You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand why genetically modified foods are dangerous, but if you look closely, you may just find the name of one listed among the names of more than 800 scientists from around the globe who have joined forces in an open letter to all world governments, outlining their detailed concerns over the alarming potential threat of biotech’s unauthorized, worldwide GM foods experiment.
In a country whose government and media appear only too eager to conjure up fear of “bioterrorism” and “biological weapons,” it’s shocking (albeit obviously deliberate) to what extent the GMO issue remains omitted from mainstream discussion. Consider that the message from these scientists seems to be that the whole planet is already under attack by the persistent and largely unchecked, reckless behavior of greedy, unruly U.S. corporations – corporations whose activities appear to be sponsored by the federal government. And whether you know it yet or not, your body is the battleground.
The letter, as posted by the Institute of Science in Society (http://www.i-sis.org.uk/list.php), is a collective call for the immediate suspension of any and all releases of GM crops and products into the environment for at least five years, in order to allow for more thorough testing. The scientists further demand that all patents on life-forms and living processes – including seeds, cell lines and genes – be revoked and banned “for a comprehensive public inquiry into the future of agriculture and food security for all.”
Life is a discovery, they say, not an innovation, and patents on life-forms and living processes “sanction biopiracy of indigenous knowledge and genetic resources, violate basic human rights and dignity, compromise healthcare, impede medical and scientific research and are against the welfare of animals.” Furthermore, they argue that GM crops provide no identifiable benefits either to farmers or consumers; instead, they offer only very significant risks to all living things.
GMOs are just bad news, followed by more bad news
Any consumption of GMO products is basically a smorgasbord of disaster, say these global scientists. In their thorough and fully cited open letter, they take biotechnology to task – making clear, undeniable connections between GM food crops and other products (like milk from cows injected with genetically modified Bovine Growth Hormone) and health problems for mammals in general. At the same time the GM crops themselves actually contribute to lower yields, increased use of herbicides/insecticides, unpredictable performance, poor economic returns, and a progressive monopoly on food by big corporations, they also encourage herbicide-tolerant weeds and pesticide-resistant superbugs, making their purported goal of “feeding the world” appear just as it is – clearly out of the reach of biotech industry. Scientists propose, instead, that these large food corporations are actually more the cause of world hunger currently, than they are the solution to it.
“It is on account of increasing corporate monopoly operating under the globalised economy that the poor are getting poorer and hungrier,” scientists say. “Family farmers around the world have been driven to destitution and suicide… Mergers and acquisitions are continuing.” Seed patent policies currently in place at biotech companies prevent farmers from saving and replanting seeds, an activity the scientists acknowledge, is one enjoyed even by third world farmers.
As promised; however, it only gets worse. Scientists agree that GMOs actually harm the delicate biodiversity necessary to the balance and maintenance of life on this planet. GM products, they say, “decimate wild plant species indiscriminately,” cause birth defects in mammals, kill insects essential to pollination like bees, lacewings, monarch butterflies, and pose other very serious threats related to horizontal gene transfer – for example, the “spread of antibiotic resistance marker genes that would render infections diseases untreatable, the generation of new viruses and bacteria that cause diseases, and harmful mutations which may lead to cancer.”
Multiple hazards to both animal and human health have already been identified by sources around the world, resulting either in bans on GM products or the adoption of strict labeling laws by many countries. Here in the U.S.; however, secret memoranda from inside the FDA have revealed its history of disregarding the warnings of its own scientists. Still, with a separate but similar mass appeal to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 2009 failing to make a rippled, lasting impact, one can only hope that eventually the science on GMOs – and the growing number of people who know about it – will simply be too loud to ignore.
Sources for this article include: