Recent comments by: Fran Murrell
Grain of Truth
Hi Ian and Blahblah
Once again I will ask are you the Ian Mott from the IPA - the right wing think tank that has received funding from Monsanto? Also Blahblah who are you?
I'm from MADGE a self funded group of volunteers who are mainly mothers. I attended a conference on Co-existence between GM and non-GM crops in Melbourne in 2009. It was clear that GM crops contaminate and pollute and this pollution increases over time. That is why it is important to allow the initial contamination level so it can be increased. The conference called this "harmonisation." The spokesperson from Europe feed manufacturers called GM "a poison pill."
The reason that must be excluded GM from organic food is people are buying organic food to avoid GM. GM food has been introduced into our food chain without public knowledge or acceptance, without adequate labelling and without tests that show it is safe to eat.
A matter of opinion
The science is clear - not one GM crop has been shown to be safe to eat. There is scientific disagreement over the safety of GM crops. There is increasing evidence of harm from GM crops in 3 ways: 1) the protein the GM plant produces may be toxic 2) The process of GM breeding disrupts the genome causing harm 3) the pesticides sprayed on/as seed coatings/produced by the GM plant itself are harmful. See GM Myths and Truths for full scientific references. FSANZ accepts corporate data and has approved every GM application it has received. It requires no animal feeding studies nor independent tests
Ian Edwards is CEO of Edstar Genetics. Which "provides consulting services in the Ag-Bio industry with major emphasis on cereal food crops, biotech crops and quality enhancement." His claim to have no conflict of interest in GM is wrong. Conventional breeding can produce salt, drought and blight tolerance. GM claims to have done this but there are no commercial GM crops with these traits. The GM eggplant is a failure, promoted by government and industry but has ruined several Bangladeshi farmers. GM golden rice is still in development. Most GM crops are still soy, corn, cotton,canola+sugarbeet
GM is a bully technology that is not wanted by the vast majority of the world's people. The supporters of it are crowing that we can't refuse to eat as it spreads everywhere. The 'science' that supports GM is done by the industry itself and is as independent and rigorous as science pushed by the tobacco industry. At least people knew they smoked but GM is hidden, unlabelled in our food. There has never been any studies anywhere to see how GM has affected public health. Is the huge increase in food allergies and autoimmune diseases linked to the introduction of GM food in 1996? No one knows.
Hi Ian et al
Why do you want the extra expense of removing weeds caused by GM and also the possibility of them contaminating your crops? This is the reality of GM for farming.
Why would you want to place Monsanto in a position of one sided power over you? This assessment of the Monsanto contract makes clear this is a one sided
http://www.act ivistpost.com/2011/02/monsanto-sh ifts-all-liability-to.html
Pe ople worldwide are repeatedly showing they do not want to eat GM food.
Animals fed GM feed are different as was shown in this report when Inghams NZ were shown to be wrongly calling their chickens GM free when they were feeding them GM feed.
I have not seen you put forward any convincing evidence that GM crops or food are worth growing. There is no body of evidence showing GM is safe to eat (Domingo 2010).
Why are you growing them? What convinced you it was worth it?
Hi Ian and Janet,
GM is causing a huge and expensive weed problem in the US. See below for the link but what is happening is:
- the use of Roundup with GM crops means it has been overused and weeds have become resistant.
- 11.4 million acres are now affected
- the cost to farmers to control these weeds is estimated to be $1 billion ($10-20 per acre)
- GM crops are being engineered to be resistant to older herbicides like dicamba and 2,4,D
- using reliance on herbicides to control weeds means more use of chemicals on a treadmill that has negative effects for farmers, land, water and consumers
- the weed scientist in the article suggests a tax on herbicide and GM seeds to fund and implement research into alternatives
http://www.gmwat ch.org/latest-listing/1-news-item s/13126-growing-roundup-resistant -weed-problem-must-be-dealt-with- expert
If you want to see what this GM induced weed epidemic looks like google "Superweeds that can't be killed". It is a US news report with film of exasperated farmers and weed scientists and of combine harvesters unable to be used and of hand weeding tools breaking as the weeds are so enormous. Weeds caused by GM are a huge problem.
Hi Ian Mott,
You don't seem to understand what is happening in places growing GM.
GM canola is becoming a weed problem itself. It happens in two ways. One it becomes a "volunteer" growing where it is not wanted.
This can happen by blowing in or being spread along roadsides and transport routes. It can also become a problem by outcrossing with related weed species ie wild radish.
This report from the US shows that GM canola weeds are being spread all over the land and some are far from fields - showing how far they can travel.
It also notes that the GM canola weeds of different companies are outcrossing to create plants never imagined.
http://news.discove ry.com/earth/gm-plant-canola-wild .html
So in fact there is documented evidence of GM crops causing a huge and expensive weed problem.
