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The Dangers of Genetically Modified OrganismThe Dangers of GMO: Genetically Modified Organism

GMO, genetically modified organism, involves the insertion or deletion of genes to create a certain outcome or purpose. Crops already induced are the following: canola, honey, cotton, rice, soybean, sugar cane, tomatoes, corn, sweet corn, potatoes, flax, papaya, squash, red-hearted chicory, peas and sugar beets. Now alfalfa is being added to the list thus spurring this tip.

Crops being genetically modified like corn, sugar beets, soybeans and rice are ingredients commonly found in equine grain mixes and pelleted feeds. Beet pulp may be found in processed feeds also but it is often used in addition to the ration for fiber and calories. The introduction of GM crops has had an impact on the equine diet but not quite as much as the genetically modified alfalfa will have.

Genetically modified crops are generally altered for chemical herbicide application. The crop may be sprayed with a plant killing chemical to eliminate weeds but will not kill the crop itself. For the farmer they need to purchase the seeds and purchase the correct chemical herbicide that the seed has been genetically modified for to withstand or survive its application. It’s much like having to purchase a specific bolt to fit a specific bicycle to match a specific bicycle tire. The company makes additional income without allowing customers to utilize a standardized item.

A farmer’s freedom is lost from there on. Once a GM seed has been grown in their soil, there is no turning back. Additionally, every farmer in the neighborhood will more than likely have GMO contamination in their crop whether they wanted it or not. This in itself is leading farmers into serious issues with the chemical company and/or any farmers attempting to grow organic.

There was not much research done prior to GMO introduction in the early 1990s. It was sold as a cure all weed solution for farmers but repercussions are surfacing. Just like anything that sounds too good to be true, these repercussions are not only affecting the health of crops but these crops are nutritionally falling short in maintaining healthy livestock, let alone the health of our population. Are people eating more because their bodies are still seeking missing nutrients?

Early on with the introduction of GM crops, the trace nutrient manganese was not being supplied in the plants by nutrient up-take from the soil. Other important nutrients have been added to the list. Immunity in the plant, to deter plant disease, on top of missing nutritional values is compromising the health of livestock. Is this affecting our horses? Now it may not be due to their diet being predominately forage. What is going to happen when alfalfa is genetically modified? There are plenty of studies indicating how GM grains have impacted cattle, pigs, even our soils.
The US farm is changing and the way we feed our horses is going to have to evolve to overcome these nutritional challenges. We will see further ill effects down the trail when GM forages do not contain the nutrients horses need.
This tip was brought to you by Kendra Helfter and KAM Animal Services, home of KAM’s “Equine Learning Circle” FREE webinars, which take place monthly. These webinars are an expansion of KAM’s weekly tips. Go to www.kamanimalservices.com to sign up for the next webinar. The June 13 FREE webinar features detoxing, electrolytes and equine first aid. July 18 will discuss how to care for inflammation.