All-Corn Diet Turns Hamsters Into Cannibals

A new paper outlines the efforts of scientists at the University of Strasbourg to determine why the European hamster has been dying off at an alarming rate… Previously, the rodent’s diet consisted of grains, roots and insects. But the regions in which its numbers were dropping have been taken over by the industrial farming of corn… Researchers in France have discovered that a monotonous diet of corn causes hamsters to exhibit some unusual behavior — cannibalism.
âoeImproperly cooked maize-based diets have been associated with higher rates of homicide, suicide and cannibalism in humans,” the researchers point out, and they believe it’s the absence of vitamin B3 which is affecting the hamsters’ nervous system and triggering dementia-like behavior. Hamsters are already an endangered species in Western Europe, so this is being heavily-researched. And they obviously won’t improve their chances of survival with cannibalism.

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