Equine Drug Addicts

The debate about whether or not to allow a diuretic to be injected into horses on race day has been raging for several years.  A 2009 article in New York Times referenced a study done in 2007 in South Africa on 167 race horses supposedly showing that Lasix reduced incidences of a condition in race horses referred to as Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH) – commonly called “bleeding” within the industry – and labeled an “occupational disease”. (1)  That study was touted by some (obviously those trainers using the drug in horses) as the ‘end to the discussion’… no one needed to ever question the use of Lasix (trade name for furosemide) or its effectiveness; veterinarians were a little more cautious in their analysis of the study results but nevertheless continued prescribing or administering it.

It is interesting to note that the race performance results of the South African study were made public but the endoscopic results themselves were only made available to the owner & trainer.  South Africa (as well as much of Europe) bans race day use of Lasix (an exception was made for this study); however the cost of using this drug in the US – where it is generally not banned on race day – is about $30 million! (2)  It is estimated that about 95% of all race horses in the US race on Lasix. (3)  Racing against horses in the US has been likened to racing against “septic tanks” by those from countries where race day use of drugs is banned.  It appeared to me that this “positive” study seemed to be designed simply to justify the use of Lasix as it (horses running faster and winning more money) had already been “demonstrated in a study of over 22,000 Thoroughbred race horses”. (4)

The same author (Joe Drape, New York Times) that wrote the 2009 article recently came out with another article in the NYT the other day (Dec 16, 2013) – it caught my attention because of the issues I have just recently had with my mother being on Lasix (especially IV) and have been reading as much as I can find on it.  In a study done on 55 two-year-olds in early November (2013), results showed that significant bleeding was much higher in the horses given Lasix than those not given the drug; furthermore five of those Lasix horses scored in the “high” range of the bleeding scale.  The principal veterinarians in this recent study emphasized that the question was not whether Lasix was good or bad, but whether or not racing without it caused harm. (5)  That statement, IMO, directly translates into…’if Lasix can’t be used, we will find or develop another drug to use’.

My elderly (currently 93) mother recently spent several days in the hospital during which time she was given IV Lasix at 40mg daily for several days.  I started seeing what I highly suspected was an allergic reaction to it a couple days prior to her discharge, however was hoping it would not culminate in much (and the doctors did not seem in the least concerned) – but I was wrong; within a few days of coming home (and continuing the 40mg Lasix orally) she developed a major hive/itching reaction over much of her body, especially lymph node areas.  She has been conventionally diagnosed with transudative CHF (congestive heart failure) which is why the diuretic (Lasix) was given (I managed to stop the other multiple drugs).  Without going into a lot of detail, for those of you who know me I do not typically resort to using conventional drugs of any type for myself or those under my care, prescription or OTC – drugs do not heal anything, they suppress the symptomology by various methods. My mother, however, reached a point of significant pulmonary effusion that I did not see any other way around both trying to get the fluid off and attempting to keep it from building back up; obviously the fluid itself was not the problem but a result of much deeper underlying issues.  Fluid can certainly be removed manually in a relatively safe, quick procedure * but one has to wait until the doctors are ready to do so.  Thankfully a thoracentesis was finally done and which greatly relieved the fluid build-up (if that had been done immediately there would have been no need for any Lasix – 1400 mls was removed from the right pleural cavity).  As of this writing she is not accumulating fluid even having being taken off the Lasix shortly after coming home and is doing considerably better.  She is on upper level doses of organic Dandelion extract as well as Juniper essential oil (in addition to quite a few heart specific supplements and other EO’s) and this protocol seems to be working quit well.  Because of the Lasix reaction I went on a research mission to try to understand the mechanism by which this occurred.  During the months prior to her hospitalization I had been seeing definite lymphatic involvement, and I felt that played a significant role.  It is curious that on lymphedema websites, diuretics are specifically contraindicated unless the patient has concurrent CHF; the general notion being that CHF is more fatal than lymphedema, even though the diuretic can exacerbate the lymphedema.  I could not find any other references to the lymphatic system in researching this until just the other day.  Apparently the lymphatic system is a very little understood process in the human body (which means it is also little understood in animals).  But I think understanding this relationship holds the keys to understanding why drugs such as Lasix can have undesirable effects at best, and deadly at worst, on race horses.  I finally came across on article in which this relationship is being looked at in human medicine…

