Re: GMO and coercion of farmers

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Tue Aug 21 2001 - 15:27:11 MDT

Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> 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.

Considering your earlier predeliction toward judging the information by
judging the source, Harvey, why don't you apply that same sort of bias
against this article's claims, since it's published on an anti-GMO
luddite website that, according to my browsing, embraces all sorts of
unscientific opinions and issues that depend upon religious faith.

> 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
> farms.
> 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.

Not necessarily true. What Monsanto is saying is that genetic markers of
the GMO crop is being found elsewhere on land not seeded with GMO
plants. They are not testing crops, they are testing the dirt, which
collects pollen from many sources. Just because there is pollen there
does not mean that the crops are breeding with it, AND just because the
genetic markers being detected are there does not specify that the
actual genes that produce the pesticides are being bred into non-GMO
crops. If the pesticide gene is a recessive gene, then its less likely
to be expressed if it isn't bred from two full GMO parent plants.

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