Guest Author - Kim Wende
Do you read the labels on your horses feed? If not get into the habit of doing so. There are some feeds on the market that still use BHA, BHT, Ethoxyquin and other artificial additives. Chemicals in the feed are toxic to the horses body which leads to poor health and chronic diseases.
Ethoxyquin is one ingredient that you want to be suspicious of. It is a preservative that was developed in the 1950s as a rubber stabilizer and is also a fungicide. It is used as a fungicide on fruit trees, is a herbicide, and is used as a rubber preservative in tires. Did you know that ethoxyquin and agent orange are very similar?
Ethoxyquin is made by Monsanto the largest manufacturer of bio-engineered foods and they claim it is safe. It is listed as a hazardous chemical by OSHA. There have been documented cases of factory workers in the rubber industry that have developed skin cancer, liver damage, kidney disease, blindness and leukemia.
It is used to protect fats from rancidity and acts as preservative in some horse feeds. In lab animals it has caused bladder complications, DNA mutations, renal cancer and an increased risk of stomach tumors.
There are those that will say that lab animals have been given a high dose so you shouldn't worry about the low amount in the feed, but there is no way to know the long-term effects to an animals health by eating this chemical. Toxins build up over time and can cause problems that you wouldn't think to relate to this preservative.
Ethoxyquin is not only found in some grains, but it is also found in some pelleted or cubed hay. Black rubber feed tubs and buckets which are made from recycled tires also have ethoxyquin. If you water your horse using one of these buckets the ethoxyquin will be picked up by the water.
If you don't want this in your horse's feed do your research because if the manufacturer does not add it to the final mix they don't have to put it on the label. Ethoxyquin can still be in the ingredients that the manufacturer buys.
So how can you choose feed for your horse that does not have ethoxyquin in it? The best thing to do is to buy from a reputable source that takes a firm stand against adding these preservatives.
If you decide to switch feeds make sure you do it over several days so that you don't upset your horse's digestive system. To make the switch add in the new feed with your old feed gradually and give them a good pre or probiotic.