Hi Ian Mott
Watch this TV broadcast on how superweeds caused by GM crops are choking "more than a million acres of cotton and soybean" in the US. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B- cka5s4AqE
What happens is GM crops are designed to survive being sprayed with herbicide. The weeds at first die off and then become resistant to the herbicide. Then the herbicide becomes useless. Gene flow creates a nightmare problem.
Now GM crops are being designed to be resistant to 2,4,D. GM crops are a herbicide treadmill that benefits the companies that make them. Strangely enough they are also the companies that now own GM seed. GM companies are interested in making profits.
The Baxters have got themselves into a big mess by believing the GM PR. It is a shame that rural reporters have often been promoting GM rather than critically examining what is going on in the US, Canada and South America. Australian farmers deserve real information not hype.
Let's have a close look at this article. The Baxter's are said to be heartbroken over legal threats by their organic neighbour. The Baxters could have grown non-GM canola and still have a crop. Steve Marsh has lost his livelihood (organic) due to a neighbour who had choices. His choice to grow has been removed by the Baxters actions.
Baxter chose GM canola because of his weed problems. GM weeds are now out of control in the US and more toxic herbicides are having to be used - so either he doesn't know this or his agronomist doesn't.
The suggestion is that opposition comes from Greenpeace. In fact most Australians reject GM food as do most people worldwide.
Steve Marsh asking the Baxters not to plant GM canola this year as he doesn't want to be contaminated is painted as being bullying. In fact the Baxters could have planted non-GM while the issue of contamination is being sorted out. It would have been considerate and would have brought him an extra $50 per tonne.
The bullies are the GM growers who are contaminating everyone. There is no need for GM canola and no one wants to buy it.
I have just listened to the podcast of Bush Telegraph where Terry Redman states two reasons for allowing GM canola to be grown. The first is that WA achieved co-existence between GM and non-GM canola. At the GM co-existence conference in Melbourne last year segregation was called a "poison pill". The European Commission Joint Research Centre has put out a report saying that GM crops could disrupt international trade. The report lists instances where this has already happened. Redman also said farmers had the choice of GM for weed control. In the US superweeds have developed through the use of GM crops. They are breaking farm machinery and resulting in some crops being picked by hand. GM crops are a total sham. The evidence is clear. What can be done if governments recklessly put farmers and consumers at risk?
Why would anyone want to grow GM? It either is sprayed with a poison or produces its own. It has created superpests and superweeds and no one wants to eat it. We are told it's safe by Nobel Laureate's, none of whom were experts in agriculture or GM. Groups like the National Academy of Science's do not do independent research and receive funding from GM companies and even they have reservations about GM if you read the report carefully. The success of GM is only in the PR sphere. Meanwhile chemical-free agriculture receives no funding.
This article appears to be in response to the recent scandal showing Monsanto contacted PR firms who then got scientists to willingly follow their script in promotion of GM crops. This is not the same at all. Benbrook is a reputable scientist who used USDA pesticide data in his research showing that herbicide use increased on GM crops. Kallis contacted him over research to support an organic farmer contaminated by GM in a court case. GM has caused super pests, super weeds and contamination in the US. It's not surprising that research showing the reality of harm caused by GM crops was requested.
It is ridiculous that GM has been allowed to contaminate an organic farm with absolutely no consequences. There is strong market rejection of GM crops and increasing evidence of their harm. The judgement, as it now stands, removes the right of all non-GM farmers, whether conventional, organic or bio-dynamic, to safely provide for their customers. It is urgent that the appeal is held. GM companies must be held accountable for their technology.
GM canola is sprayed with Roundup, a 2A probable carcinogen. No GM food has been proved safe to eat and studies show harm. No shoppers want to eat it. GM benefits in the short term but damages in the long term. 50%+ of US farmland is now infested with superweeds created by repeated spraying of Roundup. GM crops have not lived up to their hype but create pollution and harm. The sooner we spend the money wasted on this technology on research that actually helps farmers and doesn't poison consumers the better.
GM canola was made legal in WA by intense pressure being put by the Government on a handful of pollies who had concerns. Public and farmer opposition to the growing of GM was ignored. Contrary to what is claimed in this article GM has not 'been proved safe' by national and international regulators it has been allowed to be sold despite serious concerns. The FDAs own scientists expressed doubt about the safety of GM food. The promoters of GM crops are seriously misleading the public. This article details what is going on. http://www.madge.org.au/Docs/Fran -Murrell.pdf
Organic farming can feed the world. In fact many experts think it is the only way to avoid a hungry world.
