This scares me

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I had no idea about this stuff before watching this...now I'm shocked and scared

http://www.hulu.com/watch/67878/the-future-of-food [Broken]
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Pengwuino
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Holy hell, 90 minutes? Summarize.
 
  • #3
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Here's the synopsis: http://www.thefutureoffood.com/synopsis.htm [Broken]
From the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada to the fields of Oaxaca, Mexico, this film gives a voice to farmers whose lives and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by this new technology. The health implications, government policies and push towards globalization are all part of the reason why many people are alarmed by the introduction of genetically altered crops into our food supply.
 
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  • #4
Pengwuino
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Oh so it's an anti-GM food film?
 
  • #5
I can't watch the video from Canada, but if it's the movie I think it is, it's well worth watching. I'm personally against GM foods. I'm of the opinion that just because we understand something well enough to "play around" with it, it doesn't mean we should.
Right now, I really don't think we can be trusted as a species to be meddling around with the building blocks of life outside the realm of research and some very very narrow applications (some medical applications, for example).

As the film shows (assuming this is the same one I saw) GM foods have already destroyed thousands of crops (ecosystems that had been stable throughout centuries of farming) and the lives of farmers in india and even here in north america.

And this is just the beginning. If we screwed up our planet as it is from the misuse and underestimation of a technology as simple as fuel energy, can we really be trusted with the commercialization of genetic engineering?
 
  • #6
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Oh so it's an anti-GM food film?
That's correct. I previously held the opinion that genetic engineering was probably a benefit -- why else would they be doing it?

I didn't realize things like:

* Genetically modified seeds are driven around in large trucks, seeds blow out and contaminate the crops of farmers who are trying NOT to grow GM crops. Then, because the GM seeds are patented, the farmers are sued into bankruptcy and lose ownership of their crops.

* There are a lot of weird GM crops being grown around in secret locations, which have dangerous mutations, but since the locations are secret farmers cannot locate far away to prevent cross-contanination

* Genetically modified foods have not been tested for safety, the government won't fund research to test the foods, and instead the "testing" is highly biased and funded by the same companies who produce the GM food. The only reason they do this is to prevent other people from testing it, so that they can claim it's already been tested, and is safe..when in fact it is not. At the same time, the CEO of companies are saying things like, "It's not our job to make sure it's safe, we just sell the ****."

* GM plants have no health benefits, and some have known toxic effects...yet they are not labeled

The list just goes on and on
 
  • #7
As far as I understand the only major downfall of GM produce is that the lack of genetic diversification leaves it weak in response to disease, which is supposedly something that is being worked on.

I'll have to watch the video when I have time but most of what you have described sounds like conspiracy theory type stuff.
 
  • #8
turbo
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As far as I understand the only major downfall of GM produce is that the lack of genetic diversification leaves it weak in response to disease, which is supposedly something that is being worked on.

I'll have to watch the video when I have time but most of what you have described sounds like conspiracy theory type stuff.
Many GM food crops have been bioengineered to produce the same toxin produced by bacillus thuringiensis. It paralyzes the gut of insects that consume parts of the plant, including insects that may be beneficial, like pollinators. There is a lot of "we don't know" centered around honeybee colony collapse disorder. If the BT toxin is expressed in parts of the plants that the bees need for food (pollen), who's to say that GM plants don't have a part in killing off the bees?
 
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  • #9
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That's correct. I previously held the opinion that genetic engineering was probably a benefit -- why else would they be doing it?

I didn't realize things like:

* Genetically modified seeds are driven around in large trucks, seeds blow out and contaminate the crops of farmers who are trying NOT to grow GM crops. Then, because the GM seeds are patented, the farmers are sued into bankruptcy and lose ownership of their crops.

* There are a lot of weird GM crops being grown around in secret locations, which have dangerous mutations, but since the locations are secret farmers cannot locate far away to prevent cross-contanination

* Genetically modified foods have not been tested for safety, the government won't fund research to test the foods, and instead the "testing" is highly biased and funded by the same companies who produce the GM food. The only reason they do this is to prevent other people from testing it, so that they can claim it's already been tested, and is safe..when in fact it is not. At the same time, the CEO of companies are saying things like, "It's not our job to make sure it's safe, we just sell the ****."

* GM plants have no health benefits, and some have known toxic effects...yet they are not labeled

The list just goes on and on
Hmmm...many of those comments smell of unsubstantiated anti-GM propoganda. Are these all issues that are brought up in the film? The claims you have listed just don't seem like comments that can be backed up by facts...I guess I'll have to try and check out the film when I have more time.
 
