In 2002, the Cattlemen’s Association gave a statement to US Congress on the serious and puzzling rises in reproductive problems. It said: “high numbers of foetuses are aborting for no apparent reason. Other farmers successfully raise what look to be normal young cattle, only to learn when the animals are butchered that their carcasses appear old and, therefore, less valuable...The sporadic problem is so bad both in the United States and abroad that in some herds around 40-50 percent of pregnancies are being lost.. [and] the viability of this important industry is threatened.”
Glyphosate appears to be able to induce reproductive failures through three separate mechanisms. The first, mentioned above is the endocrine dysfunction caused by direct toxicity of glyphosate.
The second is the reduced nutrient content having consequential effects on the nutritional status of animals. Manganese in animals, as in plants, is an essential nutrient, and deficiencies have been associated with a variety of diseases as well as reproductive failures, which are becoming increasingly common in livestock. One study performed in Australia following two seasons of high levels of stillbirths in cattle found that all dead calves were manganese deficient . Furthermore, 63 percent of babies with birth defects were also deficient. Manganese is known to be important for mobilising calcium into bones, correlating with abnormal bone formation in these calves.
Third, the unknown pathogenic ‘entity’ may be associated with inducing pseudo-pregnancies. As far back as 1998, a suspect agent was found in reproductive tissue of livestock. It has now been isolated in high concentrations from semen, amniotic fluid as well as placental tissue. It has also been found in aborted foetal tissue. Some farms are reporting up to 50 percent fewer conceptions in animals due to increased miscarriages and pseudo-pregnancies. Although evidence of the widespread presence of this new pathogen is clear, Don Huber suggested the need for further research to understand not only what kind of pathogen it is, but importantly, the effects it is having on the health of plants as well as animals.
Over 100 peer reviewed papers have been published by Huber and other scientists on the detrimental effects of glyphosate. Glyphosate increases disease in plants (as well as animals), prompting Huber to write to the Secretary of Agriculture. It may be linked to many health problems in animals and humans, which are an added cost to all the failed promises of a new agricultural technology that would feed the world. As Huber concluded, the “public trust has been betrayed.”
A fully illustrated and referenced version of this report is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here.