Conventional diuretics seem rather benign – after all they are often simply called “water pills”.  But this is very deceptive – in non-medical terms, a loop diuretic interrupts the natural process that typically occurs in the loop of Henle, causing the kidneys to excrete more water and sodium than would normally be, essentially creating a state of dehydration; this is the “standard” treatment protocol for most cases of CHF.  The effect this has upon the lymphatic fluid is that water is not being reabsorbed as it normally would and thus leaves a very concentrated proteinaceous fluid.  In race horses giving a diuretic has the desired effect of “lightening the load”, allowing the horse to race faster.  Additionally, diuretics have the effect of masking the use of other performance enhancing drugs, allowing the horse to piss out the residuals prior to urine testing.

In my mother’s situation, I have no doubt that there has been damage done to the lymphatic system primarily from 50+ years of smoking which obviously is exacerbated by her age (she did not quit smoking until age 85).  The comparison I want to make here is that – other than the smoking – she has led a fairly healthy life; in my lifetime (almost 60 years) I do not recall her taking anything more than the occasional aspirin, she didn’t even drink soft drinks, nor did she have any vaccinations since at childhood.  Contrast this lifestyle to what a race horse is typically subjected to:  yearly (or more) multi-way vaccinations, species inappropriate food and lifestyle, far more stress than any horse is biologically designed to handle (both physically and emotionally), and perhaps the kicker of all…every time this horse is made to race, he/she is given multiple “performance enhancing” drugs, not the least of which includes Lasix, whether on race day and/or in the days prior.  Can anyone wonder if the lymphatic (i.e. immune) system of the race horse is compromised even at such a young age?  The vaccinations alone would do that.

Based on my recent research this is my hypothesis on the action of Lasix:

The lymph fluid requires some kind of contractive action to enable it to move; this happens from muscular action as well as arterial action (and which is why massage can help move lymph fluid).  This means if the heart is not working properly and thus not “pumping” blood through the arteries as it should, arterial contraction (which helps to move lymph fluid) is not occurring as it should and the lymphangions can become stagnated even causing the valves to fail leading to lymph backflow.  Exercise can certainly help move lymph fluid, but with respect to race horses especially, a major question I have is what happens to the lymphatic system during the extreme exercise to which they are subjected?  Lymph fluid is caustic to begin with, that is its nature.  If a loop diuretic is given, the lymph fluid is potentially made even more caustic due to it becoming more concentrated.  Since the lymphatic system is not under pressure (i.e. requires “external” contractive actions to move the fluid), it makes sense that the lymphatic vessel walls are thinner than those of the vascular system.  What would happen if the forces acting against the lymphatic vessel walls become extreme enough as to cause them to leak and/or cause the valves to fail – especially if the lymphatic (i.e. immune) system has suffered “assault” on other fronts?  It is my thought any leakage of this “caustic” fluid could damage arterial walls, in turn causing internal bleeding.

Regardless of whether this “hypothesis” is ever found to be true or not in all or part, I have no doubt the lymphatic system plays a major role in what happens in the breakdown of race horses on Lasix, other drugs, as well as multiple other species-inappropriate factors.  There are known risks of diuretics used as a performance-enhancing drug in human athletes – even taken at medically recommended doses: (6)

  • Dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • Exhaustion
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Potassium deficiency
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Loss of coordination and balance
  • Heatstroke
  • Death

What we can wind up with is an ever-increasing “loop” of debased physiological processes…the Lasix affects the fluid which affects the lymphatic system which sooner or later affects the heart/vascular function which can exacerbate the lymphatic dysfunction…and so on into an ever increasing inflammatory situation until ultimate breakdown.

With regard to lymphatic involvement in human cardiology, a moment of “validation” came to me just recently when I found an article by a cardiologist (Dr. Philip D. Houck) at Texas A&M Medical College; it is a hypothesis published this past May (2013) questioning the involvement of the lymphatic system in cardiac “disease”. (7)  There is no reason to not apply this to all mammals including horses.  In part he says:

All of the symptoms of heart failure, hence, compensatory mechanisms can be related to overwhelmed or dysfunctional lymphatic function. Lymphatics are responsible for tissue homeostasis controlling approximately 12 litres of fluid. These thin-walled valved pumping systems are also intimately involved in immunity, control of inflammation and lipid and nutritional transport. Repair of damaged tissues by cellular transport explain its many functions.

