[NAFEX] OT For the Luddites; was seed market control
Dr. Lucky Pittman
lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu
Wed Oct 13 14:36:15 EDT 2010
Well, at least 'The Ecologist' is up-front about 'setting the environmental
agenda' - you can know from the outset that they will have a bias - and
demonstrate it - whether it's well-grounded or appropriate.
Yes, smaller seed companies have been purchased by these companies, but just
because they are now a subsidiary of a so-called 'biotech giant'(I guess
that's a code word for EVIL in the 'environmental/ecological' campaign for
power?) doesn't necessarily translate into being nefarious, or an impediment
to availability of 'conventional' seeds.
DuPont and its subsidiaries sell more seed in the US and worldwide than
Monsanto(they're #2), but I can assure you that you can still get non-GMO
crop seed from Pioneer and other subsidiaries of DuPont, Monsanto, etc.
Despite the hysteria exhibited by many, and the constant drumbeat against
Monsanto - which they frequently refer to as MonSatan, GMO crops are not the
great bugaboo that many of the tinfoil-hat crowd would have us believe.
Risk assessment and cost/benefit analysis really do have a place.
Case in point - BT corn - less damage to stalk, shuck, ears, fewer portals
for entry of mycotoxin-producing molds.
Exposure to mycotoxins in grains - especially aflatoxin and fumonisins - is
a major threat to both human and animal health around the world - probably
worse in the underdeveloped world, where there are no governmental-imposed
limits on how much aflatoxin/fumonisin can be present; both of the above
classes of mycotoxins, in addition to acute damage to 'target organs' have
been implicated as carcinogens.
Recent studies have shown significant benefit to 'conventional' corn grown
in proximity to fields of BT corn, due to the inhibitory effect on total
corn borer populations. Additionally, other potential corn borer host
crops, such as potatoes and green beans have been shown to benefit from
overall reduction in corn borer populations. Couple that with the markedly
diminished need to do widespread pesticide spraying, and it looks like a
win-win proposition to me.
Would you rather plant a crop that has a gene coding for a bacterial toxin
targeted to impact one specific pest, or have the farmer spraying thousands
of acres with a pesticide that kills 'beneficial' insects as well as the
targeted 'problem' organism?
I'm not planting food crops for mass consumption, but I'm not afraid of GMO
crops. If I could get apple trees that incorporate some bacterial/fungal
gene that targets curculio, codling moth, or apple maggot, you'd better
believe I'd plant them - and would have no qualms about eating the fruit or
offering it to my kids, friends, or co-workers.
Louis L. "Lucky" Pittman, Jr., DVM
Veterinary Pathologist/Section Head
Murray State University
Breathitt Veterinary Center
PO Box 2000, 715 North Drive
Hopkinsville, KY 42240
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