Hundreds of scientists from all over the world recently joined forces to decry the alarming threat of Big Biotech’s unauthorized, worldwide GM foods experiment.
It’s really quite disturbing to note the extent to which the whole GMO issue remains omitted from mainstream discussions. Now scientists have come together to send a message, one that warns the world of the persistent and largely unchecked, reckless behavior of greedy U.S. corporations, whose only goal is to gain more money and power, even at the expense of the health of millions of people.
The letter, as posted by the Institute of Science in Society, 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.”
According to these scientists, 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 bad news
Any consumption of GMO products would lead to disaster, claim these scientists. In their thoroughly detailed and cited open letter, they take biotechnology to task – making clear, undeniable connections between GM products and health problems for mammals in general. At the same time, GM crops themselves actually contribute to lower yields, increased use of herbicides and insecticides, unpredictable performance, poor economic returns, and a progressive monopoly on food by big corporations.
“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 that the scientists acknowledge, is one enjoyed even by third world farmers.
And, it only gets worse. Scientists also agree that GMOs harm the biodiversity necessary to the maintenance of life on this planet. GM products, they say, “decimate wild plant species indiscriminately,” cause birth defects in mammals, kills insects essential to pollination like bees, lacewings and monarch butterflies, and pose other very serious threats related to horizontal gene transfer. One such example is 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 dangers to both animal and human health have already been identified by sources all over the world, resulting either in bans on GM products or the adoption of strict labeling laws by many countries. In the United States, however, secret memoranda from inside the FDA have revealed its history of disregarding the warnings of its own scientists.
In spite of this, however, hope still remains that someday, the voices of the masses – may they be from the scientific community or not – will be heard, over and above the resounding, and often deafening noise, of Big Biotech’s greed.