– Debunking the GMO Talking Points with Ease (Farm Wars, Feb 6, 2013):
#1 GMOs are needed to feed the world.
This is always a future based “goal” never to be obtained any time soon. GMOs have been on the market since 1996. When are they going to feed the world? The answer is never because that’s not what they are intended to do. I’ve heard an estimate of 80% of the GMOs grown in the US is used for force feeding factory farmed animals. USA today reported, “It takes about 15 pounds of feed to make 1 pound of beef, 6 pounds of feed for 1 pound of pork and 5 pounds of feed for 1 pound of chicken”. Do you think we could feed the world with those numbers?
#2 GMOs reduce the use of chemical pesticides.
This talking point is just a blatant lie. Well, sort of. Although, a variety of corn and cotton produces its own insecticide, most GMO crops are sprayed with heavy amounts of herbicide, which has more than doubled since the introduction of GMOs. Companies like Monsanto always use the words pesticide and insecticide when reporting a decrease in use, but never say herbicide when it comes to reduction. It’s a play on words. Monsanto and the other biotech companies know most people don’t know the difference.
#3 GMOs have been around for thousands of years.
This confuses hybridization with genetic modification. Hybridization cross breeds two closely related plant species. This occurs naturally in the wild. GMOs cross genes between two completely unrelated species, such as, inserting genes of bacteria or an animal into the DNA of a plant. This process has never happened outside of a laboratory.
#4 GMOs can be contained and co-exist with non-GMO crops.
This is another blatant lie. It’s been well documented dozens of times that non-GMO crops have been contaminated with transgenic DNA due to cross pollination from GMO crops. Researchers in North Dakota sampled 406 wild canola plants and 86% contained transgenic DNA from GMO crops. In Mexico, transgenic DNA was found in wild cotton as far as 500 miles away. An Idaho farmer, named Phil Geertson, talked about how he lost his export market for alfalfa due to cross contamination shortly after GMO alfalfa was deregulated. Farmers in Jackson County, Oregon have had some of their non-GMO crops contaminated due to the planting of GMO sugar beets in the county and are now seeking a ban.
#5 GMOs have been thoroughly tested and proven safe.
A study out of Japan revealed GM food likely interferes with the bodies ability to “transform most of the products of digestion, degrade and detoxify toxic substances and excrete them in the bile,” among other functions.
A study out of Russia says hamsters fed GMOs “growth rate was slower and reached their sexual maturity slowly.” They also caused the hamsters to be completely sterile by the third generation.
A study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences points out the “side effects” of eating GMOs: “Effects were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs… Other effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen…We conclude that these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn.”
A Danish pig farmer came out in 2012 to give his experience when switching his feed from GMO soy to non-GMO soy. He says that diarrhea in piglets disappeared in two days, death by bloat, which is when the stomach is overstretched by excessive gas, and stomach ulcers ended; pigs are milking better and have lower mortality rates and increased birth rates due to fewer still born piglets. He also said that the drugs he gives to his pigs has been cut in half, making up for the cost of switching to the more expensive non-GMO soy.
#6 If you are against GMOs you are unscientific
This is my favorite talking point because of its sheer stupidity. Dictionary.com defines science as “a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws”. How many different topics could we label as science or scientific? Tens or hundreds of thousands? Perhaps, more? The fact is GMOs are a fraction of a fraction of a percent of what we would call science. Calling one unscientific is a subconscious survival mechanism because the name calling proponent of GMOs has reached a point where they are unable to reasonably debate any further.