GMO versus non-GMO horse feed: an important difference or a fad?

A look at the difference between non-GMO horse feed and commercial GMO brands, and why the former is the better choice!

Non-GMO foods for humans and horses are the “craze du jour”. But many people still don’t know the benefits of avoiding GMOs, and don’t think twice before picking up GMO feed for their horses. Although GMO feeds are typically cheaper, they’re filled with ingredients that can harm your equine companions. Let’s take a closer look!

The truth about GMO ingredients

Many ingredients including wheat, corn, soybeans, canola, alfalfa and sugar beets are often genetically engineered to allow for treatment with glyphosate (commercially known as Roundup). These products – known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) – are routinely sprayed with Roundup to eliminate weeds and increase yield.

A growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems and environmental damage. GMO wheat has been linked to heart disease and digestive issues, while GMO soybean meal has been shown to cause allergies and block phytoestrogens in the body. In more than 60 countries around the world – including Australia, Japan and the European Union – GMOs are required to be labeled. However, GMOs are not required to be labeled in the United States and Canada.

In one year alone, up to 287 million pounds of glyphosate herbicides are sprayed on crops in the US. What’s more, the USDA allows up to 400ppm of this chemical compound in finished livestock feed – that’s more than the average ppm of zinc, copper, cobalt, manganese, and selenium combined in most horse feeds.

How does GMO feed affect your horse?

Trace minerals have critical jobs in your horse’s body that keep her bones, muscles, heart, and brain functioning properly. In 1964, glyphosate was patented as a mineral chelator to remove mineral buildup (scaling) in boilers. In other words, glyphosate binds with trace minerals to prevent scaling. This binding action also makes trace minerals bio-unavailable to your horse.

In 2010, Monsanto patented glyphosate as an antibiotic. By using the same process that kills plants, glyphosate also kills digestive microbes. Without these microbes, the horse’s digestive system becomes weak, ulcers can develop, and the immune system weakens. A poorly functioning digestive system in the horse can present as behavioral issues, a lack of focus and increased excitability. Simply said – unhealthy gut, unhealthy horse.

The alternative to GMO horse feed

Non-GMO horse feeds are not sprayed with glyphosate. This means that there is no risk to the trace mineral balance in your horse, or to her digestive system. These are clean products – free of chemicals and herbicides and made with the health of your animal in mind. With any luck, this “fad” will stick around, and the feed industry will be safer for all horses!