January 17, 2014 Opinion/Editorial: GMOs are Immoral and Ill-Advised
The whole system that allows private corporations to genetically modify seeds, to own them as “intellectual property” and have eliminated the requirement that their products be studied by regulatory agencies is SHOCKING, DANGEROUS and IMMORAL. I believe this overreach of GMO companies is not based on true science since patents were approved by insiders’ agreement based on the idea of “substantial equivalents”, not on testing or independent review. These actions can be interpreted as “playing God” and deeper study and investigation is essential. In addition to voting Yes on Measure 15-119 in May, I believe citizens might seek a “cease and desist” order, an injunction or a “moratorium” on GMO seeds – no more growing, no new patents, no more products until consumers and those monitoring the legality, morality, health, and environmental repercussions of GMOs, sprays, chemicals and questionable toxic soup involved in their “recipe” are proven safe, prudent and sound.. The precautionary principle applies – DO NO HARM!
In addition, the distinctions between medical engineering of individual human genes and what is being done to our seeds and food need to be made clear. Highly regulated medical genetics are not the same thing as the numerous safety threats presented by worldwide and substantially unregulated methods involving trans-species genetic modifications – ie. cutting and splicing microbial, plant virus, and antibiotic resistant genes genes into seeds that grow foods, as well as creating pest-resistant genetics systems that people, pets and livestock are ingesting/eating. It is unfair and untrue when GMO profiteers compare GMO seeds and food to medical genetics, and use that erroneous idea to perpetuate the myths that “GMOs are safe and “no big deal”. In medical applications of genetic engineering, genes are contained within a single human to solve one, often life threatening, genetic problem. The gene is typically a “normal” human gene, not genes from a foreign microbial species as is done with our food.
What Syngenta, Monsanto and the Chem/Ag industry have done is create a MONOPOLY on seeds by modifying and “owning approximately 80%* of the world’s seeds. They have created a danger to the economy as well as risking the future of open pollinated, natural seeds. Their actions have placed a very real potential of limited or widespread famine on the horizon because there is a GMO universal monoculture with very limited genetic diversity. If a serious plant disease comes, then all the crops will likely be susceptible. Based on one fact alone -that huge numbers of farmers can no long save and replant their own seeds – it seems frighteningly likely that the GMO/Chemical agricultural system could collapse in a very short period of time.
If you are questioning the moral, ethical or spiritual integrity of GMOs, please join a Chamber of Commons discussion group to brainstorm the best ways to address the issues and how to talk about and approach “what God/ Goddess/ Mother Nature/ Higher Consciousness intends”. This is a delicate subject so a careful handling is in order and can be managed most thoughtfully with all those who want to explore it. Members of the spiritual, ecumenical, theological, philosophical, and psychological communities, and all those concerned, are invited to send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and be included in an upcoming discussion salon on this topic.
Catie Faryl www.catiefaryl.net Chamber of Commons, P.O. Box 33, Ashland, Oregon , champions of the commons on Facebook
*seed patents – a 2012 report states nearly 75% of global seed patent ownership by just 10 corporations (lead by Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont), up from just 37% in 1995.
The vegetable seed market concentration is higher, with the top 4 companies controlling over 70% of global market in 2007 and the top 8 firms controlling 94%, again led by the 3 above.
Source: A profile of corporate power in seeds, agrochemicals and Biotech, Hope Shand, 2012.