability to successfully produce. Glyphosate Contaminated Land (GCL) could be subject to heavy discounting. The remediation costs incurred by a new purchaser to restore the vitality of the soil and its ability to produce successful, nutritious crops may be very significant and could take years to achieve.
As if Glyphosate Contamination on GMO Roundup Ready crops and soils weren't enough of a health and economic concern, in Western Canada, thanks to the regional practice of Desiccating non-GMO crops with Glyphosate based chemicals 3 to 5 days prior to harvest, Canada now grows some of the dirtiest grains on the planet. An analysis of the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) Report of 7800 foods worldwide shows that Canadian grains carry the highest level of Glyphosate contamination. I suspect that the same would also be true for the other elements in the toxic stew of Agricultural Weed Killers. It is likely that our grain also has the highest levels of Arsenic, POEA and Oxalates. This decreases the desirability of our grains worldwide and seriously compromises the credibility of the Canadian agricultural sector. Some countries now require the fumigation of Canadian grain and lentils with Methyl Bromide prior to importation and other countries require labeling that the grain is from Canada.
DON and other Mycotoxins. Any potential purchaser of land should, in addition to extensively testing for residual Glyphosate levels in the soil, also test for Fusarium. The link between Glyphosate and Fusarium is clear and in the coming years the issues related to Fusarium will become better known by the public. One of the mycotoxins produced by Fusarium is DON (Deoxynivalenol) and I have personally seen very alarming levels in test results from grain fields on the prairies. In livestock feed I have seen test results for DON that are more than twice the allowable level of DON for horses. The Continuum between Glyphosate, Fusarium, Mycotoxins (DON) and Horse Health might be one of the reasons that so many people are looking to shift away from commercial bagged feeds and other products manufactured at Feed Mills. As a Horseman my #1 selection criteria is Safety and without any long-term studies proving the Safety of applying Weed Killer to grains 3 to 5 days prior to harvest and with so many potential health issues that are linked to Glyphosate Contamination and the other toxic elements in the formulations of Chemical Weed Killers I can see why so many are wondering if Commercial Bagged Feeds are a safe, viable option any longer. The last thing any of us want is a Chemical Damaged Horse. Prevention is the best way of avoiding that possibility.
Hay for Horses. The level of Chemical Contamination by Glyphosate the Active Ingredient, but not the only damaging ingredient, in the most common Agricultural Weed Killers is increasingly of concern to Horse Health and the safety of Horse Hay. Of special importance to horses are how the Antibiotic Glyphosate effects the microbial activity and health of the Digestive System, how Glyphosate as a Chelating Agent binds with, ties up and blocks the bioavailability of minerals leading to compromised Immune Systems among other things and how Glyphosate could mimic and displace Glycine in the creation of proteins resulting in the compromised integrity of collagen. To help people understand the potential dangers of Glyphosate in Horse Hay I have created the 8 Levels of Concern.
The 8 Levels of Concern for Chemical Contamination in Horse Hay are:
Level 8 Yellow Hay. Chemically desiccated and then cut prior to reseeding. Not yellow. Looks like regular hay. (Scary!)
Level 7 Roundup Ready Alfalfa (up to 1000 ppb)
Level 6 Hay Fields fertilized with manure containing Glyphosate Residue typically from Soy or Corn based Livestock Feed. (100 to 1000 ppb)
Level 5 Soil Chemically Burned prior to planting (10 to 100 ppb)
Level 4 Overspray (very wide range depending on magnitude of overspray could exceed 1000 ppb)
Level 3 Chemical Drift (typically under 100 ppb)
Level 2 Regional Atmospheric Contamination (hopefully under 10 ppb)
Level 1 Clean, Safe, Nutritious Hay for Horses (0 ppb)
Having immersed myself in the study and investigation of the unintended biological consequences of Chemical Weed Killers on Horses my initial focus was on the damage caused by the desiccation of grains 3 to 5 days prior to harvest, not allowing the chemical sufficient time to deteriorate. Of late I have become increasingly concerned with the presence of Glyphosate in Horse Hay. In the densely populated area that I live the removal of livestock manure from high density, industrial barns is an expensive proposition. At the same time hay producers are attracted to the concept of not just inexpensively but also naturally fertilizing their hay fields with manure. Much of the manure in my area is from Industrial Chicken Barns that rely on Soy and Corn for Poultry Feed. Both Soy and Corn are heavily sprayed with chemicals. This facilitates the contamination of hay crops with Glyphosate and results in Level 6 of the Levels of Concern shown above. People think they are doing the right thing by fertilizing with a natural product. Unfortunately, the natural product is heavily contaminated with chemicals and the unintended biological consequences can be significant.
Our horses, with their fragile digestive systems do not tolerate oral antibiotics very well. The practice of fertilizing hay fields with Glyphosate contaminated manure can lead to the unintended and unprescribed exposure of Antibiotics to our horses. Unlike standard protocols for prescribed Antibiotics which are for short periods of time this low level, unintended exposure to the antibiotic Glyphosate is one that continues 24/7 for the entire time that the horse is exposed to the contaminated hay.
Organic Livestock Feed. A refreshing development in the world of horse feed is that more feed mills are starting to offer an organic complete feed. For those that want to provide grains to their horses this is a major step forward. It is as if the livestock feed industry is tip toeing into the organic segment of horse feed. This is curious when you consider that other animals that are destined for slaughter (beef, hogs, chickens, etc.) and are guaranteed shorted lives can now be raised on an extensive array of organic options that have not been sprayed with Agricultural Weed Killer. I am told by industry insiders that since the input costs for organic feed is more expensive the profit margins are not as strong as they are in the traditional horse feed industry, so feed mills are dragging their feet for fear of cannibalizing their own profit margins on existing non-organic brands.
While Weed Killer Contamination of GMO crops is a serious concern an equally pressing issue is the use of Weed Killer on crops 3 to 5 days prior to harvest. This is essentially a regional practice most extensively seen in the prairie provinces of Western Canada. In my opinion, any amount of Glyphosate is a public health danger. The horrific and barbaric practice of spraying the Chemical Weed Killer on grains 3 to 5 days prior to harvest has become our dirty little secret. No sane person could suggest that to do so is acceptable. Desiccation needs to stop. And when desiccation stops we will see a significant increase in the health of horses, in fact all livestock, in Western Canada. For the users and others who benefit financially from this practice the hit to their wallets and bank accounts may be felt. The benefits to mankind and our animals will be amazing.
Regional Crisis? When I talk with others across North America about my concerns about how Chemical Weed Killer is ruinous to horse health what becomes clear is that the magnitude of the damage we see in Western Canada is different than what is experienced in other areas. The rate of harm and hurt to our horses is in direct relationship to the desiccation of our grains with Agricultural Chemicals 3 to 5 days prior to harvest. More Weed Killer sprayed grains results in more unhealthy horses. It could be that to some degree what we see in Western Canada is a Regional Crisis. It is one that must stop. To continue the hurt and harm of our animals is Animal Cruelty.
In My Opinion Ross Buchanan
NO Conflict of Interest
I hereby certify that I have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest in the subject matter, nor do I profit personally. Ross Buchanan
Resource Information…information worth knowing. -----------------------------------------------END CONTENT----------------------------------------------------->