  • #10
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As far as I understand the only major downfall of GM produce is that the lack of genetic diversification leaves it weak in response to disease, which is supposedly something that is being worked on.

I'll have to watch the video when I have time but most of what you have described sounds like conspiracy theory type stuff.
If it's all a conspiracy theory, then they sure did a good job of paying off scientists, forging legal documents, and hiring expert actors to impersonate the farmer's who were sued...
 
  • #11
CRGreathouse
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If it's all a conspiracy theory, then they sure did a good job of paying off scientists, forging legal documents, and hiring expert actors to impersonate the farmer's who were sued...
Funny, I was going to say just the reverse. To convince us of this unsubstantiated nonsense they needed to pay off scientists, forge legal documents, and hire expert actors.
 
  • #12
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Hmmm...many of those comments smell of unsubstantiated anti-GM propoganda. Are these all issues that are brought up in the film? The claims you have listed just don't seem like comments that can be backed up by facts...I guess I'll have to try and check out the film when I have more time.
Yeah these are all issues that are raised by the film. They certainly provide enough evidence for fact checking, if they are lying. This is not something that I have any previous external knowledge in.
 
  • #13
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The documentary raises a few good points, but it's got a definite agenda to push and is very biased. Treat with caution.

As for the Canadian farmer, here's the full decision:
http://scc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/2004/2004scc34/2004scc34.html" [Broken]

And here's his own website with an update on his dealings with Monsanto:
http://www.percyschmeiser.com/" [Broken]
 
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  • #14
Funny, I was going to say just the reverse. To convince us of this unsubstantiated nonsense they needed to pay off scientists, forge legal documents, and hire expert actors.
I guess they were also sneaky enough to pay off Canadian canola farmers to pretend that they are in crisis on the news because their plantations are being taken over by herbicide resistant GM crops.

From Wiki:
Genetically modified canola which is resistant to herbicide was first introduced to Canada in 1995. Today 80% of the acres sown are genetically modified canola.[27]
Contamination of conventional canola crops from neighbouring genetically engineered fields has been a serious problem for Canadian canola farmers. It is very difficult for farmers to grow non-GM crops because of the frequent contamination.
The most high-profile case of contamination is Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser, where Monsanto sued Percy Schmeiser for patent infringement because his field was contaminated with Monsanto's patented Roundup Ready glyphosate-tolerant canola. The supreme court ruled that Percy was in violation of Monsanto's patent because the crops were growing on his land, but he was not required to pay Monsanto damages since he did not benefit financially from its presence.[28] On March 19, 2008, Schmeiser and Monsanto Canada Inc. came to an out-of-court settlement whereby Monsanto will pay for the clean-up costs of the contamination which came to a total of $660 Canadian. Also part of the agreement was that there was no gag-order on the settlement and that Monsanto could be sued again if any further contamination occurred.[29]
Were they also sneaky enough to pay off Indian farmers to commit suicide because they can't afford to keep purchasing GM seeds that are modified not to reproduce, and now have no way out?

I'm not a big conspiracy nut, but to ignore the fact that big corporations do sinister things is to be naive. So is to believe that we are responsible enough to be meddling with nature like this, or that we understand it well enough on a larger scale. Like I said before-- we can barely be trusted with fossil fuels without going overboard; how can we pretend to be ready to use this technology outside the lab or the medical realm?

Watching TED talks with biologists already talking about screwing around with the genetic makeup of humans, doing "upgrades," really really scares the crap out of me. You'd think this whole mess we're in with global warming would've taught us a lesson about taking it slow in thinking about all the possible repercussions of a nascent technology, or that sometimes just because we can do something, doesn't mean we should.
 
  • #15
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Were they also sneaky enough to pay off Indian farmers to commit suicide because they can't afford to keep purchasing GM seeds that are modified not to reproduce, and now have no way out?
If this is true and they are modified not to reproduce, then I find it hard to believe that this "contamination" of natural crops due to seeds spilling out of trucks would really be an issue.

I believe many great things can be done with GM of crops, but that said, I also believe that any crops that are GM should definately be labelled as such for the consumers benefit so that the choice is ultimately made by the consumers.
 
  • #16
If this is true and they are modified not to reproduce, then I find it hard to believe that this "contamination" of natural crops due to seeds spilling out of trucks would really be an issue.
The farmers buy the seeds, but the plants don't produce fertile seeds, so they must keep purchasing seeds and specialized chemicals.
 
