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Genetically Engineered Crops - Greenpeace Says No


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I found an article by greenpeace that condemns the production of genetically engineered rice crops. Their main argument is that not enough is known about the effects of genetically engineered crops and the affects they may have on the environment and human health. I'm no expert but this sounds like propaganda to me. Genetically engineered crops are produced to withstand chemicals sprayed by farmers and harmful pathogens, isn't this proof enough to keep on going with it? Alot of the article goes on about how they're worried about the "GE'ed" plants interbreeding with natural ones, are there any problems with that?

 

Here's the article:

What's wrong with genetic engineering (GE)?

Genetic engineering enables scientists to create plants, animals and micro-organisms by manipulating genes in a way that does not occurnaturally.

 

These genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can spread through nature and interbreed with natural organisms, thereby contaminating non 'GE' environments and future generations in an unforeseeable and uncontrollable way.

 

Their release is 'genetic pollution' and is a major threat because GMOs cannot be recalled once released into the environment.

 

Because of commercial interests, the public is being denied theright to know about GE ingredients in the food chain, and therefore losing the right to avoid them despite the presence of labelling laws in certain countries.

 

Biological diversity must be protected and respected as the global heritage of humankind, and one of our world's fundamental keys to survival. Governments are attempting to address the threat of GE with international regulations such as the Biosafety Protocol.

 

We believe:

GMOs should not be released into the environment since there is not an adequate scientific understanding of their impact on the environment and human health.

 

We advocate immediate interim measures such as labelling of GE ingredients, and the segregation of genetically engineered crops and seeds from conventional ones.

 

We also oppose all patents on plants, animals and humans, as well as patents on their genes. Life is not an industrial commodity. When we force life forms and our world's food supply to conform to human economic models rather than their natural ones, we do so at our own peril.

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We also oppose all patents on plants, animals and humans, as well as patents on their genes. Life is not an industrial commodity. When we force life forms and our world's food supply to conform to human economic models rather than their natural ones, we do so at our own peril.

I agree with that part.

 

As for genetic enhancements, it's really just the next step up from selective breeding. Nature already has a failsafe against rogue genetics, it's called evolution.

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Alot of the article goes on about how they're worried about the "GE'ed" plants interbreeding with natural ones, are there any problems with that?

 

I think it is important to try and preserve at least some plant diversity in case of disease or some other problem develops with the GE'ed plant. Bananas and potatoes(Ireland) provide some examples with lack of diversity.

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I think it is important to try and preserve at least some plant diversity in case of disease or some other problem develops with the GE'ed plant. Bananas and potatoes(Ireland) provide some examples with lack of diversity.

 

I was under the imperssion that crops are genetically engineered to withstand diseases that are proving troublesome.

 

Are there any examples of GE'ed crops turning bad? I'd like to read about it.

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I was under the imperssion that crops are genetically engineered to withstand diseases that are proving troublesome.

 

Are there any examples of GE'ed crops turning bad? I'd like to read about it.

 

Diseases evolve too, and a field of genetically identical plants is a prime target for specialized bugs.

 

Of course, this isn't an inherent problem with GE crops, just a potential one. You just have to make sure to deliberately maintain diversity, something which otherwise would have happened naturally.

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I was under the imperssion that crops are genetically engineered to withstand diseases that are proving troublesome.

 

Not all instances of genetic engineering, that I've read about, were aimed at disease protection.

 

Some modifications were designed for plants/crops to be able to survive frost or grow in very cold conditions, while the original plant would have failed in such circumstances. And then there's the possibly over-ambitious ideas of some geneticists to modify vegetables to taste like chocolate, etc.

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Diseases evolve too, and a field of genetically identical plants is a prime target for specialized bugs.

Wouldn't interbreeding with natural plants change that? Also once they interbreed are those immunities that were engineered into the plants passed on?

 

Not all instances of genetic engineering, that I've read about, were aimed at disease protection.

 

Some modifications were designed for plants/crops to be able to survive frost or grow in very cold conditions, while the original plant would have failed in such circumstances. And then there's the possibly over-ambitious ideas of some geneticists to modify vegetables to taste like chocolate, etc.

I was aware that disease protection wasn't the only instance. I was just talking specifically.

 

Modifying vegetables to taste like chocolate is a waste of time and money. :doh:

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Then, there is the possibility of modifying crops to be more nutritous. This would have incredible value in many parts of the world where, for most people, the diet is almost exclusively one crop (such as rice). Even today, millions of people are vitamin deficient.

 

This is something I find difficult to argue against.

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Well, one way to argue against it is that introducing a certain vitamin does not necessarily makes it more nutritious per se, but it is quite possible that it will become more expensive. Moreover, many GM crops are sterile (deliberately) so that one has to re-buy the seeds. In other words, it may create a dependency of especially poor farmers to a given company.

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I suppose this could be argued. But since the farmers are free to buy rice seed (except perhaps the GM variety) from anyone, I don't see this as a strong arguement. True, the poor farmers will want to buy the seed once, then replant every year from the first harvest. Too bad (in these cases) companies need profits and design the seed to be sterile...though I don't know that this has actually happened.

