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#1 Old 06-19-2012, 04:33 AM
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Let's have an honest discussion about GMOs. Let's talk about the pros and cons as well as the myths and realities.

And let's also discuss the difference between GMOs and patents.

 

Here is a link to a good overview of GMOs: http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php

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#2 Old 06-19-2012, 05:01 AM
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Offering further food for thought, a bang up to date report by genetic engineers is linked to below - the findings are not GMO friendly:

 

http://earthopensource.org/files/pdfs/GMO_Myths_and_Truths/GMO_Myths_and_Truths_1.2.pdf


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#3 Old 06-19-2012, 05:54 AM
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I realize that their are benefits associated with GMOs and don't offer a blanket objection to them. However, if I don't wish to purchase and consume them, I shouldn't be fooled by non-labeled products. So regulate and label them.

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#4 Old 06-19-2012, 09:02 AM
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I agree about labeling.

 

Here in the UK we have stricter standards than the US, where I think you pretty much have no consumer rights to information about foodstuffs containing GMO ingredients (please correct me if I'm wrong)?

 

Anyone on this side of the pond who wants to know what's what where GMO's and food labeling is concerned, should look here:

 

http://www.food.gov.uk/safereating/gm/gm_labelling

 

While our regulations might be better than those in the US, it's worth noting that undeclared GMO contamination is allowable up to 1 per cent for GMO's which have an EU authorisation. See Here:

 

http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~forgi20e/classweb/GMOs%20in%20EU.html

 

In other words, and most pertinently for veggies who use a wide range of soya based products, there is no way of guaranteeing for certain that you are not purchasing foods with a small degree of GMO contamination.


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#5 Old 06-19-2012, 09:27 AM
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I realize that their are benefits associated with GMOs and don't offer a blanket objection to them. However, if I don't wish to purchase and consume them, I shouldn't be fooled by non-labeled products. So regulate and label them.

I agree with this completely. If companies like Monsanto are so adamant about the fact that "GMOs aren't harmful," then why is it such a problem for them to label their products as GMO?
Although I can't always afford to eat organic, I very much prefer it. Just the idea of changing something's genetic makeup does not sit well with me at all.

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#6 Old 06-19-2012, 09:28 AM
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BTW thanks for opening this discussion ElaineV, it's an area I find very interesting, not to say troubling.

 

People -particularly those of us in UK & Europe- who are interested in some of the shady issues surrounding GMO's, US politics, and agro-giants like Monsanto might find this story of interest:

 

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/326009

 

Back in 2007, the U.S. ambassador to France, Craig Stapleton, who is a business partner of George W. Bush, stated that nationals who do not accept Monsanto's GMO crops will be "penalized". He stated that the nations should be threatened with "military-styled trade wars".

So it is no surprise that the move to maintain Monsanto's grip on France is all about the fact that the U.S. and other nations are continually pushing Monsanto's agenda.Monsanto has major (and most likely financial) connections with political heads that have actually threatened to use these trade wars.In January, WikiLeaks cables came to light revealing the information concerning the deep involvement of Monsanto in political circles.In this cable, is a statement made by Craig Stapleton:“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices.” [...] With all Monsanto's power, however, consumers are waking up to their agenda and the dangers associated with their genetically modified crops. Back in January, over 45,000 comments were submitted on the USDA website in opposition to Monsanto's new GM strain, and only 23 were in favor. While the corruption of the company is now well out in the open, the fact that the crop was approved shows how deeply rooted Monsanto is within the U.S. government, especially with a major head of the FDA being a leading Monsanto employee.

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#7 Old 06-19-2012, 10:26 AM
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When a farmer cannot re use his grains for the next year because they are insuitabke there is something wrong
When the law is forcing a farmer to buy his grains from a company such as monsanto while he could get them from a friend or neighbor or even himself, something is wrong.
When the neighboring organic crops are contaminated, there is something wrong, and guess what those cotaminated crops contaminate their own neighbors...

