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Activists Destroy Scientific GMO Experiment 1229

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-in-my-garden dept.
Freggy writes "In Belgium, a group of activists calling themselves the Field Liberation Movement has destroyed a field which was being used for a scientific experiment with genetically modified potatoes. In spite of the presence of 60 police officers protecting the field, activists succeeded pulling out the plants and sprayed insecticides over them, ruining the experiment. The goal of the experiment was to test potato plants which are genetically modified to be resistant to potato blight. It's a sad day for the freedom of scientific research."
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Activists Destroy Scientific GMO Experiment

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  • Sounds like (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:33AM (#36286928)
    That sounds like terrorism to me. "Stop making GM plants, or we'll fuck your shit up."
  • by ivucica (1001089) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:35AM (#36286956) Homepage

    Don't treat it as a religion, especially when dealing with stuff that can contaminate things unrelated to your "scientific experiment". Or with "safely modified, strengthened, disease resistant food".

    I don't want your GMO "food" to mix with my food. I don't want my food to even have a chance to be contaminated with your food, even if you think it isn't dangerous.

    You're free to do things as long as you don't infringe on my freedom. And at this time in my life, I want freedom to eat non-GMO food.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frozentier (1542099) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:37AM (#36286978)
    Sounds more like a bunch of assholes than a group of terrorists.
  • RTFA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RealGene (1025017) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:37AM (#36286982)
    They sprayed herbicide, not insecticide.
    Open-field testing of GM plants is an inconceivably bad idea. Fifty cops can't stop cross-pollination with unmodified crops.
  • Re:Sounds like (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:38AM (#36286990) Journal

    Sounds to me like some assholes who need to spend a few years in jail with hard criminals.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:38AM (#36286998)
    Yes, exactly. Also, the /. headline says:

    It's a sad day for the freedom of scientific research.

    Well, considering what has already happened with the round-up ready stuff and all this Monsanto crap, it might be a sad day for scientific research, but it's a good day for the freedom of eating natural veggies. Thanks, but no thanks, we don't want your GMO anymore, we saw what it does. If you want to do research, feel free to do it IN THE LABS, but absolutely NOT IN THE WILD.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:3, Insightful)

    by couchslug (175151) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:39AM (#36287010)

    Agribusiness is far too wealthy to fight in the courts. The whole idea of "peaceful change" is obsolete because the rich rule the earth, and the asymmetric response remaining is protest and force.

    There is no such thing as "terrorism", just "high tech fighting" and "low tech fighting". Kings have always sought to declare the peasants low and unchivalrous.

  • by ryants (310088) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:40AM (#36287030)
    What, exactly, do you eat then? All food (save perhaps wild meat) has been genetically manipulated since humans settled down and started farming about 10000 years ago.
  • Re:Sounds like (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:44AM (#36287098)

    Thanks, but no thanks, we don't want your GMO anymore, we saw what it does.

    Feed billions of people?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:44AM (#36287102)

    A sympathetic farmer was quoted as saying, “They [the GM lobby] talk a lot about farmers, but we are never heard. This type of action strengthens us and seems like the only way forward for consumers and small producers who are independent of powerful interest groups like big agribusiness. “

    Which amounts to small indie software studios saying: "The developers of that new hot 3D engine keep saying that they are doing it for the developers, but they never come around to my studio asking if I even want competition from better looking 3D accelerated games, or if I want to buy their engine. which I don't!. So we are going to raid there server-farm in a peaceful way, delete all their code an replace it with more developer friendly opensource code."

    Farmers are a dying breed, and thank god for that, they all seem to be ignorant idiots who believe that it's the duty of politicians and pretty much the whole rest of society to make it profitable for them to make a living by inefficiently harvesting each of their individual little plots of lands. We are already throwing money at them like crazy to keep them happy, now they also want to stop all progress because some farmers are scaling up, and taking new measures to allow bigger better farms with lower overheads. So the small farmers collect to tear appart their fields.... Nice. I'm looking forward to the day when the lone farmer is just a bad memory.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy (1345787) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:46AM (#36287122)

    Odd that they don't simply spread their message by not buying these types of food. They find it acceptable to destroy property that does not belong to them, and which probably cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in lost time and research, just to force people to view things their way. I also found the article to be a bit funny regarding these GM crops being 'forced' onto local farmers.

    If you don't want to eat that shit, don't buy it, or grow your own disease ridden organic food. If they prove that it's safe, then I have no issues with it. Since this crop was still being studied, apparently they weren't interested in it's safety, but rather in destroying it before that fact was determined.

    It's also pretty sad when they announced their plans to do this and the police still failed to do much but slow them down. Pellet guns or water hoses would have seemed to be a good non-lethal solution here.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Barrie_rdv (1236634) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:46AM (#36287128)
    This research was happening independently of the industry, with public funding. Also, the research was about making the potatoes immune to a common disease, NOT making them immune to a specific brand of herbicide, so I fail to see how this could lead to a Monsanto situation. Part of the research was also to find out what the environmental impact of GMO is, and you will have to do a field test at some point to scientifically verify this.
  • Re:Sounds like (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ironhandx (1762146) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:49AM (#36287162)

    Research inevitably goes Lab -> Greenhouse -> Uncontrolled conditions.

    Eventually it HAS to be tested in the wild or else you won't ever be able to use the product.

    I'd also like to point out that you have been eating GM plants your entire life. Wheat? Hundreds of years of selective growing of only the best stock. Its the same thing it's just been done on a farm instead of in a lab.

    Corn? Corn didn't even exist in its current form a thousand years ago, yet it was in its current form before the GMO corps were even founded. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts you eat corn or corn products on a regular basis though don't you?

    There need to be restrictions in place on it, but only because they can now make more massive changes to the plant more quickly, not because making changes is in general a bad thing.

  • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Barrie_rdv (1236634) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:49AM (#36287166)
    As I explained in an other comment, part of the field test was exactly to find out the environmental impact. You will have to do a field test at some point. One of the researchers also said that with these potatoes cross pollination does not happen.
  • Re:Sounds like (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:50AM (#36287198)

    Thanks, but no thanks, we don't want your GMO anymore, we saw what it does.

    You don't speak for me. I want GMO crops.

    It's funny how you environmentalists take the word of scientists regarding climate change and evolution but ignore scientists when it comes to nuclear power and GMO crops.

  • by EdZ (755139) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:52AM (#36287218)

    And at this time in my life, I want freedom to eat non-GMO food.

    Then go resurrect some crops from fossils a few thousand years old. Genetic modification through selective breeding has been around for as long as agriculture. Direct modification is the same in kind if not in technique. i.e. instead of breeding Regular Tasty Potatoes in the same field as Hardier Smaller Potatoes for a few years and replanting the ones with the least blight, you instead figure out how the hardier variety are resistant, isolate the genetic sequence(s) responsible for this, splice them into your Tasty Potatoes, and breed those for a while to make sure nothing untoward happens. The crops destroyed were at that latter stage.
    Personally, I'd rather eat 'GM food' that requires a lower number and quantity of pesticides than other crops of the same cost, especially when 'Organic' food requires a massive increased land-area and other resources to farm (and thus a higher direct sale price). Then there's the GM foods needed to prevent starvation in countries where regular crops just do not provide enough nourishment to sufficiently feed their populations.

    This is separate from Monsanto et al's massively dickish moves in attempting to patent genetic sequences and impose ridiculous 'licensing terms' on crops.

  • Re:RTFA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:56AM (#36287260)

    You will not have to do a field test if we succeed in getting GM crops banned.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elfprince13 (1521333) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:58AM (#36287276) Homepage
    Destroy biodiversity. http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=42161 [ipsnews.net]
  • Re:Sounds like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ehrichweiss (706417) * on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:59AM (#36287282)

    "Odd that they don't simply spread their message by not buying these types of food."

    Problem being, at some point there may be no other type of food than these. I'm not 100% against GM foods of any sort but there is a real concern that any cross-breeding(which maybe some consider "forcing" it on them, I'm not sure about that though) will result in an entirely unsafe food supply and I can understand that seeing as how there's that corn that was supposed to be the answer to everything that they're now discovering retains its poisonous attributes even after being cooked. If you realize how much corn is in everything you eat, you realize why some might be concerned to act out like this. Again, I'm not saying it's right or that I agree with either side but there are valid concerns.

  • by melchoir55 (218842) on Monday May 30, 2011 @11:59AM (#36287286)

    You can QQ about the moral implications of scientific progress all you like, but you won't be stopping it. Don't like stem cell research because it is an affront to God? Don't like genetics research because it isn't natural? Tough tiddly winks. It takes one researcher spending time on a subject, doing it right, and publishing their results. There is no stopping science.

    If you are so terrified of a universe humans understand, shed the hypocrisy. Shut off your computer and all your lights. Refuse antibiotics next time you have a major infection. Reject models like the heliocentric solar system, gravity, electromagnetism, and all the rest.

