Sickly GM-fed cows

October 2013

Photo credit: See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Dairy farming is a major industry. Modern veterinary science has well-established normal reference values for the blood chemistry of cows: a rise or fall in key blood components signals disease in specific organs.

The expected norm in a dairy herd is healthy animals demonstrating normal blood biochemistry.

European dairy cows are now routinely fed on commercial concentrated feed consisting of soya, maize and other grains. The feed is designed to promote optimum milk production.

Strange, therefore, that a study of 240 cows drawn from eight different (run-of-the-mill) farms in Denmark should all show signs of liver and muscle toxicity, and some had impaired kidney function also.

It seems the new norm in our dairy herds is that they are sickly.

The trial couldn't, of course, establish cause-and-effect, but a suspicious finger was pointed at the GM content of their feed, and in particular, its glyphosate herbicide contamination levels.

An important clue was found in the results of measurements of two vital trace elements in the cows' blood: cobalt and manganese were almost entirely non-existent. Glyphosate binds to these minerals, making them unavailable to the consuming animal (see below).

Effects of cobalt and manganese deficiency

GM Watch notes that:
  • Cobalt deficiency in animals leads to appetite loss, poor growth, wasting, failure to thrive and eventual death.
  • Manganese deficiency in animals causes to birth defects in newborn animals, notably skeletal deformities, and stillborn foetuses.
These symptoms in connection with glyphosate may sound familiar. Check out

There's no doubt that our major food-producing animals have chronic glyphosate intoxication. Commercial feed is certainly contaminated with glyphosate, and more so now that it contains a goodly measure of glyphosate-tolerant GM soya and maize. Herds will also be exposed to glyphosate in many other ways (see SPRAYED TO DEATH BY GLYPHOSATE - September 2012).

During the study, the actual levels of glyphosate intake by the cows was assessed by testing their urine: all were positive. The authors point out that the observed varying levels of kidney impairment, and the possible conversion of the glyphosate to an unmeasured derivative in the cows, could mean their measurements of glyphosate exposure were actually underestimates.


Why is all this a concern? 

One, were are eating produce from sickly animals. 

Two, many studies have established that humans on both sides of the Atlantic, including farmers and city dwellers, have glyphosate flowing through their bodies. There's no reason to suppose that the same substance which seems to be linked to toxicity and fertility problems in animals won't have similar effects on us. 

Glyphosate has been in our food chain for decades, but it's only recently that GM crops designed to accumulate the herbicide have featured in a major way. It's taken an unacceptably long time for anyone to test what modern, glyphosate-laced, feed is doing to our dairy herds. 

No one has yet dared test what glyphosate-laced food might be doing to us.

  • Monika Krűger, et al., 2013, Field Investigations of Glyphsate in Urine of Danish Dairy Cows, Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology, 3:5
  • Glyphosate is toxic to dairy cows, GM Watch, 2013

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