ABSTRACT

Agricultural pesticides are designed to address specific challenges in designated production

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practices such as weed control, fungal diseases, bacterial diseases, and nematodes, but their impact on other components in the agricultural system or their unintended consequences are seldom considered and easily overlooked, even when those impacts can threaten the sustainability of major sections of agriculture. In my 50 years as a practicing veterinarian, I have seen the unintended consequences of various so-called “specific” pesticides; however, the herbicide glyphosate is perhaps the embodiment of the many things detrimental to animal production and sustainability. Although commercialized as an herbicide to kill weeds and unwanted vegetation, glyphosate also is patented as a very potent antibiotic (US patent 7771736B2). This patent is based on glyphosate’s action on the shikimate pathway of bacteria. Glyphosate also is patented as a mineral chelator and was utilized as a pipe cleaner prior to usage to control plant growth. As an antibiotic, glyphosate leads to pathogen resistance to other antibiotics. It is water-soluble and systemic in plants and animals, and can bioaccumulate in all tissues. It is the most extensively used agricultural pesticide in the world, and the formulated weed killer is often falsely promoted as the safest product to use. This chapter describes numerous clinical situations that illustrate glyphosate toxicity to animals and its remediation by removal of the glyphosate source. Glyphosate toxicity to animals results from microbiome imbalance leading to gut dysbiosis, chelation affecting the bioavailability of essential minerals, endocrine dysfunction, and competition with glycine as a synthetic amino acid. Common levels of glyphosate observed in feeds are presented as tested at certified laboratories. Physiological malfunctions are described with resulting signs in affected animals, and case discussions are presented with diagnosis, remediation, conclusions, and references. Chemical and pesticide effects must be evaluated with strict humane considerations to animals.