    Having a powerful model for genetics has the potential to outshine all the theories mentioned above in practical use for human life. It will doubtless be necessary if ever we get off our asses and go to the stars.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:03PM (#36287338)
    Uh, it's kinda important to test GM foods in realistic conditions, especially when testing "how will this grow in realistic conditions?". I'm sure they took plenty of sensible precautions, like "test it as thoroughly as possible in the lab to make sure it's not dangerous", and "keep it separate and distant from actual crops to prevent genetic transfer". Plus, unless they changed science without telling me, experimental products aren't sold as food after the experiment is over. These particular plants were never going to be eaten.

    Plus, what does "Monsanto being evil money-grabbing bastards" have to do with foods not being safe (which seems to be your unstated concern - ignore if I'm picking up on the wrong subtext)? The only two GM foods I can find with actual safety concerns (both triggered allergic reactions) had those problems detected well before even field-study, and were subsequently stopped. I agree that Monsanto is an absolutely evil corporation that should be first against the wall when the revolution comes, but not because they're making and selling unsafe food.
  • Re:Sounds like (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:04PM (#36287342)

    actually the research was also funded by a number of GMO companies that would become co-owner of any patents resulting from the research.

    disclaimer: not that I condone the way they protested. I do Sympathise with their concerns.

    (captcha: educator)

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blackraven14250 (902843) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:05PM (#36287360)
    You're a moron; it's a point that is relevant (to some degree) because the situation in the US would not exist if it were not so easy for GM and non-GM crops to cross pollinate. There's also a big difference between artificial selection and GM; we don't know all the consequences of genetically altering an organism, but we can basically see them when selecting over generations.
  • Re:Sounds like (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:07PM (#36287388)

    And how is this an insightful counter argument ?

    Wheat ? Not really that good for you. At least there is nothing wrong with spelt.

    Corn ? Natural corn, which exists in many different breeds, making them far less suceptible to a one-size-fits-all bug, would be quite preferrable. But Monsanto is indeed doing its worst to "fix" this, by fighting the proper crops where they exist.

    Also, you totally overlook the basic problem. The wheat and corn from 50 years ago is NOT genetically modified in the modern sense of the word, and you know it. The problem with the current craze is that the changes are bigger and faster than before. And that companies make crops that fit their needs, not the needs of those who need to grow stuff. For example, and yes, this is real, they make crops that have weaknesses so that you need to buy more pesticides of the kind they sell. Letting a company be in charge of the raw material for your food is a very bad idea, because they think on a short term for profit basis, and do not care if they mess up the nutritional value of the food or otherwise make things worse for everyone around them.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adonoman (624929) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:13PM (#36287442)

    you environmentalists

    You say that like there's just one group - I happen to support reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of safer nuclear reactor technologies, and the careful use of GMO crops. I'm against patenting GMO life. I'm against assuming all GMO plants are safe for consumption just because their progenitors were safe - that same protein that protects against potato blight may be toxic to more than just the bugs spreading it. On the other hand, it's more than likely less toxic than dumping insecticides on the plants.

    There are plenty of people out there who don't simply define themselves as "environmentalists", but look at individual issues and see potential issues that should be mitigated against.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:15PM (#36287480)

    Most, if not all, GM plants are engineered so that they don't produce pollen. That's why farmers need to buy new seeds every year. This is done in order to prevent flux of engineered material to nature.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JordanL (886154) <jordan.ledoux@gmOPENBSDail.com minus bsd> on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:16PM (#36287496) Homepage
    How arrogant is it of a person secure in their subsistence to say "No, we could save you from starvation with this plant, but I don't believe in this plant, so fuck you."
  • Re:Sounds like (Score:4, Insightful)

    by twidarkling (1537077) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:16PM (#36287512)

    The problem isn't GMO, it's patents and business models. Getting rid of GMO won't fix anything.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcaldwel (935913) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:18PM (#36287534)
    I don't see anyone forcing anyone to buy anything. If the GMO crop is worth a premium, the farmers will pay a premium. If not, then not.
  • Re:Sounds like (Score:4, Insightful)

    by improfane (855034) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:19PM (#36287566) Journal

    Selective growing/pollination is not GMO.

    Identifying desirable traits and crossing them is benign and not the same as forcing changes or operating on genes directly.

    Shills are trying to represent them as one as the same to amass support for them.