When in the same time those companies and those politicians are involved in laws such as making illegal natural medicine grandma style for the common unless they pay big money for a license there is something wrong
Whn they want to buy a patent on the genes of animals or even humans there s something wrong

When they want to pkay with genes to give more taste to their GMO food ther is something wrong

In short there is something seriously wrong here

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#8 Old 06-19-2012, 10:31 AM
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I distrust the Monsantos of the world, therefore I distrust their "wonder" crops. I find it telling that the roundup ready crops Monsanto engineered timed with the patent on roundup ending, in order to obtain their seed one had to agree to continue using roundup vs a generic alternative. It's more about the sale of profitable chemicals than anything else.

IMO all we are doing fighting pests/diseases with chemicals are creating super pests that will continue need harsher and harsher chemicals to combat.

The commoditization of our food supply is even more troubling but that's another discussion.
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#9 Old 06-19-2012, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by 'IckenNoodleSoup View Post

Offering further food for thought, a bang up to date report by genetic engineers is linked to below - the findings are not GMO friendly:

 

http://earthopensource.org/files/pdfs/GMO_Myths_and_Truths/GMO_Myths_and_Truths_1.2.pdf



That "report" is laughable. They cite numerous studies that have been widely rejected (such as Seralini & Aris and Leblanc). Many of their main points have been address over and over. They are beating a dead horse.

We have goo comprehensive reviews of the lit already that are more reliable

http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12804
http://ipts.jrc.ec.europa.eu/publications/pub.cfm?id=1458
http://www.ifpri.org/publication/measuring-economic-impacts-transgenic-crops-developing-agriculture-during-first-decade

it also appear that one of the report authors runs a GM testing and labeling company


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#10 Old 06-19-2012, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Plant View Post

I realize that their are benefits associated with GMOs and don't offer a blanket objection to them. However, if I don't wish to purchase and consume them, I shouldn't be fooled by non-labeled products. So regulate and label them.

 

Do you wish to consume animal products? Why not demand a govt veg label like in India?
Should the govt mandate kosher labels for those who want to avoid non-kosher food. Mandate halal labels so islamophobic Christian will not accidentally eat a turkey slaughtered in Allahs name?

GMOs are well regulated.

Those who wish to avoid GMOs can support market driven labeling like the Non-Gmo Project. This is just like buying products with the Vegan Society label (or on of a number of such labels) instead of screaming to the govt for labels.
You can also do as vegans already do and read labels, learn to identify ingredients that may or may not be GMO, such as soy and soy derivatives (just like emulsifiers may or may not be vegan) and then call or email the company and ask. Seriously vegans do this everyday.

Mandatory govt labeling is not and should not be based on "want to know" issues, it is restricted to legit and demonstrable health concerns such as allergens. Trying to push govt mandated gmo labeling is doing an end run around our evidence-based regulatory system. This cry of the "Right 2 Know" is no different than the Trojan horse of "academic freedom" that seeks to undermine the legit scientific basis of evolution education in public school through, ironically enough, their own label places in biology text book. "But children have the right to know about the alternatives to evolution" the creationist say. But it really is a transparent attempt by non-scientific and anti-scientific ideological interest groups to do an end run around rational, science-based regulations.
http://skepticalvegan.com/2011/10/29/food-labeling/


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#11 Old 06-19-2012, 11:24 AM
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Wow. There is a lot to think about here.
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#12 Old 06-19-2012, 12:05 PM
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Patents are a problem with some GMOs.

 

But that's a legal issue.  Otherwise, GMOs aren't the big problem.  The big problem is that within the last 100 years, we've effectively replaced our entire diet.  Our food is designed to be grown on large farms with high yields.  Our food is designed to be grown with fertilizers to increase yields.  Our food is designed to be easily processed and survive being shipped long distances.  And, for the most part, each of the foods we eat are from a limited number of cultivars.

 

We've changed our entire diet.  Even if most people are unaware of this, they are a part of this experiment.

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#13 Old 06-19-2012, 12:38 PM
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Patents are a problem with some GMOs.

Intellectual protection right exist for many crops, not just GM crops, not to mention for many many other products that we buy.


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#14 Old 06-19-2012, 12:57 PM
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I distrust the Monsantos of the world, therefore I distrust their "wonder" crops.

 


This is a logically fallacious way to make judgments.

 

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I find it telling that the roundup ready crops Monsanto engineered timed with the patent on roundup ending, in order to obtain their seed one had to agree to continue using roundup vs a generic alternative. It's more about the sale of profitable chemicals than anything else.

