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
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
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