(NaturalNews) Pigs who consume feed with low concentrations of the herbicide glyphosate (also marketed as Roundup) give birth to piglets with a wide array of severe defects, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Leipzig, Germany, and Sadat City University in Egypt, in collaboration with Danish pig farmer Ib Borup Pedersen. The study was published in the Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology.
The higher the glyphosate levels, the higher the rate of birth defects.
"It shocks me that the industry does not take the evidence of Roundup's and glyphosate's harmful effects more serious than it does," Pedersen said in April, when he publicly called for a ban on glyphosate use on animal feed prior to harvest.
Huge increase in defects
The study found that, when the feed given to sows during the first 40 days of pregnancy contained 0.25 parts per million (ppm) of glyphosate, the rate of birth defects in piglets went up to one in 1,432. When the glyphosate concentration was increased to between 0.87 ppm and 1.13 ppm, the birth defect rate jumped to one in 260.
The abnormalities included cranial and spinal deformity, ear atrophy, leg atrophy, absence of a trunk and "elephant tongue." One female piglet was born with testes, while another piglet had a swollen belly, with a foregut and hindgut that did not connect. One was born with cyclopia, a condition in which only a single large eye develops that has also been seen in farm animals exposed to Roundup spraying in Argentina.
The researchers euthanized all the piglets and analyzed their bodies, finding glyphosate in every single organ and tissue. The chemical was found in highest concentrations in the lungs and heart.
Danish farmer calls for GMO ban
The study was initiated after Pederson unwittingly carried out his own pilot experiments. Three years ago, Pederson began giving his pigs only non-GM (genetically modified) soy feed. When he made the switch, he immediately noticed a decrease in ulcers, bloating and piglet diarrhea, and an increase in appetite and milk yield.
"We have increased [litters] by 1.8 pigs per sow since we switched to non-GM soy," he said.
Recently, however, Pederson ran out of non-GM feed and decided to give the standard GM feed a try.
"My herdsman came immediately and told me about lack of appetite in sows and diarrhea in piglets, though I had not told him that it was GM soy that was in the feed trough," he said.
The rate of birth defects among piglets also jumped dramatically.
"The National Institute of Animal Science already showed 25 years ago that Roundup could harm animals," Pedersen said. "Aarhus University also says that there is damage even at lower doses than permitted levels."
He stated further, "But the unfortunate and incredible [thing] is that the authorities do not take this evidence seriously."
Pederson notes that, contrary to rumors that are prominent in the agriculture business, it is still possible to purchase non-GM soybeans.
"Of course it can be purchased, and the price premium is 40-50 kroner per 100 kg, but then Denmark can set an example in providing food that does not harm consumers," he said.
But according to Pederson, farmers can quickly make back the extra cost in better herd health.
"And then the farmers would not find it hard to stand by the products they produce," he said.
Although calling for a ban on GM feed, Pederson says he does not blame individual farmers for using the GM products. Instead, he blames industry, government and farmers' associations for ignoring and covering up the risks.
"We've never been told the truth about the dark side of the chemical agents," he said.