 

This is just false. I'm sorry this is a common myth. lets hear from a farmer who actually grows this stuff,
 

 

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Let’s examine this corporate control a little further and look at it from the family farm level.  My farm in particular.  When we buy Monsanto’s GMO seeds we get to sign a Technology/Stewardship Agreement.  Section 4 of the 2011 agreement I have on file covers everything the grower must agree to when purchasing these products.  Here’s a quick rundown of the requirements.

  *If we buy or lease land that is already seeded with Monsanto technology that year we need to abide by the contract.  Makes sense to me.  If I end up leasing ground in crop for some reason, I should honor the agreements it was planted with.
   
*Read and follow the Technology Use Guide and Insect Resistance Management/Grower Guide.  So Monsanto has ideas on how best to use their product.  Some of it is required by the EPA to make sure farmers like me understand how to steward the technology.   No big surprise there. Not to mention if you read the guides you’ll find a ton of good agronomic information.
   
*Implement an Insect Resistance Management program.  Shocking! Monsanto thinks controlling pests responsibly is a good idea, and if you farm insects are something you deal with no matter what type of crop you may have.
   
*We should only buy seed from a dealer or seed company licensed by Monsanto.  I’d want to do that anyway.  It’s for my own good.  Would you buy a brand new home entertainment system out of the back of some guy’s van parked in an alley?  Me neither.
   
*We agree to use seed with Monsanto technology solely for planting a single commercial crop. And don’t sell any to your neighbor either it says.  That’s right, we can’t save seed to grow the next year, and frankly I’m not interested in doing that.  For the critics who are not sold on GMO crops anyway do they really want farmers holding onto this seed and planting it without any kind of paper trail?
   
*If you want to plant seed to be used as seed you need to sign an agreement to do so with a seed company licensed by Monsanto.  We do this for two different companies.  In fact we’ve actually worked with one company through several name changes long before GMO showed up.  Why?  Because we can get a premium price for the soybeans we grow that will be used as seed by other farmers next year.
   
*We can’t grow seed to be used for breeding, research, or generation of herbicide registration data.  That gets back to saving seed.  If we wanted to breed our own varieties I’m sure we could get into doing that, but I look at it right now as division of labor.  Seed companies are great at coming up with great products, and American farmers are great (in many cases the best) at turning those products into a bounty of food, feed, fuel, and fiber.
   
*Our farm has agreed to only export and plant these crops in countries that allow them.  OK that’s kind of a no brainer.
   
*Here’s the part where some people think family farmers become slaves to the corporations.  The part where GMO seeds force us to buy our chemicals from the same company.  But if you’ve got a Technology/Stewardship Agreement handy you’ll find that’s not true.  If I plant Roundup® Ready (RR) crops Monsanto would sure like me to use Roundup® herbicide on them, but I don’t have to.  The agreement says that for RR crops that I should only use Roundup® herbicide…………………OR another authorized herbicide which could not be used in the absence of the RR gene.  When I worked off the farm I sold a lot of generic brand glyphosate.  It’s just like buying your grocer’s private label brand of cough medicine instead of the name brand.  The only catch is if you have a problem you need to talk with the company who provided the herbicide.  If we spray Brand X and it doesn’t work it won’t do any good to go crying to Monsanto.  That sounds like pretty standard business practice to me.  Furthermore, I don’t even have to use glyphosate on my glyphosate tolerant crops.  This year we will have waxy corn from Pioneer and waxy from a local dealer who sells Monsanto products.  The latter will be RR, but the Pioneer variety won’t.  We will likely plant them in the same field side by side to see which one performs better.  If we spray glyphosate on those acres all the Pioneer corn will die!  Instead we will control weeds with a herbicide that all corn resists naturally.
   
*We have to pay for the seed.  Ridiculous isn’t it? Paying for something that gives value in return?
   
*We may have to provide documents supporting that we are following the agreement within 7 days after getting a request from Monsanto.  I’m not worried about that if I’m following the agreement anyway.
   
*If Monsanto asks to do so they can inspect our land, storage bins, wagons, etc.  Again I’m not worried.
   
