In the beginning of 2011, one of the nations senior scientists, Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue University alerted the federal government to an organism that might cause infertility and spontaneous abortion in farm animals and might also pose a significant health risk to humans. The organism is a microscopic pathogen that appears to significantly impact the health of plants and animals. The pathogen is “widespread, very serious, and is in much high concentrations in Roundup Ready soybeans and corn.”
Dr. Huber’s letter was timed to discourage the USDA from approving round-up ready alfalfa. His research showed that animals that feed on FM corn or soybeans may suffer serious health problems due to the pathogen. Dr. Huber did acknowledge that the source could be the GM properties of the plants or the pesticide, glyphosate, that causes the pathogen. Dr. Huber’s letter to Senator Vilsack cited a figure of 450 out of 1000 pregnant heifers fed wheatlage experienced spontaneous abortions and infertility rates in diary heifers of over 20% and spontaneous abortions in cattle as high as 45%. Some farmers have also observed more health issues in livestock since the introduction of GMO food crops in the late 1990s. While these problems, including ulcers, reproductive and immune issues could come from a variety of sources, some of these symptoms
Glyphosate reduces manganese in plants which is essential for plant defense reactions to disease or environmental stress. The glyphosate kills weeds by tying up essential micronutrients in the soil weakening weeds so pathogens in the soil kill them. However this has increased the virulence of the pathogens that kill plants. The micronutrients in the soil are important to human health, and are being reduced in availability by glyphosate around the world.
Don Huber’s professional experience before researching glyphosate was studying the threat of biological warfare and even took part in the negotiation of bio-terrorism treaties with the Soviet Union on behalf of the U.S. government.
The especially disturbing aspect of these findings, are that Dr. Huber sent a letter detailing the dangers of Roundup ready crops to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Vilsack decided to deregulate Roundup Ready Alfalfa. Additionally, many believe that GMO alfalfa is unnecessary because alfalfa competes well with weeds in a well-managed system.