RE: GMO and coercion of farmers

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Tue Aug 21 2001 - 13:06:05 MDT

Damien Sullivan wrote,
> GMO choice being taken out of farmers' and consumers' hands.
> Monsanto suing
> farmers to make them use its crop, buying up seed producers.

This report bothers me on a couple of other points not mentioned directly in
the article.

Firstly, a farmer is being sued because he only planted some of his fields
with GM crops. The company refuses to believe it and wants to punish him
unless he uses 100% GM crops. This directly contradicts the plans of using
fractional planting to avoid breeding resistant pests. To avoid breeding
resistant pests, farmers use some percentage of non-GM crops to allow some
non-resistant pests to survive into the next generation. This move by
Monsanto worsens the problem of resistant pests and prevents farmers from
trying to avoid the problem.

Secondly, a farmer was sued for using GM crops even though he never planted
them. The cross-pollination from nearby farms converted his crops to GM
crops according to Monsanto. This directly contradicts claims that GM crops
can be controlled and won't escape or interfere with farmers who don't want
GM crops. If GM crops (and their related legal patents) convert nearby
natural crops into GM crops, this implies that the Monsanto patent will
spread wider and wider until everybody has their genetic modifications
whether they want them or not. Despite our best efforts, the modifications
are being released in the wild, and it is taking over so-called natural

These two points seem to contradict the claims by Monsanto that methods can
be used to prevent the breeding of resistant pests and to prevent the
uncontrolled spreading of their genes into the wild. Like the
cross-contamination of GM corn products into other products that weren't
supposed to contain any of the GM corn, these examples further demonstrate
that we cannot control the technology. Although the science is sound, and
the benefits are clear, the infrastructure is not capable of controlling
these inventions. It appears that they can't be kept out of food if
desired, they can't be kept out of the wild if desired, and they can't be
used in a manner that won't breed resistant pests.

Although there is no scientific reason why this must be so, it appears that
some of the fears about GM foods are actually coming true.

Harvey Newstrom <> <>

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