*And finally we agree to allow Monsanto to obtain our internet service provider records to validate an electronic signature.  If anything on this list is questionable it’s this one.  I’m just not sure electronic signatures are the way to go personally, but it’s becoming more common.  Even for the President.

If you want to see the exact wording of the contract, click to view a PDF of my 2011 Monsanto Technology/Stewardship Agreement.

So there you have it.  That’s what we have to agree to in order to make use of Monsanto’s biotechnology on our farm.  I don’t see anything in there that hurts my farm.  I don’t have to buy their herbicides, and I don’t have to buy anything from them next year if I don’t want to.  The biggest problem I have with seed companies is that it seems like they phase out a variety from time to time that is a really strong performer on our farm.  I understand the concern organic farms have with GMO crops in close proximity to their own.  Those farmers have worked hard and shown patience in getting an organic certification, and they don’t want to start over again.  Even though we don’t have any neighbors farming organically, it’s important that we are careful when making field applications.  We hope our neighbors do the same because our waxy corn generally isn’t RR and our popcorn definitely is not.  You could also have drift from any corn field do damage to soybeans next door, so even guys like me are sympathetic to the practices of other farms.


Its generally not good to spread myths, even if they fit into our preconceived narratives and prejudices.
 

Quote:

IMO all we are doing fighting pests/diseases with chemicals are creating super pests that will continue need harsher and harsher chemicals to combat.



This is a problem common to agriculture, not just GMOs. In fact many Gm crops were designed to alleviate these issues. I, for one, look forward to stacked traits that will allow for switching between herbicides which breaks the pattern of natural selection. Traits such as aphid repelling wheat are also quite exciting.

The use of topical BT in organic and conventional agriculture create BT resistant cabbage looper and Dimondback Moths. Gmos were not involved. Herbicide resistant weeds have been created through misuse of herbicides as well without the involvement of GMOs. We have also bred herbicide resistant crops through hybridization as well (not genetically engineered).
I recommend this post for more info on resistance and resistance management.
http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com/2012/04/humankind-vs-weeds-epic-battle.html
 


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#15 Old 06-19-2012, 01:17 PM
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When a farmer cannot re use his grains for the next year because they are insuitabke there is something wrong
When the law is forcing a farmer to buy his grains from a company such as monsanto while he could get them from a friend or neighbor or even himself, something is wrong.
When the neighboring organic crops are contaminated, there is something wrong, and guess what those cotaminated crops contaminate their own neighbors...
When in the same time those companies and those politicians are involved in laws such as making illegal natural medicine grandma style for the common unless they pay big money for a license there is something wrong
Whn they want to buy a patent on the genes of animals or even humans there s something wrong
When they want to pkay with genes to give more taste to their GMO food ther is something wrong
In short there is something seriously wrong here

 

+1.

I am in complete and total agreement with this. 


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#16 Old 06-19-2012, 01:43 PM
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This is a logically fallacious way to make judgments.


 

This is just false. I'm sorry this is a common myth. lets hear from a farmer who actually grows this stuff,

 



Its generally not good to spread myths, even if they fit into our preconceived narratives and prejudices.

 



This is a problem common to agriculture, not just GMOs. In fact many Gm crops were designed to alleviate these issues. I, for one, look forward to stacked traits that will allow for switching between herbicides which breaks the pattern of natural selection. Traits such as aphid repelling wheat are also quite exciting.


The use of topical BT in organic and conventional agriculture create BT resistant cabbage looper and Dimondback Moths. Gmos were not involved. Herbicide resistant weeds have been created through misuse of herbicides as well without the involvement of GMOs. We have also bred herbicide resistant crops through hybridization as well (not genetically engineered).

I recommend this post for more info on resistance and resistance management.
http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com/2012/04/humankind-vs-weeds-epic-battle.html

 

I knew you'd chime in on this one, lol.

I also know it's a logically fallacious way to make judgements but there you have it. I'm not sure what type of information you could ever throw out there that would make me trust them. Granted they look after their interests first and I would assume part of their business model considers the best interest of their customers... in the short term anyway. It's the long term consequences that concern me.

Anyway interesting on the not required to purchase roundup per se, I guess if one hears misinformation enough from enough different sources one believes it.