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GM of crops is basically speeding up natural selection. On our farm, we grow tobacco and hay. The tobacco has been GM to resist blackshank, which is a horrible virus that can literally wipe out your entire crop. we grow GM hay that prevents it from heading out too soon, so as to allow us a more flexible window of cutting and cruing and raking and baling.

 

Most of these people know nothing about farming and how difficult it would be to keep up with the world's demand for food without utilizing science. Im not saying GE is perfectly safe or that we know all about it, but seeing as how its not hurt us yet, it seems fairly safe.

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The purpose of sterile crops is not just to guarantee continued business but also because of the very dangers that Greenpeace is worried about. No unpredictable hybrids, no taking over ecosystems, etc.

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Indeed. There are a couple containment strategies out there and I suppose they work reasonably well. But I do believe it somewhat invalidates the argument that it is for the good of the poor, as they will likely not benefit much from it.

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Again, though, nobody is forcing them to buy them. If GE crops are so much better that they're still more productive/cost effective even factoring in having to import seeds every season, then they're good for the poor.

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Well then it would create the above mentioned dependency. Though of course it could be said that the dependency on agricultural companies is already a reality with non-GM crops anyway.

However, what I am arguing against is the "GM is good for people because it helps feeding the poor" argument. So far the majority of GM crop appear to geared towards already industrialized agriculture (e.g. delayed rotting). Abilities like pesticide resistance makes the users dependent on the pesticide in question, and pest toxicity may pose ecological problems. And finally, the intention of the companies will, of course, be to maximize profit, rather than feed the poor. The poor are not really a target anyway, because they are, well, poor.

 

That being said, I do not give a rat's arse what Greenpeace thinks about it.

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My only problem at the moment is that the majority of articles I've read say that the benefits of GM foods are vast and that they have the potential to solve hunger problems and create disease and pesticide resistant crops, then they turn around and say that we need to tread lightly as there are potential harms but they stop short of explaining these harms.

 

I understand that people want to preserve natural food sources but at what cost?

 

"GM is good for people because it helps feeding the poor"

I know it's not as easy as that. That statement is just a convenient excuse for people who know little about GM foods. Perhaps Greenpeace instead of fighting against GM foods they could petition to bring prices down. Having small GM crops in africa that are drought resistant could help feed many villages. Is preserving a plant more important than saving a life?

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  • 3 months later...
I found an article by greenpeace that condemns the production of genetically engineered rice crops. Their main argument is that not enough is known about the effects of genetically engineered crops and the affects they may have on the environment and human health. I'm no expert but this sounds like propaganda to me. Genetically engineered crops are produced to withstand chemicals sprayed by farmers and harmful pathogens, isn't this proof enough to keep on going with it? Alot of the article goes on about how they're worried about the "GE'ed" plants interbreeding with natural ones, are there any problems with that?

 

Here's the article:

hello,

am kumar from india doing ME safety engineering........ wat is meant by GMO.....

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hello,

am kumar from india doing ME safety engineering........ wat is meant by GMO.....

 

REPLY: They can patent the seeds. There have been cases where families have lost their farms over lawsuits claiming the farmers did not buy the seeds if they had even created a seed crop close enough to the patented seed plants that some of their seed crop had been cross polinated by the patented crops and the courts found in favor of the seed producers and the awards were so large the farmers lost ther farms by being forced to pay up. The World has gone insane or always was perhaps. ...Dr.Syntax

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hello,

am kumar from india doing ME safety engineering........ wat is meant by GMO.....

A "GMO" is a genetically modified organism.


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
REPLY: They can patent the seeds. There have been cases where families have lost their farms over lawsuits claiming the farmers did not buy the seeds if they had even created a seed crop close enough to the patented seed plants that some of their seed crop had been cross polinated by the patented crops and the courts found in favor of the seed producers and the awards were so large the farmers lost ther farms by being forced to pay up. The World has gone insane or always was perhaps. ...Dr.Syntax

 

Can you cite a case? I would be interested in reading up on that.

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GMO's have great potential, they also have great potential problems. Accidentally creating a super bug would be a very bad thing but it seems highly unlikely. Imagine if you will a coconut like fruit that contains meat of some sort, a beef roast, shrimp, abalone, or chicken. Perennial corn with complete proteins, tomatoes that grow in salty water or even better rice that will grow in salty water. The idea of more nutritious foods would seem like a universally good idea. Organizations like Greenpeace tend to be anti corporation but they ignore the reality of need for more food. Small organic heirloom vegetable farmers cannot provide the world with food. The potential is great. i think that with just a little regulation the potential good of GMO's far out weight the problems.

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Thanks. It would be Monsanto, wouldn't it?

 

 

REPLY: I was astounded to learn any court would find in favor of such a preposterous lawsuit. And the implications of setting such a precedent are mind boggling. I do hope that such an uproar eventually occurs over this that it gets overturned , and that a successful counter suit will cost Monsanto dearly. One can hope. ...Dr.Syntax

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