Canadian cattle die from grain overdose

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Jan 14, 2005
by WLJ
— Investigation initiated.
More than 150 cattle were found already dead late last week and another 20 were euthanized in a central Alberta feedlot after they were fed too much high-concentrate grain upon entering the facility, Canadian veterinarian sources said
The situation happened just days after the feedlot went into receivership and was seized by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
Acute carbohydrate ingestion, or simple overload, appeared to be the cause of the deaths, said Kee Jim, a veterinarian who was called in to investigate Sunday morning by the Calgary-based receiver, Deloitte and Touche.
“Cattle lack the biological mechanisms to stop themselves from overeating,” said Jim.
Pasture grass isn't rich enough to do them harm no matter how much they eat, but grain—typically used to fatten cattle in a feedlot just before they are sent to slaughter—is a different story. Jim said feedlots need to slowly increase the amount of grain in the cattle's rations to give them time to adjust.
The value of the dead cattle was estimated at about $150,000. They will be sent to a rendering plant.
Officials from the Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPC) said last week it will likely take a week to decide if they will lay charges in the case of dozens of cattle that died after being given the wrong feed.
“There's a lot on information that has to be gathered," SPCA Constable Ken Dean said. “We're still at that gathering stage and it's too early to make that kind of commitment.
“We need to know who is responsible for what (and) at what times they were responsible for it," said Dean, one of a number of special constables appointed by the Alberta government to enforce animal health and welfare legislation. — WLJ