Therapies to remove salt and water excess have improved acute symptoms but have not lead [sic] to better outcomes. In fact, in some cases such therapies have contributed to worse outcome such as cardio-renal syndrome. The mainstay in the treatment of congestive heart failure has been diurectic [sic] therapy. However, the chronic use of furosemide has increased mortality in congestive heart failure [4,5].”  [emphasis mine]

4. Ahmed A, Husain A, Love TE, Gambassi G, Dell’ Italia LJ, Francis GS. Heart failure, chronic diuretic use, and increase in mortality and hospitalization: an observational study using propensity score methods. Eur Heart J 2006;27(12):1431-9.

5. Hasselblad V, Gattis Stough W, Shah MR, Lokhnygina Y, O’ Connor CM, Califf RM. Relation between dose of loop diuretics and outcomes in a heart failure population: results of the ESCAPE Trial. Eur J Heart Fail 2007 Oct;9(10):1064-9.

Thoroughbreds have a reputation of being spooky, anxious, nervous, and so on – is there really any wonder why?  (Quarter horses are also commonly used in racing, especially in the western states in claims races; they have their own “emotional issues”.)  Racehorses have become drug addicts – plain and simple.  Look at the eyes in these photos – do you see a resemblance between the look in the eyes and the look in many domestic (especially race) horses’ eyes – that painful, empty, wanting look?  Through phenomenology we understand that genes are adaptable, meaning they will adapt to influences and stimuli, sometimes taking more than one generation.  When the animal’s genes are exposed to these stimuli via nature, there is generally no problem effecting the adaptation.  It is when we subject the organism to influences that are born not of nature but are synthetically derived in a laboratory (i.e. drugs, processed food, etc) that the genetic adaptations can begin to achieve abnormal physiological results.  The central dogma of biology states that genes dictate the form, however we are beginning to see otherwise – “genetic potential” is a two-way street.  (I wish to caution the reader here that I do not want to give the impression that I believe that all adaptation is “blind”, i.e. a result of conditioning.  I am exploring much in this area both from a macrocosm as well as microcosm perspective, so stay tuned for more discussions on this immensely interesting subject – well, interesting to me anyway!)

On average 24 horses die per week at US race tracks.  Many of them are the “lower end”, less expensive racers running in claims races; as a result, investigations into their deaths are very seldom done. (8)  This is an industry that is mired in a drug culture.  The subject of why race horses break down so much has been debated for years, and it always comes back to the drugs used.  And not necessarily legal drugs…some trainers will experiment with anything that can give them a winning edge, not the least of which include chemicals that bulk up pigs and cattle before slaughter, cobra venom, Viagra, blood doping agents, stimulants and cancer drugs.  Unfortunately much of this doping occurs on-farm before the horses are shipped to the race track – where few states have the authority to legally test horses. (9)  Even if all horses were tested, labs don’t even have the capability to detect the enormous amount of different drugs that have been tried and are used.  And even legal therapeutic drugs (such as pain medications) are misused, being given in high enough doses to mask symptoms of physical injury; numerous horses have raced (and in many cases died) on high levels of pain meds – I would guestimate that almost every race horse does or at least has done so at some point.  Some veterinarians will speak of how difficult it is to ‘watch these animals being treated this way’ and yet continue to administer the drugs.  There are no excuses – a vet that continues to cater to this kind of activity is every bit as much to blame as are the owners and trainers who allow and do this.  There is no other word to describe what happens except “abuse”, plain and simple.  It is when a well-known race horse suffers injury on national TV that the industry begins paying lip service to trying to stop the abuse.  But the trainers and owners are very influential with regard to industry policy setting – well known trainers such as Bob Baffert and some of his wealthy owners threatened lawsuits and hinted at boycotting prestigious, money making races like the Breeders’ Cup, effectively squashing any changes in regulations regarding drugging of race horses. (10)

Can horses become addicted to drugs (legal and/or illegal) much as humans do?  This is what one source says: (11)

For the fortunate racehorses who escape the slaughter pipeline, and accepted by an off the track Thoroughbred rehabilitation center, staff report that weening [sic] them off the medications routine to racing can take months. In cases where horses are also recuperating from sidelining injuries, it is difficult to watch them also struggle through the symptoms of withdrawal.