I also understand the herbicide resistant weeds etc are not just a GMO problem. But GMO IMO GMO is just the next step up the ever spiraling battle to combat it. Again short term solutions that will leave us ever more dependent upon the companies w/o any long term solution in site.
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#17 Old 06-19-2012, 01:45 PM
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I guess if one hears misinformation enough from enough different sources one believes it.

Thats pretty much the modus operandi of anti-GM organizations


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#18 Old 06-19-2012, 01:45 PM
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Do you wish to consume animal products? Why not demand a govt veg label like in India?

Should the govt mandate kosher labels for those who want to avoid non-kosher food. Mandate halal labels so islamophobic Christian will not accidentally eat a turkey slaughtered in Allahs name?


GMOs are well regulated.


Those who wish to avoid GMOs can support market driven labeling like the Non-Gmo Project. This is just like buying products with the Vegan Society label (or on of a number of such labels) instead of screaming to the govt for labels.

You can also do as vegans already do and read labels, learn to identify ingredients that may or may not be GMO, such as soy and soy derivatives (just like emulsifiers may or may not be vegan) and then call or email the company and ask. Seriously vegans do this everyday.


Mandatory govt labeling is not and should not be based on "want to know" issues, it is restricted to legit and demonstrable health concerns such as allergens. Trying to push govt mandated gmo labeling is doing an end run around our evidence-based regulatory system. This cry of the "Right 2 Know" is no different than the Trojan horse of "academic freedom" that seeks to undermine the legit scientific basis of evolution education in public school through, ironically enough, their own label places in biology text book. "But children have the right to know about the alternatives to evolution" the creationist say. But it really is a transparent attempt by non-scientific and anti-scientific ideological interest groups to do an end run around rational, science-based regulations.
http://skepticalvegan.com/2011/10/29/food-labeling/



GMOs are well regulated by who? Is there or is there not a revolving door between the regulators and those being regulated? Does this not enter bias into the system?
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#19 Old 06-19-2012, 01:48 PM
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When a farmer cannot re use his grains for the next year because they are insuitabke there is something wrong


So hybrids are wrong?
 

 

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When the law is forcing a farmer to buy his grains from a company such as monsanto while he could get them from a friend or neighbor or even himself, something is wrong.

There is no such law telling farmer they must buy from Monsanto.


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#20 Old 06-19-2012, 01:54 PM
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GMOs are well regulated by who? Is there or is there not a revolving door between the regulators and those being regulated? Does this not enter bias into the system?


The FDA, DoA, and the EPA primarily. While bias can certainly be introduced by interested parties, I still have a degree of confidence in the competitive and self-correcting nature of science. As long as we fight to keep regulations evidence-based then I think we'll do just fine.


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#21 Old 06-19-2012, 02:32 PM
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Oh, SkepticalVegan and your facts! It's so annoying when clever people post things I don't like and probably don't understand very much but object to anyway! Grrr!


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#22 Old 06-19-2012, 03:58 PM
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One big problem I see when discussing GMOs is how people conflate the science with the law. Many of the problems associated with Monsanto's GMOs are legal issues, not science issues. For example, people opposed to Monsanto would be wise to urge for a ban on life patents rather than a ban on GMOs.

ETA:
There are other reasons to oppose patents on life, too: http://www.stopanimalpatents.org/
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#23 Old 06-19-2012, 04:23 PM
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Ok sorry there is no law saying that you have to buy from monsanto. But there is pressure from banks and government with heavy ties with monsanto to use GMO, Monsanto being the absolute leader and master, your crops will come from here, actually a lot of their so called concurrents buy their crops from monsanto, wich makes hardly a difference between them. And both by contracts and by practical reasons on wich i insist ( GMO crops wich either cannot be reused or become weaker and weaker ), you cannot re-use your own crops like logic and millenary experience dictates.

 

The farmer ends not being able to re use his grains and becomes dependant on a private corporation to give him the grains he needs...

 

This aspect is my main issue, but if you want to stay on the science issue, then i would just like to know how one can expect GMO not to contaminate their neighbors, and in the long run everything, and how can the effects of a global change be predicted and said to be safe ( should i remind that our science still doesnt know all the species on earth, that not so long ago the earth was the center of the universe, that a few years back pluto was a planet and that even such a thing as the composition of the heart of our planet is nothing more than a theory with no proof ? That the effects of car emissions came long after the cars themselves ? )


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#24 Old 06-19-2012, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

One big problem I see when discussing GMOs is how people conflate the science with the law. Many of the problems associated with Monsanto's GMOs are legal issues, not science issues. For example, people opposed to Monsanto would be wise to urge for a ban on life patents rather than a ban on GMOs.


