My Way of Thinking: Comments against GMO and Monsanto are twisted

Rich Keller, 02/11/2013


Two topics spur the most comments on our website time after time—GMOs and Monsanto.

I do nothing to encourage those against genetically modified organisms to visit or comment on our website, but they show up anyway. They complain about my interpretation of their anti-GMO comments, their anti-biotechnology events and their pseudo-science that stretches the truth.

There have to be dedicated anti-GMO people who do nothing but search out articles that promote biotechnology so that they can warn their whole circle of friends—something like a hive’s guard bees who sound the warning.

The anti-GMO crowd is one of the most vocal minority groups in the nation and world from what I’ve seen—as we even receive comments from overseas. Those who agree with my interpretations I know are in the majority but are less driven to comment. It is like everyone realizes debating with the anit-GMO crowd is like trying to smash through a brick wall with a Hot Wheels toy car.

An article I wrote for our website that explained what happened when anti-GMO, anti-biotechnolgy protesters showed up at the appeal of the Organice Seed Growers and Trade Association et all v. Monsanto lawsuit, which was dismissed in district court, spurred quite a few comments.

The plaintiffs filed suit against Monsanto originally because they wanted Monsanto to be prevented from ever taking legal action against organic seed producers if genetically modified plant traits crossed over into organic fields. The case was originally dismissed because the whole claim was based on speculation rather than any action ever taken by Monsanto.

I noted how a group, that might have totaled 300 persons, marched to Lafayette Park to protest the ‘Obama administration’s pending approval of 13 new biotech crops and AquaBounty’s ‘Frankenfish,’ a genetically engineered salmon,’ according to Food Democracy Now!.

I wrote, “The activist group is demanding the President not allow any more GM animals or plants, including GMO salmon, into the environment until more red tape, independent long-term safety tests are conducted. The activists are wanting a whole new procedure for approval of GM modified crops.”

Monsanto has detractors within different segments of agriculture. Some of the complaints began more than 15 years ago when genetically modified tech fees were added to the price of seed. It seemed that growers would have preferred Monsanto charge seed companies for use of its traits and pass higher prices for seed along, not require a separate fee.

Strict enforcement of no planting of traited soybean seed harvested by farmers also ended a procedure that had been followed for years by soybeans farmers, even though the certified seed industry had advertised against replanting harvested seed to achieve maximum yields. More than 15 years after the first enforcement, a current court case about replanting saved seed is still being judicated.

Monsanto is only one of many companies and universities involved in genetically modified organism research and product sales, but Monsanto still is the focus of worldwide protests. But support of the company has evolved to be stronger than in its earliest days, from the way I see it.

That brings me to a United Kingdom website reader’s unusual comment. “I agree; the science and crop varieties they (Monsanto) have provided for farmers and consumers are a wonderful gift to the world, and they have born the brickbats thrown at them, by the mainly ignorant opponents, with considerable patience. Keep at it Monsanto, one day the world will recognize your contribution to the world. In the UK we have great difficulty obtaining GMO foods but I buy them whenever I can and avoid 'organic' produce if at all possible.”




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