Biotech Deaths May Already Total Millions
2.Biotech Deaths May Already Total Millions
NOTE: Both the Center for Consumer Freedom and the Hudson Institute have Monsanto among their funders.
EXTRACT: How many people have to die before this travesty of Luddite worship runs its course?
How many helpless children will have to go blind ...?
When will the world realize that Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, for all their preaching about the rain forests, are trying to roll back modern civilization and its long life spans with thickets of overpriced solar panels and windmills? (item 2)
Center for Consumer Freedom, October 26 2007
The late Dr. Carl Sagan wrote in 1989 that ''we live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.'' Looking at today's organized opposition to genetically modified (GM) foods, it’s clear that Sagan's bleak society hasn’t advanced much.
The problem goes far beyond scientifically deficient U.S. activists clamoring for mandatory labels on biotech-enhanced veggies. France’s new government, aided by environmental activists, now plans to ban the only GM crop grown in Europe. (The EU counters that this might not be legal.) Last week, French activists destroyed three test fields of the disease-resistant corn.
In Brazil last weekend, armed activists protesting ''the evil effects of genetically modified products'' invaded a Swiss-owned biotech farm. They were met by armed security guards; one person on each side of the fracas ended up dead. The Hudson Institute notes that these deaths are just the tip of a larger iceberg, as ''new technologies that would save millions of lives every year are being held back by activist-scared regulators.''
There is some good news. The European Commission has just approved new varieties of GM corn and sugar beets. And American wheat farmers are beginning to demand the sort of technological advances that have brought corn and soybean farmers so many benefits.
In today’s Wall Street Journal, “Green Revolution” godfather Dr. Norman Borlaug notes that scientific research and development -- not irrational fear -- is needed to help poor African nations develop their economies and help their people survive:
''R&D is especially needed to address Africa's special [crop] production circumstances ”¦ New science and technology, including the tools of biotechnology, will be needed to develop crops better able to withstand climatic stresses such as drought, heat and flooding.'' [subscription required]
And if you’re looking for a clear illustration of Carl Sagan’s vision of a techno-illiterate society, writes liberal UK politician Dick Tavern in The Prospect magazine, you’d be hard pressed to find a better one than Great Britain.
''Public discussion of GM food in the British media, and throughout Europe, reflects a persistent suspicion of GM crops. Supermarkets display notices that their products are ''GM-free.'' Sales of organic food, promoted as a natural alternative to the products of modern scientific farming, are increasing by about 20 per cent a year ”¦ The public is led to believe that GM technology is not only unsafe but harmful to the environment, and that it only serves to profit big agricultural companies. Seldom has public perception been more out of line with the facts. The public in Britain and Europe seems unaware of the astonishing success of GM crops in the rest of the world.''
Taverne concludes that a ''cult of ''back to nature''' is responsible for intentionally sowing seeds of confusion:
''There can be little doubt that GM crops will be accepted worldwide in time, even in Europe. But in delaying cultivation, the anti-GM lobbies have exacted a heavy price ”¦ Above all, delay has caused the needless loss of millions of lives in the developing world. These lobbies and their friends in the organic movement have much to answer for.''
2.Biotech Deaths May Already Total Millions
By Alex and Dennis Avery
The American Daily, 25 October 2007
The global conflict over high-yield farming became even uglier last week when armed activists ''for the landless'' invaded a Brazilian biotech research farm. One activist and a security guard were killed and eight other people injured.
Unfortunately, the clash over modern farming technology has already had victims by the millions. New technologies that would save millions of lives every year are being held back by activist-scared regulators, using the excuse of ''more testing.”''
* During the severe southern African drought of 2002, eco-activists told local governments that American food aid was ''poison'' because it contained genetically modified seeds. In at least one country, Zambia, the government locked up the U.S. food aid””despite the starvation of thousands in outlying villages. The food aid was later liberated by a mob that overwhelmed its armed guards.
* Golden rice could provide enough Vitamin A to prevent millions of cases of childhood blindness and death from rice-dominated diets per year, but it is not yet available to farmers even though it was announced by the journal Science nearly eight years ago. Its developer, Ingo Potrykus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, says his rice can save millions of lives among the poor, with no threat to the environment, no cost to the poor farmers who will raise it, and no benefit to corporations. Nevertheless, Greenpeace and other eco-groups ardently oppose this and all other genetically modified seeds. Potrykus says they’d rather have people die than be saved by high-tech seeds.
* African countries refused to allow the import of biotech corn seeds that could have helped overcome the parasitic witchweed, which infests 40 million hectares of African farmland. The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center had to spend an extra 10 years conventionally breeding a natural tolerance for the herbicide imazapyr into African corn farmers’ varieties. The new seeds reliably yield four times as much corn, providing food security for farmers too used to facing starvation because the witchweed stole their grain.
* The Irish government has refused to accept test plantings of a new biotech potato variety resistant to the deadly potato late blight. This is the same blight that caused the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s when more than a million Irish starved and more than a million more were forced to flee the country. Researchers found resistance to late blight nearly 50 years ago in a wild relative of the potato, but it had never been successfully bred into a domestic potato. Now, three major universities have each bred blight-resistant tubers””and the country which suffered the potato famine won’t allow them to be grown. Nor will such African countries as Burundi, which are increasingly dependent on potatoes. An outbreak of a more virulent late blight virus continues unchecked in Britain.
How many people have to die before this travesty of Luddite worship runs its course?
How many helpless children will have to go blind before the endless testing of Golden Rice allows it to be distributed to the families who so critically need it?
When will the world realize that Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, for all their preaching about the rain forests, are trying to roll back modern civilization and its long life spans with thickets of overpriced solar panels and windmills?
They willingly fail to see that without the high yields from the Green Revolution and biotechnology, hungry people will quickly clear the world’s remaining forests for low-yield crops.
Alex and Dennis Avery
DENNIS T. AVERY is a senior fellow for Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. and is the Director for Center for Global Food Issues (www.cgfi.org). He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. ALEX A. AVERY is the Director of Research at the Hudson Institute''s Center for Global Food Issues. Readers may write them at Post Office Box 202, Churchville, VA 24421.