  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:20PM (#36287568) Homepage

    No :-)

    In my defence, painting protests as terrorism is all too common nowadays:

  • by Krau Ming (1620473) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:24PM (#36287628)

    "I want freedom to eat non-GMO food."

    You have that freedom. Grow your own veggies. Eat 'em.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tkrotchko (124118) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:30PM (#36287714) Homepage

    Nah, make them work for local farms for 8 weeks. They'll perhaps learn the meaning of hard work and humility.

  • Re:Ludites (Score:4, Insightful)

    by camperdave (969942) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:31PM (#36287736) Journal
    Gene splicing is not the same thing as evolution.
  • Re:Sounds like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:32PM (#36287744)
    It seems you didn't hear about the story of that farmer, who unwillingly, had his field infected with GMO, because others around were using it (but not him). Then, enormously-wealthy Monsanto sued the poor farmer for using GMOs without buying the copyright they have on the patented seeds.

    Another issue. In France, they don't produce GMO corn, or things stuffed with round-up, because you see, they care a bit for their health, and very strangely, believe that eating herbicide sprayed-so-much veggies might be harmful. But then, producers on the other side of the ocean use (and abuse) of round-up-ready Monsanto seeds, and of course, have better productivity, which leads to cheaper corn. Guess what! French can't compete with Americans, and of course, US thinks it's a WTO violation to ban GMO imports.

    Now, on the supermarket, sure, nobody is forcing anyone to buy GMO products. But the issue is that we don't know what is made with GMO products. So even if we have that freedom, we can't exercise it. There was once some trials to put stickers on food that contained GMO, but the lobbies are too powerful, and it didn't work.

    There are other examples like that. Hundreds of them. You think people have freedom of not using GMO in their crops? Think again, freedom not what big-seed company wants, and that's not what is happening in many places.

    Now, let's take freedom and market appart. Do you think that, for food, the only think that counts is money? Isn't there is something called health that we should care about?
  • by fermion (181285) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:39PM (#36287848) Homepage Journal
    In addition, you can't put a scientist on a project and call it science, at least not ethical science. For instance, a scientist could kidnap a child, put them intending to put that child in the closet for three day will full monitoring and appropriate scientific protocols while not injuring the child in any physical manner. I suppose when the police rescued that child the headline would read "Police disrupt scientific child experiment'.

    These GMO 'experiments' are like kidnapping the whole world because they are ransoming our future food supply for short term profits. They are worse than nuclear explosions because the effect of nuclear explosions are localized, say the massive radiation of the Bikini Atoll, because the effects are much more widespread and may not get better in relatively short periods of time unlike nuclear explosions. We have no idea what the new genes in plants will do, but we do know that they genes will be spead because that's the whole purpose of nature, to spread mutations. Bad mutations will be breed out over time, but it could cause ecosystem to collapse.

    In a larger context GMO exists to reinforce the non-sustainable agricultural methods developed over the past century. One of these is artificial fertilizer and insecticides. The negative effects of this is real. In the recent debate of blowing the levees so the missispii could flood farm land instead of cities, one argument against it is that the rivier is so full of these chemicals that the farm land would be destroyed. We live in a world where we can't even use annual flooding the reinvigorate our land.

    Everyone says GMO is all about increasing food security, but it is really about increasing short term profits. In the Americas and Europe we grow way more food than we need. The issues in Africa is about using unsustainable framing practices and int he process creating desert. In the US where we have way more food than we need, we process it into empty calorie snacks na brainwash out kids into buying it as food. Just look at what happened when FLOTUS said it might be nice for kids to have healthy food. All the lobby dollars of the junk food industry came out and said that if parents though that chips and soft drinks were what parents wanted to feed the kids then they should have that choice. Which I don't disagree with, just let's be honest about what we are doing and why we are doing it.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kitkoan (1719118) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:40PM (#36287864)
    Europe != the rest of the world. Also your link there states that they don't label any GM feed used for animal production and GM proteins do show up in the animals that are fed the GM feed and those animal food products are sold to the public but not labeled with any warning about GMOs.
  • Re:Sounds like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:47PM (#36287962) Homepage

    Wait, which is it? Is the plant sterile, or is it cross-pollinating?

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:51PM (#36288022)

    No it doesn't. This issue is very simple here.

    Physically attacking a scientific experiment in the guise of a protest against commercialization of a technology that you may have political issues with is nothing than a form of terrorism and should be treated extremely harshly.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drooling-dog (189103) on Monday May 30, 2011 @12:59PM (#36288096)

    when it comes to nuclear power and GMO crops.

