223 Calves Dead From Antibiotic-Laden Feed

     LETCHER, S.D. – Over 200 calves died after ingesting feed that contained toxic amounts of antibiotics, a dairyman says in a complaint filed in Jerauld County Circuit Court.
     According to the April 30 lawsuit, plaintiff Calvin Berwald purchased 400 tons of soybean feed from defendant Stan’s Inc., a commercial provider of livestock feed, for his dairy operation, Sokota Dairy.
     Berwald paid $319 per ton for the feed, according to the 10-page complaint.
     The feed included “starter” feed for calves which Berwald fed to “his dairy herd containing 333 newborn to four-month-old calves for three to four days,” the complaint says.
     Berwald says that shortly after ingesting the feed, 223 of the calves died.
     When the dairyman sent samples of the feed to the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, technicians there discovered the feed contained toxic levels of the antibiotic monensin, the complaint alleges.
     The dairyman states he “did not request the inclusion of monensin in the feed, and there was no indication on the purchase orders, labeling on the feed, or otherwise that the custom dry feed contained any amount of monensin.”
     South Dakota law requires that all feed containing drugs or additives must be labeled to “show the drug name and level, the purpose of the medication, adequate directions for use, a warning or caution statement for safe and effective use, and a withdrawal statement for the particular drug consistent with current federal regulations,” the complaint says.
     Monensin is sold under the brand name Rumensin. According to Rumensin’s website, monensin given to adult cattle stimulates greater growth on less food and can treat or prevent parasites in the bovine intestinal tract.
     Berwald is suing Stan’s Inc. for negligence, failure to adequately label, and breach of contract.
     He is represented by Brooke Swier Schloss of the Swier Law Firm in Avon, South Dakota.
     Neither side responded to a request for comment.

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