This begs the question – Why?  The only answer is that it is because of human-centric wants…fame and fortune.

It is not about trying to find “safer” drugs to use.  It is not that changes need to be made in the racing industry.  It is simply that it needs to STOP – the entire racing industry.  There is nothing about being forced to run at this extreme that is good for any horse – even those horses such as Thoroughbreds that have been manipulated through breeding to run faster.  The effects of the forced breeding are multi-fold, not the least of which these practices continue to perpetuate the theorized “need” for horse slaughter.  Stop the industry breeding and you’ve stopped any perceived need for slaughter.  See a previous post I did about nurse mares farms (warning – video is graphic).  Those who continue to support horse racing continue to support animal abuse – it cannot be put any other way.  People like to anthropomorphize, saying that horses want to run races and enjoy winning.  I have two words for that, the first begins with the letter “B” and the second begins with the letter “S”.  Many people have a tendency to romanticize about race horses, especially top winners (those that don’t win become so much “trash”).  There is a popular saying about race horses, something to the effect that…”so-and-so was a grand horse that would run his heart out”.  A very good possibility that he did, literally.  There is much more I could say about this subject, but now you have no more excuses to keep blinders on…

(1) http://www.oddsonracing.com/about_racing_vets_lasix.cfm

(2) http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=5218

(3) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/17/sports/study-raises-questions-about-antibleeding-drug.html?goback=.gde_3804678_member_5818551662968594435&_r=1&#!

(4) http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=5218

(5) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/17/sports/study-raises-questions-about-antibleeding-drug.html?goback=.gde_3804678_member_5818551662968594435&_r=1&#!

(6) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/performance-enhancing-drugs/HQ01105/NSECTIONGROUP=2

(7) https://www.oapublishinglondon.com/article/510

(8) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/us/death-and-disarray-at-americas-racetracks.html?_r=3&hp&

(9) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/us/death-and-disarray-at-americas-racetracks.html?_r=3&hp&

(10) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/01/sports/industrys-drug-issue-is-one-that-trainers-can-address-instead-of-avoiding.html

(11) http://www.horsefund.org/horse-racing-fact-sheet.php

  *  Note that no invasion into the body is without some risk.  A thoracentesis is designated as a “test” although I had to sign surgical consent in my mother’s case (it is a test as the fluid is sent to lab for analysis).  The procedure consists of localized anesthesia and a thin needle inserted between the ribs into the pleural cavity.  Outside of a normal risk of bruising, pain, & bleeding at the needle insertion site (a risk with any needle insertion); the major risk is piercing the lung; normally this heals quickly on its own but if it does not and air gets trapped the lung may collapse (although an excessive amount of fluid pressing against the lung can cause it to collapse as well).  X-rays are done before and after the procedure.  In my mother’s situation, they seemed to be a bit concerned about pneumonia setting in since she had such an excessive amount of fluid.  However, using appropriate essential oils (which I had with me in the hospital) can avert this quickly without side effects as well as negate the “need” for antibiotics.

Roundup Weedkiller to be used to fight cancer? (re-posted from GreenMedInfo)

This is the beyond-ridiculous response to the ever increasing evidence that GMOs and the toxic chemicals used to farm them ARE causing cancer and a host of other undesirable conditions.  I agree with Sayer Ji – we need to stop begging for GMO labeling and work to ban them altogether; there is absolutely no way to prevent cross-contamination…you cannot hermetically seal off any farm, organic or otherwise!

It is well past the point where so-called “peer reviewed science” publications have little meaning and are not even worthy of being called science.  We are being fed a load of manure.

There really is a war going on for your mind today.  And increasingly it’s happening in the peer-reviewed and published literature itself; a place where, at least traditionally, it was believed agendas and biases would be filtered out so that the light of Scientific truth would reveal facts long buried under the leaden weight of the lay public’s superstitions and pre-scientific cultural beliefs.  Largely unbeknownst to the general public, we are in the midst of a titanic battle within the academic world between those scientists (and journals willing to publish their work) who claim that Roundup herbicide (glyphosate) is toxic and even cancer causing, and those who argue it is not only absolutely safe but that it may even make for an excellent chemotherapy agent for fighting lethal cancers.

