Europe’s health and consumer chief John Dalli has pledged to continue approving genetically modified (GM) crops while EU states debate a proposal to let them decide whether to grow or ban the controversial technology.
“The process will go on, the process is going on. We are not going to wait,” Dalli said in an interview with Reuters.
The debate is going to return. Huge corporations can try to persuade national governments that GM crops ars good for the world. Tony Blair constantly tried to push GM on us a decade ago with his honey-tongued rhetoric; more recently government scientists were resigning because of the ridiculous levels pro-GM propaganda involved in the decision-making process.
Points of observation on GM crops:
1) Monsanto are one of these large GM corporations. This was the company that brought the world Agent Orange, a deadly chemical used in the Vietnam War, and as a result were later involved in a claim for involvement in war crimes because of it. Monsanto possesses a devastating environmental record, across a vast spectrum of pollutants that have harmed both nature and human health, including illegally dumping toxic waste to create “one of the most contaminated sites in Britain”. Monsanto are currently thought to be hiring Blackwater private militia in order to stop people protesting against them. This company would like to grow your food.
2) The business operation of GM firms can ruin farmers in the developing world:
By patenting transferred genes and the technology associated with them, then buying up the competing seed merchants and seed-breeding centres, the biotech companies can exert control over the crops at every stage of production and sale. Farmers are reduced to their sub-contracted agents. This has devastating implications for food security in the poor world: food is removed from local marketing networks – and therefore the mouths of local people – and gravitates instead towards sources of hard currency.
3) This does not centre on the issue of saving people’s lives; it’s about a company making money, which is what they do. Do you believe that GM crops will feed the world’s starving? The crops will mostly be poured down the necks of animals. And the world has experienced a net food surplus since the 1980s. There is enough food to go around, but it isn’t reaching the mouths who require it the most. With relevance to this topic, local farmers in various countries are growing cash crops for export, instead of being self-sufficient as a nation. During the Ethiopian famine in 1984, while people were dying of hunger, the farmers were exporting crops to Europe for animal feed, rather than to their own people. Much of this perversity is down to organisations such as the World Bank and their structural adjustment programmes.
4) These are not some miracle bonus yield crops. Many GM crops are simply designed to be resistant to a pesticide, which the GM company also happens to sell. Farmers end up being reliant upon said pesticide, which is expensive. Combined with the costs of being trapped by a monopoly of seeds, can you guess what happens next? In India, it is thought to be the suicide of thousands of farmers. As for the effects of the pesticides? Here’s what those who have been affected have to say on the matter.
Many of the crops have been engineered to withstand applications of weedkiller. This permits farmers to wipe out almost every competing species of plant in their fields. The exceptions are the weeds which, as a result of GM pollen contamination, have acquired multiple herbicide resistance. In Canada, for example, some oilseed rape is now resistant to all three of the most widely used modern pesticides. The result is that farmers trying to grow other crops must now spray it with 2,4-D, a poison which persists in the environment.
5) You know when companies claim the GM genes don’t make it into the wild? They do indeed. Frequently. The consequences? Well, GM firms will say that the damage has been done, so let’s plant a load more GM seed.
6) The GM lobby will often claim their way is the only way. No other form of agriculture works. Organic farming, according to scientific studies, often produce significant, high yields in the developing world compared to intensive monoculture. The soil quality improves, contains higher levels of nutrients and better water retention (especially useful considering the droughts many countries suffer), and there are less chemicals flowing into rivers. Farmers also avoid debts by saving huge amounts of money not using pesticides. Small scale farming can be more profitable for farmers (across many continents), and ensures food remains property of those who produce it, not under corporate control.
So there you go, and I’ve not once mentioned “Frankenstein Foods”. Are GM crops safe to eat? You tell me.