The world's food system is broken. The people who make money from it are the bankers and the input suppliers and the wholesale/retail giants. https://www.google.com.au/search? q=phil+howard+%2B+seed+industry+s tructure&client=safari&rls=en&tbm =isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=D tVxUqrNNYb6kAXT-YBY&ved=0CFYQsAQ& biw=1280&bih=738#q=phil+howard+%2 B+food+industry+%2B+treadmill&rls =en&tbm=isch&facrc=_&imgrc=W-NsV1 DP1kuwMM%3A%3BYR7r4yx_v-8YbM%3Bht tps%253A
Hi Elizabeth, I think that is should be made clear that the group that says GM is invaluable is CropLife Australia. "The peak industry organisation representing the agricultural chemical and biotechnology (plant science) sector in Australia." The data they cite for their claim is a report funded by Monsanto. It is published in a journal of the biotech industry. The claims made are contrary to what we see in Australia. Farmers earn more growing non-GM canola. GM canola is so unpopular that it is being sold at a 50% discount. People are tired of misleading information from the GM industry.
The report by PG Economics was funded by Monsanto. It was published in a journal created by the biotech industry. Chuck Benbrook, who has criticised PG Economics reports, has a long and distinguished career. He worked for 18 years in Washington, D.C., at Executive Office of the President (1979-1980), then as the Executive Director for a U.S. House of Representatives agricultural subcommittee (1981-1983). He was the ED of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Agriculture from 1984-1990, and has run a small consulting firm since 1991. He now works at Washington State University.
The PG Economics paper was published in "GM crops and Food" Landes Bioscience. On their homepage it says "GM Crops" is the official journal for the International Society for GM crops. PG Economics have been criticised for their questionable methodology. Google "GM crops: follow the money" 10th Feb 2012. Also google "Dr Chuck Benbrook on PG Economics' methodological creativity"
I'm not smearing P G Economics but revealing their funding. Powerbase says about them: "It must raise questions about the extent to which PG Economics can be styled 'independent and objective consultants' when it comes to issues like the co-existence of GM crops with organic agriculture given that:
the clients for its co-existence reports are almost invariably the biotechnology industry or its close associates
much of Peter Barfoot's career has been spent in businesses dependent on the success of the biotechnology industry,...."
People have micronutrient deficiencies because they are poor and lack access to fruit and veg. The people with the worst diet are women and children, because they are the poorest. 55% of the reduction in hunger from 1970-95 was due to the improvement in the status of women. GM seeds take control from farmers (who are often women) while pretending to benefit them. To end hunger we need to grow a variety of food, have food sovereignty, not GM bulk commodities that make Cargill, Monsanto and ADM rich. We also need to ensure growers and eaters get a fair deal. All GM promises are hungerwashing.
GM crops have created super pests, super weeds, increased use of pesticides, lower prices for GM crops and profits to chemical companies. There is a spike in birth defects in Hawaii where GM crops are tested. South America has increasing cancers, illnesses and birth defects due to the chemicals used on GM soy. Yet money gets spent on GM while agroecology, that can double crop yields and put carbon in the soil, is ignored. Perhaps because it involves farmer skill and cannot be patented.
GM crops are a dud. They benefit the GM companies that own them and sell the chemicals that go with them. 99% are either designed to be sprayed with a weedkiller, usually Roundup, produce a toxin to kill insects or both. This has resulted in weeds and insects that no longer die when exposed to these poisons. However the food we eat are coated in the poisons and this is why people, especially in the US, are now rejecting them. Gene Editing is GM2 and will fail like GM1. It would be better to use agroecology and consult with farmers to create the technology they want, not GM to profit companies.
GM golden rice is still in the development stage. Have a look at the International Rice Research Institute page. They are the group developing this GM rice and it yields poorly. We also don't know the Vit A content after storage and cooking. Patrick Moore is as reliable on GM in general as he is in pushing the phantom GM golden rice. If you want people to live healthy lives tackle poverty. An economic system where the richest 85 people own more than the poorest 3 billion is obscene. GM control of food and farming intensifies this poverty. All studies show we need agro-ecology to feed us all.
Mark Lynas is not a scientist and did not start the anti-GM movement in the UK. With such poor research it's not surprising the rest of the article is similarly wrong. GM plants are designed to either create a toxin to kill insects or be sprayed with weedkiller. Unsurprisingly superpests and superweeds unable to be killed have developed in response. Great for the GM companies that sell the pesticides as well as the GM seed, not so good for the rest of us, including farmers. All science shows we need agroecology to feed us in a changing climate. It uses knowledge and not patents and poisons.
If Monsanto was really concerned about feeding people and reversing climate change it would stop using pesticides and fertilizers that are fossil fuel based and promote seed breeding that was useful to farmers. Instead it produces patented GM seeds, pesticides and seed treatments that are systemic and kill bees. Interestingly the single most important development in reducing hunger is increasing the status of women. Can't see Monsanto getting behind any of this. Instead it concentrates on seed monopolies and poisons. The US grows the most GM but 1 in 5 of its people are food insecure.