I think they would do better to really understand the role of intellectual property protect in both conventional and GE agriculture (not to mention medicine as well) and also how this protection can be structured in multiple ways allowing us to strike a balance between encouraging innovation and having equitable access to resources and products. Despite my leftist political background I'm becoming convinced that IPP is beneficial for innovation. Of course I would also be willing to spend tons more on public research and development as well, but it seems politician always wanna use the money for weapons.


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#25 Old 06-19-2012, 04:50 PM
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But there is pressure from banks and government with heavy ties with monsanto to use GMO

How? The pressure is "market pressure". Farmers have to compete in the market, if one has a better performing crop then he is usually goona do better i nthe market (unless he can convince others to pay a price premium such as for Organic)
 

 

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And both by contracts and by practical reasons on wich i insist ( GMO crops wich either cannot be reused or become weaker and weaker ), you cannot re-use your own crops like logic and millenary experience dictates.

 

This is true of hybrid crops as well, the same hybrids that farmers have relied upon for decades
 

 

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i would just like to know how one can expect GMO not to contaminate their neighbors, and in the long run everything, and how can the effects of a global change be predicted and said to be safe

genetic spread does happen (though its far from detrimental) both resulting from GM crops and non-GM crops. An organic farmer's crops could be contaminated non-GMO convention crops as well. But we do have management systems in place. I really don't think its a prohibitive issue.
 

I suggest read this post, Genetic Contamination May Not Mean What You Think It Means

 

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Long before the advent of GMO crops, farmers of certain crops have had to manage “genetic contamination” issues involving normal cross pollination.  Wheat is wind pollinated and farmers commonly save part of their crop each year to serve as seed for the next (“saved seed”).  Wheat is also a crop with very specific quality characteristics for its various uses (raised breads, flat breads, crackers, pastries, noodles…).  New wheat varieties are bred for those specific uses.  There is a network of dedicated wheat seed growers who produce “certified seed” with enough isolation from other wheat so that the seed they produce is >95% the desired variety.  If a farmer plants that certified seed (usually at a small cost above current grain price), the crop he/she produces will be what is desired for the end use.  If the farmer saves some of that crop and plants it a second year, it will be less pure because of cross pollination from neighboring fields.  After a few years, it is necessary for the farmer to buy new certified seed because his/her own supply is “contaminated.”  There are many more examples like this for “saved seed” crops.

Hybrid seeds are grown by dedicated seed growers and purchased by the farmers every year.  This system insures both genetic purity for specific needs and the extra vigor and yield potential that hybridization enables.

Whether it is a “saved seed” crop or a hybrid crop, GMO versions create no new issues beyond what farmers have always been managing.  It only becomes an issue when someone wants to set a zero tolerance unlike the rational tolerances that have made all of these crops work for a very long time.


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#26 Old 06-19-2012, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by SkepticalVegan View Post
I think they would do better to really understand the role of intellectual property protect in both conventional and GE agriculture (not to mention medicine as well) and also how this protection can be structured in multiple ways allowing us to strike a balance between encouraging innovation and having equitable access to resources and products. Despite my leftist political background I'm becoming convinced that IPP is beneficial for innovation. Of course I would also be willing to spend tons more on public research and development as well, but it seems politician always wanna use the money for weapons.

I think we need an entirely new system to compensate both artists and scientists who create things that are easily stolen/pirated or otherwise become easily "free" to large swaths of people. I don't think patents or copyright are ideal methods of encouraging innovation and art.

 

The article I linked to in the first post gave an example of a GMO created through charity that was to be distributed freely for the benefit of malnourished peoples:

 

Quote: http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php

What are some of the advantages of GM foods?

[...]

