THE BIGGEST LIE: GM CROPS AS A SOLUTION TO HUNGER AND CLIMATE CHANGE
What Genetically Modified Seed Manufacturers want you to believe and brainwash us to accept through advertisements, op-ed newspaper pieces, and social networks.
All of the above ARE NOT TRUE, BUT LIES TO JUSTIFY THEIR ACTIONS AGAINST HUMANITY.
A grotesque abuse of the hunger scandal. Current global food production is enough to feed 1.5 times the world population. Most of this huge surplus ends up as food waste. The persistence of hunger in rich and poor countries results from lack of money, credit, distribution, access to land, war etc.
According to the UN / World Bank’s International Assessment of Agriculture, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report published in 2008, GM crops have little, if any, role to play in meet- ing the needs of a hungry world.
“We call upon agro-chemical multinationals Syngenta, Monsanto, Bayer, BASF, DuPont and oth- ers to no longer abuse the scandal of increasing hunger in a world of overproduction to defend the introduction of GMOs. We consider such misleading propaganda, which is belied by all practical experience, as unethical and intolerable.”
— Final Declaration, Fifth European Conference on GMO-free Regions, April 2009.
The first so-called “Green Revolution” (industrial farming with fertilizers, pesticides and hybrid seeds) destroyed many countries’ capacity to feed themselves in the name of “free trade”. Precious local resources including topsoil fertility and water are hijacked to produce cheap cash crops for export to rich countries, instead of feeding their own populations. Rich countries like Ireland use massive EU subsidies and unsustainable fossil fuel inputs to over-produce food which is dumped on developing countries, forcing peasants off the land and causing hunger there.
GM crops have higher yields
GM crops currently on the market are not designed to — and do NOT —increase yields. Numerous studies, including by the USDA, confirm that GM crops generally have lower yields, and that those that have higher yields do so because of their hybrid traits, not because they are GM.
GM drought- and salt-tolerant crops are needed to mitigate the effects of climate change
Complex traits like these are only at the theoretical stage and may never come to pass. So called “climate ready” crops can best be bred through traditional breeding and Marker Assisted Selection, which have already produced many drought tolerant varieties.
GM nutritionally enhanced crops (e.g. “Golden Rice”) are needed for malnutrition
“Golden Rice” was created 10 years ago as a public relations stunt for the biotech industry to convince people to accept GMOs with the claim that “This Rice could save a million kids a year from blindness due to vitamin A deficiency”. But one would have to eat very large amounts of this GM rice to get the extra vitamins, which occur naturally in many other food crops. The main cause of hunger and mal- nutrition in the Third World is the industrial monoculture of the Green Revolution, which obliterated agricultural biodiversity and soil fertility, resulting in ever-worsening mineral and micronutrient defi- ciencies in our food.
GM potatoes are needed for blight resistance
There are already 4 natural varieties of blight-resistant spuds, not produced in Ireland. There is no market for GM food in Europe. If Irish spuds are contaminated by GM varieties, nobody in Europe will buy them.
Opposition to GM caused the food price increases in 2008
It is widely acknowledged that rising costs of food and feed are due to a combination of factors includ- ing market speculation, market deregulation, bad harvests related to climate change, an increased demand for soy, and the diversion of food crops and agricultural land for the production of agrofuels.
2COMMON GM BIOTECHNOLOGY PROPAGANDA MYTHS • GM-FREE IRELAND NETWORK • MAY 2009
GM ANIMAL FEED AND FOOD ARE SAFE
Americans have been eating GM food for 15 years without any health problems
Total lie. Because GM food is not labeled in the USA and Canada in order to avoid liability, the lack of traceability makes epidemiological studies impossible.
GM food is as safe as its conventional counterpart
There is no scientific proof to justify this claim, and growing scientific evidence to suggest that GM food may cause allergies, new diseases, liver and kidney problems, loss of fertility etc.
GM feed and food are safe because the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) says so
FSAI would say that because its CEO Dr. John O’Brien is a former director of the International Life Sci- ences Institute, a GM industry-funded lobby group which lost its full NGO accreditation to the World Health Organisation and to UN Food and Agriculture Organisation after being outed as an industry- funded lobby group which attempted to influence global food policy by downplaying the link between high levels of sugar in junk food and childhood obesity and diabetes.
Moreover, FSAI has admitted it does not have the scientific capacity to perform health risk assess- ments on GM food, but relies instead of the opinion of the European Food Safety Authority,
GM food is safe because the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says so
EFSA’ risk assessment for GM food and crops relies on dubious claims by the applicant companies, based on data that are kept secret to prevent independent scientific peer review.
NO THREAT TO THE ENVIRONMENT
GM crops require less pesticides
60% of GM crops are resistant to weedkillers. Their use has lead to a dramatic increase in the sale of weedkillers, especially Monsanto’s Roundup which is extremely toxic.
30% of GM crops produce their own pesticides (Bt crops). These create more than 100 new varieties of toxins which remain in the food and topsoil, poisoning insects and soil microorganisms.
