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Letters | 6-25-14

June 27, 2014 - 9:44am

Reasoning of anti-GMO activists highly debatable

Margaret Wille is no David up against a Goliath; she is a demagogue leading an ignorant mob of luddites. Her supporters skip the debate of facts and focus on world wide conspiracies, hidden agendas, and mad scientists.

There would be no papaya industry, organic or otherwise without the genetically modified plants. Attempts over the last 20 years to create a disease-resistant hybrid have failed. Organic growers even use the rainbow papaya as a barrier around their fields to protect the non-GMO trees.

As far as labeling of food goes, what about pesticides? Labor conditions? Environmental impacts where the crop is grown? Isn’t this information just as critical to the end-user as the genetic makeup of the plant?

Why is there no debate about GMO pharmaceuticals? The drug industry is just as big as industrial agriculture. Give your children insulin, human growth hormone or blood clotting medications and you are injecting into their bodies products made from GMO bacteria.

The very people who claim there hasn’t been enough research on GMO foods happily spend billions every year on worthless or even dangerous food supplements and herbal medications. When I ask them about their latest fad cleansing diet or quack cure they are always vague about the double blind studies, toxicity analysis, or warnings about safe and effective conditions for use.

Direct and specific manipulation of genes is a means to an end, as was the old indirect or random approach. Each case must be evaluated and judged on its own merits, just as individual methods of agriculture are. Slash and burn framing is a traditional organic approach that has ruined more of the environment than mechanized monoculture has.

The whole issue, like same sex marriage, will be decided by the courts. Crops like oranges will one day all be GMO due to diseases like citrus greening. Farmers will sue for the right to grow them because they will have no alternative, and wealthy consumers will pay evermore for organic fruit or juice from dwindling plague free locations.

Activists may be right not to put all your trust in agribusiness, but your no better off putting it in some back water politician.

Brian Lievens


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