Read Article Here

 

Medical insanity: Prozac prescriptions rise sharply in family pets (re-posted from Naturalnews.com)

This is just plain stupid – and insane…I can’t really put it any other way.  Feed a species appropriate diet, understand the species cognitive and lifestyle needs, and stop shooting them up with poison (aka “vaccinations”)!

(NaturalNews) The culture of prescription drug addiction in America seems to be spreading to the pet population, as an increasing number of pet owners opt to medicate their furry family members into behavioral compliance with mind-altering mood medications like Prozac. A recent report by MyFoxNY.com explains that more pet owners are choosing to dope up their pets with calming meds in order to address behavioral issues rather than simply spend more time exercising and playing with them, which is what they really need.

Read Article Here

 

Chickweed

Go figure – chickweed is actually an equine delicacy!  I had notice Maisy eating it every chance she got over a period of a few days this spring.  This is from the April 2013 Natural Horse Newsletter (wonder if you can make an essential oil out of it??? :-):

 

Chickweed – Stellaria media by Katharine Chrisley of Dharma Horse

Chickweed is a creeping herb with tiny white flowers. It is entirely edible for all animals (although it can be too rich for some if eaten fresh and abundantly!). It is considered a cancer-preventing herb and a premier healer of the digestive tract. It is fed to arthritic horses and used to reduce lipoma/fatty tumors.

 

Chickweed nourishes the Pineal and Pituitary glands, helping them return to normal function when afflicted. It is full of the mineral – organic Iron – which is necessary for all mammals to transport oxygen and maintain youthfulness. Food additives/preservatives deplete iron from the body which causes anemia, lung and circulatory damage, blood sugar imbalances and weakness. Mothers, equine and human, can be low in iron (especially after giving birth) and it should be returned to the body through a gentle, organic mode.

 

Chickweed is a mild herb used to gradually return health to tissues and the whole plant can be fed fresh or dried; or a tea can be made from the dried herb. I feed a half cup of the dry, cut and sifted herb in a mash once daily for mares who need it. I drink a cup of prepared tea for myself when feeling weak. An infused oil can be made by warming the herb into olive oil for use externally on swollen joints, tumors or fatty deposits.

Should you Blanket Your Horse in Winter or Not?

There are many references on the internet to a “study” supposedly done by CSU (Colorado State University) on whether or not to blanket a horse in winter.  It apparently was first posted on FB by Big Sky Morgan Horse Association here.  In April 2013 I received a comment from an individual stating that this “study” is a fake and that a certain professor she contacted at CSU could not find any evidence of it ever having been done.  I honestly do not know whether this study is fake or not, but I will say that I cannot locate any legitimate citation to it associated with CSU.  Nor does the Big Sky Morgan Horse Association list any citation.  At the bottom of this post, there is an article from Rutgers that I know is legitimate.

It should first of all, be understood that blanketing (or rugging as it is known in Europe) quite obviously is a construct of domestication, and more specifically of the equine show industry due to various clipping requirements.  People may also body clip (shave) their horse’s winter coat that engage the horse in high-energy performance requirements that would cause the horse to sweat under his natural heavy winter coat.  This can get quite complicated as the Rutgers article indicates.  While blanketing itself may seem a rather innocuous practice (or even seen as beneficial to many people), it is the underlying reason for doing so that creates an adverse situation for the horse; nor is the act of blanketing itself without compromise.

As for body clipping in the winter…this is ONLY done because the human desires it; the horse does not.  Horses that are body clipped in the winter should be given extra protection in cold weather as they have been stripped of their natural ability to protect themselves against the elements.  Blanketing itself may not particularly pose a physical threat to those horses that are kept stalled with minimal and restricted turn-out (it’s the restriction that causes the problems!), but I definitely would not recommend it for active horses that are kept in a natural herd and allowed freedom 24/7.  But then again, why would you blanket a horse in a natural herd situation?  Those horses have not been deprived of their natural protection.  Blanketing does prevent growth of a full winter coat; therefore, once you start blanketing for a given winter season, it is not an option and it must be continued for that season.