GM crops provide disease resistance, drought resistance, salt tolerance etc.
NO GM crops currently on the market have such yields. GM crops with such new traits are only theo- retical and years away from commercialisation, if at all.
GM CROPS CAN “CO-EXIST” WITH CONVENTIONAL & ORGANIC CROPS
So-called “Co-existence” is a myth. The GM Contamination Register has recorded 216 contamination incidents in 57 countries proving that GM crops rapidly contaminate natural crop varieties, agricul- tural seeds, and the food chain. This contamination includes both legal and illegal GM products. In the regions of Aragon and Catalonia in Spain (where 75% of the EU’s GM maize is grown), thousands of farmers can no longer grow natural maize and conventional farmers have been forced out of business.
More research – including open air field trials – is needed to find out if GM crops are safe and to produce improved varieties.
We already know that GM crops are dangerous and unwanted. Field trials risk further contamina- tion and are a colossal waste of money that could be used for proven safe, sustainable methods like organic farming.
COMMON GM BIOTECHNOLOGY PROPAGANDA MYTHS • GM-FREE IRELAND NETWORK • MAY 2009
Irish farmers need GM animal feed to be competitive.
Ireland can never win a “race to the bottom” against subsidized mass-produced low quality agriculture products including GM-fed meat, poultry and dairy produce from the USA and Brazil. We need to com- pete on quality agriculture, our famous green image, and Ireland – the food island.
Ireland is one of the EU’s biggest importers of GM animal feed (GM soya meal and maize gluten). 95% of our imported soya meal, maize gluten and distillers grains are GM.
But Irish cattle and sheep consume less GM feed per capita than many of their EU counterparts, thanks to our largely grass-based diet. Therefore, Irish farmers can phase out the use of GM feed with less hassle and expense than most of the competition.
High potential for transition to non-GM animal feed
Irish farmers and food processors who phase out the use of GM ingredients can secure an instant competitive advantage over their foreign competitors, for the following reasons:
• Very low GM content in feed rations for cattle, sheep and poultry
Cattle diet: 86 - 90% grass-based diet • 10-14% compound feed of which only 30-50% is GM maize and soy products GM feed = approx. 3 - 7% of total
Sheep diet: 40% eat only grass-based diet • 60% get compound feeds of which 15-17% soy & maize GM feed = approx. 9 - 10% of total
• Easier transition to GM-free feed than many other EU competitors • Untapped potential: Unique selling point & competitive advantage
GM-free crop zone + Non-GM feed + clean green food island image = most credible safe GM-free food brand in Europe.
GM-free animal feed is unavailable and/or unaffordable
This is a big lie promoted by Monsanto, Cargill and other agri-biotech and commodity trading giants, and widely disseminated in Ireland by the IFA, the Irish Farmers Journal (which receives advertising revenue from Monsanto et al.), and the Irish Grain and Feed Association (some of whose members have financial ties with Monsanto and don’t want the hassle of segregating GM and Non-GM feed- stuffs). Thus, Irish farmers who want to avoid GM feed must play the extra costs of certification and segregation.
Ireland’s biggest feed importer R&H Hall actually requested its Brazilian suppliers to stop shipping GM free soya meal to Ireland in 2004. In Northern Ireland, the importer W&R Barnett regularly shipped GM-free soya meal from Brazil until 2005. This year (2009), at least 45% of Brazilian soy crop is GM- free.
In reality, 99% of European maize is GM free, and affordable certified Non-GM soya meal is widely available from Brazil, India and China. The key to negotiating cheap prices is to establish segregated port facilities, and to bulk-order supplies a season ahead of time with frame contracts to guarantee a set price. All the Irish Farming Associations have been briefed on this.
50 EU Regions + Switzerland have already adopted Quality Agriculture strategies which avoid the use of GM animal feed. In France’s biggest pork-producing region, Brittany, 40% of pigs are fed on GM- free rations. If they can get it, so can we!
COMMON GM BIOTECHNOLOGY PROPAGANDA MYTHS • GM-FREE IRELAND NETWORK • MAY 2009
GM food sold in Ireland and the EU is clearly labeled as such
A giant loophole in EU law allows meat, poultry and dairy produce from livestock fed on GM ingredi- ents to be sold without a GM label.
Irish restaurants continue to use cheap GM cooking oil without informing customers, as in the UK.,
GM CROP PATENTS
GM crop patents are needed for Monsanto et all to recoup their investments in GM technology.
GM crop patents enable Monsanto et al to control the worlds agricultural crops, to extort money from contaminated farmers, and to seize ownership of their seeds and crops. Under the WTO’s Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS), contaminated farmers can be sued for pat- ent infringement and lose ownership of their seeds and crops, as happened to Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser.
As of May 2009 —almost two years after declaring its GMO-free zone policy in June 2007— the Gov- ernment has not even begun to draft any legislation to implement the policy:
• No GM-free policy agreement with Northern Ireland Assembly. • Failure to ratify Aarhus Convention (only EU member state) which guarantees citizens’ right to