  • #17
Moonbear
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The farmers buy the seeds, but the plants don't produce fertile seeds, so they must keep purchasing seeds and specialized chemicals.
Which is why it makes no sense to claim they are contaminating other crops. Who drives around with seeds in an open truck in the first place? But, at most, they get some stray plants growing roadside for a season, along with the weeds and other contaminants from the road. The plants can't propagate.
 
  • #18
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The farmers buy the seeds, but the plants don't produce fertile seeds, so they must keep purchasing seeds and specialized chemicals.
They are also genetically modifying seeds that can only grow with Monsanto fertilizer products, so that you have to buy those products
 
  • #19
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Which is why it makes no sense to claim they are contaminating other crops. Who drives around with seeds in an open truck in the first place? But, at most, they get some stray plants growing roadside for a season, along with the weeds and other contaminants from the road. The plants can't propagate.
I guess you didn't watch the video...the farmer that got sued explained that another truck driver had openly admitted to spilling half a truck load of Monsanto's seeds into his farm. He was driving around with a tarp on over the back which came off in the wind and they blew out. They also explained that almost every single non-GM farm in the state had been contaminated the same way. It's already a common farming practice to have your plantation nearby to a wild corn field because the cross pollination makes them more resistant. By the same token growing next to a GM corn field screws with your crops. But since they won't release the secret locations of the corn that's being used to produce unnatural inedible things (like drugs that are not meant for consumption), thats a serious health hazard.
 
  • #20
Averagesupernova
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The farmers buy the seeds, but the plants don't produce fertile seeds, so they must keep purchasing seeds and specialized chemicals.
Details please.
 
  • #21
Averagesupernova
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They are also genetically modifying seeds that can only grow with Monsanto fertilizer products, so that you have to buy those products
Details here also please.
 
  • #22
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I guess you didn't watch the video...the farmer that got sued explained that another truck driver had openly admitted to spilling half a truck load of Monsanto's seeds into his farm. He was driving around with a tarp on over the back which came off in the wind and they blew out. They also explained that almost every single non-GM farm in the state had been contaminated the same way. It's already a common farming practice to have your plantation nearby to a wild corn field because the cross pollination makes them more resistant. By the same token growing next to a GM corn field screws with your crops. But since they won't release the secret locations of the corn that's being used to produce unnatural inedible things (like drugs that are not meant for consumption), thats a serious health hazard.
That doesn't make any sense, junglebeast, given that you also wrote this:

They are also genetically modifying seeds that can only grow with Monsanto fertilizer products, so that you have to buy those products
So then how would the blown around GM seeds survive in non-GM fields without the specialised fertiliser product? It's not adding up.
 
  • #23
Averagesupernova
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* Genetically modified seeds are driven around in large trucks, seeds blow out and contaminate the crops of farmers who are trying NOT to grow GM crops. Then, because the GM seeds are patented, the farmers are sued into bankruptcy and lose ownership of their crops.
This is nonsense. At the price of GM seed no one drives around allowing this sort of thing to happen. Any plant that is not wanted in a field is considered a weed. This story sounds to me like a farmer who planted Roundup ready soybeans that were harvested the year before without paying Monsanto a technology fee and got busted for it. With the price of seed corn at $100/acre no one spills the stuff without throroughly cleaning up. With the price of patented soybean seed over $35/bushel and the price of the harvested crop slightly less than $10/bushel don't you think there is temptation to break the patent law considering it takes a bushel per acre? For those who don't know, an acre is about $200 feet square.
 
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  • #24
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If a bunch of GM seeds land in your field, and they manage to survive (without some special fertilizer). The only effect they are going to have is boosting crop levels in the first year, and then due to their inability to reproduce they will just die out and have no effect on the next year. No long term contamination there. Or am I missing something?
 
  • #25
Averagesupernova
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It's already a common farming practice to have your plantation nearby to a wild corn field because the cross pollination makes them more resistant.
Also makes no sense. Resistant to what? Where the heck is 'wild' corn grown anyway? Harvested corn is NOT seed corn. It hasn't been for 50 years. Pollenation takes place over a relatively short period of time. If the 2 fields don't pollenate at the same time there will be no cross. The only thing I can think of GM seed and non-GM seed grown adjacently is the requirement by the company to allow what is known as a refuge area. A certain percent of a field in a given area needs to be non-GM. This is supposedly to prevent the targeted pest from developing a tollerance. To me it sounds like a way to guarantee insects the next year so the product needs to be continually purchased.
 

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