There is another reason for not blanketing that many do not refer to:  Animals that are adapted to the cold display an increased production of heat from brown fat.  Brown fat contains an “uncoupling” protein that diverts energy away from ATP synthesis, instead favoring heat production. This process is tightly regulated by signaling from the sympathetic nervous system. (Reagan 2013)

Please note that I am not talking about the use of blankets for specific health reasons.  In rescue situations in particular, more often than we like the horse is in a debilitated body condition and does not have the metabolic and physiological resources that a healthy horse does to offer protection against the elements.  Until such a day as there is no more abuse inflicted upon animals, we have a responsibility to protect that animal and the use of blankets in situations such as this is very much within an acceptable realm.  (Care for rescues will be addressed more in depth in another article.)

Rutgers FS1081-Blanket or Not

 

Feeding the Senior Horse

(This is an excerpt from my book, Equine Nutrition: From a Species Appropriate Perspective; please note this applies to both genders even though I use the masculine here for the biggest part.)

Senior status is variable among breeds and even individual horses within breeds, though most people consider a horse 20+/- to be senior.  But that doesn’t mean the horse is “old” with regard to capability.  There are plenty of 30+ year olds that can run circles around the human; and in fact I have one living with me!  We should go by the signs of aging rather than the actual age.  With regard to nutritional requirements, the senior horse has no physiological differences from the younger adult.  A horse 15-20 years old may begin to lose some teeth; as well, the horse that is 25+ years may begin to show issues with masticating food properly and we may see signs of “quidding”.  The evidence of quidding of forage will be boluses of food dropped from the horse’s mouth.  The longer the horse has spent his life allowed a species appropriate diet, meaning free access to forage only, the less dental issues the horse will have going into advancing age, given no other health issues.  But because of the horse’s hypsodont dentition, it is highly recommended that the senior horse continue to have at least an annual dental checkup and may need to be done twice yearly in some situations.

There is never any need to remove the older horse from pasture, even if he starts to quid the grass.  He will still be getting some nutrients, although he will need to be supplemented; additionally the action of masticating is a biological requirement, just as it is with any horse.  There will come a point that the older horse will not be able to masticate long-stem dry hay; at this time (preferably before he starts to lose condition) weaning him onto a chopped haylage product is an excellent way for the horse to obtain nutrients that he would not get otherwise.  Soaked hay cubes are another excellent feed for the senior horse, although some owners are reluctant to feed soaked hay cubes because of the perceived time “cost”.  I personally have done so and found that if I simply put the cubes into soak while doing barn chores, the “extra” time required is virtually nil.  There is no reason to not feed both soaked hay cubes and chopped haylage; the haylage can be fed free choice and the soaked hay cubes can become a “meal”.  In this way, between the pasture and the haylage, the horse is still allowed to trickle feed as desired and the forage “meal” should present no digestive issues; it is also an excellent opportunity to provide appropriate nutrient supplementation to assist the naturally decreasing digestive functions of the aging horse.  As with any forage, the hay cubes should be of high quality.  Typically one finds hay cubes in either timothy or alfalfa, or a mix of both.  Which to feed will depend upon the individual horse and the availability in the local area.  Some people will recommend soaked beet pulp over hay cubes.  In a perfect world, I have no adversity to recommending beet pulp.  However, the unavoidable fact is that most commercially grown sugar beets (the type of beet that is generally used for beet pulp; and no, beet pulp is not loaded with sugar) are GMO crops.  Even if they are not genetically modified, the method for kill-down on the beet tops (the greens) in order to harvest the beets (the root of the plant) is to use herbicide spray.  Exactly how much herbicide is going to be taken up by the root – the beet – is a variable factor that will depend upon the exact chemical compound used and its half-life.  Finding organically grown beet pulp is practically impossible (if someone has a source, this author would be very interested in knowing it).  This simply is not a risk I personally am willing to take.  This is not to say that the hay grown for the hay cubes has not had herbicide applied to the field, although it is generally not applied as often to hay fields as it is to commercial beet crops.  It may be quite possible to find a hay cube product that is at least somewhat sustainably grown, at least easier than finding organic beet pulp!