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From: TSS (
Subject: Feed Mill Faces Charges in Horse Deaths
Date: October 6, 2003 at 9:30 am PST

Feed Mill Faces Charges in Horse Deaths
Contact: Jane Larson
MADISON--A Cottage Grove feed mill will likely face charges because of manufacturing mistakes that led to the deaths of 12 horses.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection submitted a criminal complaint with the Dane County District Attorney's office against the Cottage Grove Cooperative. The complaint includes five counts of violating Wisconsin's Feed Law. This could result in a fine of $1,000 based on the maximum penalty available under state statutes which is $200 per violation. The cooperative has agreed not to contest the charges and has cooperated with department during the investigation.

The DATCP investigation found that in early August 2003, the feed mill mixed beef cattle feed that was to contain the animal drug monensin. Evidence shows that the drug was incorrectly added to the horse feed that was made next for a local Belgian horse breeder. Monensin, approved for use in cattle and poultry, is toxic to horses.

The first horse died on August 26. Five sick horses were taken to the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. The vet school contacted the state agriculture department to investigate. A total of 12 horses from the same farm died.

The violations include the manufacture and distribution of an adulterated animal feed; violations of good manufacturing practices as required by law; unapproved use of an animal drug; and failure to maintain an adequate drug inventory.

The coop opened the new feed mill in July 2003.

"It appears that unfamiliarity with new equipment contributed to the errors," said Dave Fredrickson, director of investigation and compliance. "We also found problems with the portion of the manufacturing process called the hand-add system. This is where small amounts of ingredients like drugs or minerals, are added to the feed mix," Fredrickson explained.

In addition to the monetary penalties, DATCP will place the feed mill under a special order that places specific conditions on their license for two years. The order requires that any medicated feed made at the mill for the next several weeks, be sampled and held until laboratory tests confirm its safety.

Other requirements of the order include: review and update of all feed manufacturing procedures; horse feed will not be mixed on days when cattle feed containing monensin or lasalocid, a similar drug, is made; feed samples will be taken to demonstrate that procedures are adequate to prevent adulterated feed; and verify drug inventories on a daily basis.

"Once the required procedures are in place, this should greatly reduce the risk of future incidents," Fredrickson said.

This case is also a reminder to all Wisconsin feed mills.

"Every mill has to exercise caution. This is not the first time where horses have died because monensin was in the feed. Good manufacturing practices and accurate record keeping can prevent these tragedies," Fredrickson said.

Dane County Assistant District Attorney Tim Verhoff assisted the department.


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