Goshen company recalls feed after horses die

A Goshen company has recalled animal feed that a Clovis horse farm claims may have caused the death of three horses.

Western Milling announced Friday a voluntary recall to the federal Food and Drug Administration. Its recall targeted 50-pound bags under the name Western Blend horse feed, “LOT 5251.” The company urged consumers to return the feed to the stores where it was purchased for a full refund.

Western Milling voluntarily recalled the product after being advised that horses had died after eating it. In its recall statement, the company said it initiated the recall because the feed “may contain monensin, an ionophore.”

The FDA website describes the cause of the deaths as “Potential Monensin Contamination.”

Ionophore poisoning in horses varies “depending on the dosage ingested, but can include poor appetite … diarrhea, weakness, rapid heart rate, decreased exercise tolerance, depression, wobbly gait, colic, sweating, recumbency and sudden death.”

Initial signs of illness begin to show 12 to 72 hours after the food is ingested. Those symptoms may last eight days, said Andrew Yaffa, a lawyer representing Black Fence Farms, south of Clovis.

Permanent cardiac damage is possible in horses, he said.

Of the 1,100 bags recalled, all but 67 had been recovered by the company, its recall notice said.

1,100Bags of food recalled by Western Milling

The food was distributed in California and Arizona, Western Milling officials said.

The feed apparently was given to horses at Black Fence Farms near Clovis and three horses died, said a lawyer representing the farm.

“These incidents are the result of gross neglect and a complete failure to follow simple protocol and procedures at the location where the feed is manufactured,” Yaffa said.

In a media release sent by Yaffa, Katie Flanigan, operator of Black Fence Farms, said they are “devastated” by the loss of their horses.

“We are watching our beloved horses die before our eyes and there is nothing we can do to help them,” she said.

Reached by phone Monday, Flanigan said she had no further comment.

Marc Benjamin: 559-441-6166, @beebenjamin