Fight hunger, not biotechnology.
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Around the world, 170 million preschool children suffer from malnutrition. Thanks to modern biotechnology, we are developing ways to improve their quality of life — and end their hunger. For example, genetically modified and enhanced iron and vitamin A content in rice can reduce childhood anemia and blindness. Those children are suffering from malnutrition because they are poor. Biotechnology will not put money in their pockets to purchase food, whether it's organic, conventional, or biotech. As far as improving their way of life goes, would it be fair to say that their lives had been improved if they could buy all the useless plastic objects, SUVs that cause global warming, and use more power produced at nuclear and fossil fuel power plants? And how about the loss of their cultural heritage? Is it worth it? The people who will benefit the most from biotech, if it were to prosper, would be the corporate elite and shareholders, not the poor whose food sources would no longer be controlled by themselves. The question should not be whether or not biotech will feed the starving masses of the world. It should be WHY ARE THEY HUNGRY?
The rice being referred to is the so-called 'Golden Rice' that was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. A major problem with 'Golden Rice' is that if one eats enough of it to stave off blindness, one would explode. An adult would have to eat at least 3.7 kilos (8.2 pounds) of dry weight rice, i.e. around 9 kilos (19.8 pounds)of cooked rice, to satisfy his/her daily need of vitamin A from 'Golden Rice'. In other words, a normal daily intake of 300 gram of rice would, at best, provide 8% percent of the vitamin A needed daily. A breast-feeding woman would have to eat at least 6.3 kilos (13.9 pounds) in dry weight, converting to nearly 18 kilos (almost 40 pounds) of cooked rice per day.
Besides fighting famine and caring for the world’s growing population, genetic crop enhancement can also help environmental groups achieve such goals as the reduction of pesticide use, groundwater pollution, and topsoil erosion. But they don't reduce pesticides, are not producing more crops, and are contributing to water pollution and topsoil erosion. GMOs have polluted the St. Laurence River in Montréal, Québec. Bt corn toxin was found in high concentrations in the sediment.
And bioengineering enables more crops to be grown on less land, even in the harshest climates — from Africa to China. US Farmers lost $92 million on Bt corn between 1996 and 2001. The effectiveness of the herbicide Roundup, the mainstay of biotech crops, is falling rapidly. It has even been reported that weeds surrounding a field of canola was sprayed with many more times the normal amount of Roundup and it survived. Yield drag is a well-known problem of genetically engineered crops, whereby farmers are getting lower yields than if they had planted comparable but non-engineered varieties.
For years, we’ve all been safely consuming genetically enhanced food ingredients, from the syrup in Coca Cola to ingredients in McDonald’s hamburger buns and french (sic) fries, Quaker Oats cereals, and Betty Crocker cake mixes. Who said it's safe to consume that toxic waste? Coca-Cola is used
So why is it that so many professional activist groups and special interest radicals have no appetite for genetically enhanced foods? How can they attack dramatic technological advances that could end world hunger? And what's so advanced about biotech? Why does the USDA claim it's safe to propagate wildly all over the planet before any long-term testing is done, and before any testing protocols have been established? The biotech industry regulates itself because they do not have to test most of the crops they invent. Because of the "substantial equivalence" doctrine, novel, untested genetically mutated organisms are declared to be essentially the same as their equivalent natural crops, no testing need be done. It doesn't matter if the crop has a pesticide genetically engineered into every cell. NO TESTING IS DONE.
They aren’t the ones going to bed hungry every night. Let's not stray from the subject and get carried away with the sentimentality. The point is that if the poor starving masses of the world don't have money, they will not be eating any food, and the multinational biotech corporations aren't going to be providing the food gratis either.
source: http://www.wlf.org/Communicating/advocacy/hunger.htm 24jan02
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