Nutrition: Malnutrition is common in third world countries where impoverished peoples rely on a single crop such as rice for the main staple of their diet. However, rice does not contain adequate amounts of all necessary nutrients to prevent malnutrition. If rice could be genetically engineered to contain additional vitamins and minerals, nutrient deficiencies could be alleviated. For example, blindness due to vitamin A deficiency is a common problem in third world countries. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Institute for Plant Sciences have created a strain of "golden" rice containing an unusually high content of beta-carotene (vitamin A)13. Since this rice was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation14, a non-profit organization, the Institute hopes to offer the golden rice seed free to any third world country that requests it. Plans were underway to develop a golden rice that also has increased iron content. However, the grant that funded the creation of these two rice strains was not renewed, perhaps because of the vigorous anti-GM food protesting in Europe, and so this nutritionally-enhanced rice may not come to market at all15.

 

GMOs could possibly make eating a vegan diet easier and healthier, too, by adding B12 to plant foods.

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#27 Old 06-19-2012, 05:51 PM
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I was thinking of golden rice when I wrote "this protection can be structured in multiple ways allowing us to strike a balance between encouraging innovation and having equitable access to resources and products."

Its still has some protection rights but it is licensed in a way that allows small farmers to grow it without restrictions. I still think there Is a useful role for protection, without such IPP golden rice would probably not gotten to this stage of development as it involved 70 IPPs.

I still have major love for publicly funded research but even here IPP plays a role.

and i agree about the b12 part, omega fatty acids as well (new GE oil with better profile will be hitting the market this year and in the next few)

also interested in Fusarium venenatum (the stuff used to make Quorn) I bet we could alter it in a benificial way as well...and fungus in vats is perfect space food
 


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#28 Old 06-20-2012, 07:52 AM
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Intellectual protection right exist for many crops, not just GM crops, not to mention for many many other products that we buy.

 

Yep.  The entire IP (Intellectual property) system needs to be overhauled.

 

One of the problem with IP-protected crops is contamination.  Some common crops can be pollinated from a great distance away.  People who save their seeds to replant can see their crops contaminated with other companies' IP.

 

Is it a problem?  I'm not sure.  It depends how aggressive the companies protect their IP.  It also depends on the court.

 

Farmers have been successfully prosecuted for saving IP-protected seeds.  They tried to use the "contamination" defense.  It didn't work.  But were the crops contaminated accidentally?  Or were the farmers knowingly and purposely saving IP-protected seeds?  I don't know enough about the cases to tell.

 

Of course, the same problems hold true to a lesser extent with all crops.  Any close crops of a different cultivar may contaminate seeds.  But while that's annoying, it's IP laws that open up the possibility of legal liability.

 

See, I like local cultivars.  I like continuing our genetic diversity by keeping so-called "heirloom" crops around.  It gives us more "tools" to be able to fight future problems.

 

But at the same time, we needed the green revolution.  We needed hybrid crops and modern farming practices.  We do need cultivars that survive being shipped long distances, because often that's less resource-intensive than trying to grow everything locally.

 

There are problems with the current system, but that doesn't mean I want to throw the entire system out.  That would be a mistake.  We need reform, not a revolution.

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#29 Old 06-20-2012, 11:53 AM
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GMO is a technology, so it always confuses me when I hear about people who are against the concept of GMO food in general.  It's like saying all devices that use lasers are bad for you because they might actually be a laser gun that could kill or harm you.  Are you going to run away every time someone powers up a DVD player just because you can imagine a way for it to hurt you?  

 

Sure the technology of GMO can create harmful things.  It also allows for really good things.  Should we be ignoring all the benefits of this technology just because we can imagine ways that it can be bad?  As with all things in life, every gain (progress) has a certain amount of risk.  The real question is, does GMO possess enough risk to nullify the gains?

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#30 Old 06-21-2012, 12:24 PM
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I'd love to write a thoughtful and compelling post here full of well sourced scientific research and deep philosophy.

But I want none of that when it comes to Monsanto and other similar companies. Instead I'd rather just call the people doing this psychopaths. The sooner we route them out and expose them for what they are and bury the whole agenda the better.

 

This is simple opinion, my opinion, and I'm not bothering to say why I hold such a staunch opinion because it should be very obvious to anyone who does any research in the matter beyond the fairy tales Monsanto tries to feed us.

 

Route them out + destroy their agenda => we get sunshine, rainbows, and happy butterflies.


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