Evidence missing

Resident expresses concerns about genetically modified crops

Lorne Hunter’s letter concerning GM agriculture has many misleading arguments.

He begins by presenting an argument about the rigorous scrutiny that Health Canada and the CFIA use to “assure” us that the GMOs are safe.

What is missing is actual scientific evidence concerning the safety of these foods. What can be found are “assurances” from agricultural/chemical companies that their products are safe, but scientific procedures are not released for independent replication of the studies, a necessity for scientific proof.

He states specifically that “new traits cannot be transferred to other plants,” which is wrong. Companies have sued Canadian farmers for growing GM food for the very reason that their crops were cross-contaminated by other GM crops (Google Percy Schmeiser).

If there have been “trials and scrutiny,” references and sources need to be supplied, otherwise trial and scrutiny does not stand up to scientific principles.

The rest of the article is mostly about the economic impact of GM agriculture in Canada.

Yes it is large, but when a large corporation is willing to adjudicate its way to a position of strength, it can corner a large share of the market.

Regardless, agriculture has been and always will be a large part of our economy. It is not the GMOs that have necessarily made it so large.

People need to eat. Agriculture will always be with us.

Among Hunter’s economic arguments he introduces the use of glyphosate “for single-spray weed control” meaning that it kills everything natural but not the GM crop. Even this is wrong as there is scientific evidence that a variety of weeds have become glyphosate resistant.

Other problems have been recognized with GM crops such as soil degradation, water depletion, and the economic parameters of being locked into the agri-corporations regulations and rules for supplying seed, fertilizers, pesticides, and ultimately marketing.

He argues that “conventional agriculture has coexisted with organic agriculture” implying that organic agriculture is not conventional, although thousands of years of human agricultural history demonstrates otherwise.

He argues that organic agriculture is a “marketing tool,” which it is. Yet at the same time, all GM advocates I have encountered fully resist having any of their crops or products labelled as GMO.

If Mr. Hunter is so proud of GM crops, surely he would want to label them all boldly in order to compete with the “conventional organic crops.”

Let the consumer make the choice.

His final argument is also wrong when he says an anti GM resolution “is a direct threat to the stability of our provincial agricultural economy.”

No, it might threaten the stability of the agri-businesses but in no way will it threaten agriculture as a whole.

There are many “conventional” farmers whose produce would rapidly fill the shelves emptied of the vastly overrated GMOs, making for a healthier and safer environment and food platter.

GM crops have not increased crop yields except as a result of increased planting, not increased yield per acre.

They tend to be monocrop agriculture, denying the variability that has been the mainstay of conventional agriculture for thousands of years.  GM foods have not proven to be beneficial to anyone but the agribusinesses.

 

Jim Miles

Vernon