Debate continues

Countering Rudy Bergen's letter on Genetically Modified Organisms

I must be one of those “highly vocal radicals motivated by emotion” that Rudy Bergen says that it is  “Mr. Harper’s job to protect us from.” Except that my emotion comes from research of information and not what Mr. Harper tells me to believe.

Mr. Bergen’s arguments are readily countered. There are many arguments against the success of Bt cotton, available for the reader/researcher on the internet, ranging from increased insecticide sprays (for other than those genetically targeted), increased water usage (depletion of the water table), increased fertilizer use (soil depletion), decreases in yield per acre, and increased social destruction (as farmers become indentured servants to GMO companies for their agricultural needs).

As for the endangered papaya (only endangered as a food crop), Wikipedia says, “In 2011 Philippine researchers reported….had developed conventionally bred, nongenetically engineered papaya that are proving resistant to PRV.” This was the base of the solution to save the food crop.

In his role as a member of the American Association of Cereal Chemists, he argues against the “helter skelter cross breeding which moves hundreds or more genes”, your basic hybridization process that has produced everything from chihuahuas and pugs to wheat and corn.

Of course hundreds of genes are moved…that is what makes the next generation of living species possible.  A single gene can be inserted scientifically, but the side effects, its ‘collateral damage’ will be unknown unless research is done before initiating the process.

He then argues about an allergy gene in peanuts. No, the allergy gene is in the consumer, the human body, which is why the human has an allergic reaction, not the peanut.

Bergen than argues about guns and cars, an emotional argument if there ever was one, as it has little if anything to do with GM foods.

Finally, the real reason that “GMOs have not been proven to even cause a rash or sore throat” is because no research has been done on humans to even test that, and with the widespread use of GMOs it is probably impossible to have proper tests done now.  However research has been done on laboratory animals (mice) that has produced tumors, lowered growth, and birth defects.

As for me, sorry to be emotional about all this, but I really do not think that – given Mr. Harper’s anti-scientific views – I would want him to protect me from anything.


Jim Miles, Vernon