Wednesday, June 22, 2005

This is too important a story to ignore

Monsanto is one of the world's largest manufacturers and sellers of crop seeds - seeds for soy, corn, wheat, etc. The company is also one of the world's largest investors in research into Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and Genetically Engineered (GE) foods.

You may remember the story of Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser: he didn't want to grow GE canola on his land but, unfortunately for him, the neighboring farmer did. Some of these Monsanto-created seeds blew over the fencing and on to Percy's plot, and he - unbeknowst to him - had his non-GMO canola pollinated with GE seeds. What happened next is beyond comprehension and logic:

Because he was in illegal possession of Monsanto's GE canola, Monsanto sued him for infringing upon its patent. And Monsanto won!

Flash back to today.... Greenpeace obtained a copy of a Monsanto research report where it tested its new GE corn on lab rats (poor bastards). An independent scientific review of the report found that, indisputably, GE corn is linked to major health risks.

Read the article here.

For me, GE food has always been a concern, although I had never put much stock into GMO's affect on human health - geez, look at all the crazy stuff we do to ensure an abundant food supply, and yet we haven't completely destroyed our bodies yet. I figured that GMOs would probably pass right through us.

No, for me the concern was the loss of genetic diversity, the starkly unknown consequences of playing god in this manner, and the very scary reality that it is impossible to contain strains of field-grown grains: GE crops could blow all around the world, invading non-GMO farmers' land and threatening ecosystems with their hyper-resistant-to-predators strains of seed. Some scientists worry that these GE grains could take over the world - literally.

There is simply too much we don't know about GMOs for our governments and industry regulators to be turning a blind eye like they are. Especially when every single public opinion poll in Canada and Europe states that the public is skeptical and worried about GMOs.

Take a minute and read a) Greenpeace's position on Genetic Engineering in general and 2) more specifically, its position on GE agriculture. Then come back to this blog site.

One of the promises that the Martin government made during his election run was to push for mandatory GE labelling on food in Canada. It turns out that the promise was a little more difficult to keep than to make - he's made no progress on it and it has dropped off his radar.

If I could ask PM Martin one question, I would ask him about GE labelling - not Iraq, missle shields, beef industry subsidies, or sponsorship scandals, but GE labelling. I think the issue is that important. We have got to get control of agriculture before there's nothing left to grow and nowhere left to grow it.

If you also think it is an important issue, take some time out of your day and send the Prime Minister an email. All you have to do is visit his site to find out how to contact him.


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