    I'm not sure you're helping the cause any by tying it to nuclear power, where there are multiple empirical examples of incidents that occurred despite repeated authoritative assurances of their (theoretical) near-impossibility.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Monday May 30, 2011 @01:01PM (#36288120)
    Biodiversity is not a worthy goal in and of itself. If everything else worked right, I'd have no problems with reducing total species on the planet to the low thousands. If a species does not actually contribute anything, why save it?

    However, I realize the problems with that view, namely that low diversity makes it extremely easy for diseases to wipe out the entire thing. However, I don't see how "genetically modified" necessarily implies "destroys biodiversity". In fact, I could see it overall increasing it (provided we fix certain broken pieces of IP law). If, instead of one company making all the new GM foods, you had dozens, you would end up with several competing GM foods, which are less likely to be vulnerable to the same diseases. Further, if each company segmented their products (ie. you had different "versions" of each company's food), you could increase biodiversity even more. For example, assume the Basic version of Uberfood's GM Corn provided resistance to common diseases and increased growth, while the Resistance edition added low-water survivability and resistance to several uncommon blights, and the Ultra edition provided additional growth increase and resistance to some special pesticide. If some disease finds a vulnerability in the pesticide resistance, you only lose 1/3 of those crops. While potentially making more money for the companies in the process, as you would either lower the price on the Basic (allowing economically disadvantaged farmers to grow them) or increase the price on the others (getting more money from the economically advantaged).
  • Re:Sounds like (Score:4, Insightful)

    by couchslug (175151) on Monday May 30, 2011 @01:03PM (#36288144)

    Scientists aren't the problem. Corporations who OWN scientists are the problem. Scientists are serfs like the rest of us.

  • by tanveer1979 (530624) on Monday May 30, 2011 @01:11PM (#36288208) Homepage Journal

    I do not think many slashdotters would understand, that world over, resistance to bio engineered and gene modified plants is mostly due to business reasons.
    Or the "Monsato" model.
    Most GM food is owned by corporations.
    They sell you seed, and you grow the plants.
    Then you need to buy seed again the next year.... and so on.
    So as local less hardy varieties vanish, the corporation can set its own prices.

    Traditionally, farmers buy seed just once, and then keep reusing in normal circumstances.
    GM model is trying to alter whats being done for many millenia.

    Its more difficult than making old world studios embrace the internet.

    So around all this, you have a whole slew of conspiracy theorists and wack jobs who basically add fuel to the fire.

    So here is the opposition.
    In countries where farmers are a powerful vote bank(eg India), govt mostly does the GM corp kicking here and there.
    In the west, I guess, its the activists.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:2, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Monday May 30, 2011 @01:12PM (#36288210)

    This is total nonsense. Genes NATURALLY spread widely in a unpredictable and random manner. New genes are produced all the time by mutation. Species NATURALLY become extinct all the time.

    The potential for anything going horribly wrong is zero.

    The idea that old school bananas are going extinct is pure BULLSHIT circulated on internet scare sites.

    http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/bananas.asp [snopes.com]

    The anit-GMO crowd has completely and 100% certifiably gone off the deep end. There is no none zero scientific basis for what they are doing whatsoever.

  • Stepping back (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oDDmON oUT (231200) on Monday May 30, 2011 @01:21PM (#36288300)

    Bad day for scientific research? No. It's set back of limited duration.
    Is GM food "bad"? Dunno, jury's still out on that and it really depends which camp you want to listen to.
    Is the licensing and patenting of GM crops bad? Oh hell yes. The goal of "crop lock-in" is real, demonstrated and rather scary IMO.
    Would this be a good time to discuss licensing or policies to halt this type of corporate behavior? Definitely. In fact it's so long overdue we may have passed the tipping point five years ago.

    For your consideration:
    Haitian rice [axisoflogic.com]
    Monsanto Lawsuit / canola [percyschmeiser.com]
    Monsanto Lawsuit / soybeans [nelsonfarm.net]
    Patented disease [typepad.com]
    University gene patents [google.com]

    I think that this imbroglio underscores the need to limit or do away with gene patents, as there is little chance that the men in white coats (or the ones in black suits that pay them) will stop their tinkering, and I'm not sure that it needs to stop.

  • by gmarsh (839707) on Monday May 30, 2011 @01:21PM (#36288306)

    Other than, "it's new and people don't fully understand it" ? Or, ?

    If people had that same mindset/fear of the unknown that they did when penicillin and vaccines came out, I think we'd be seriously fucked as a human race.

    I seem to remember the potato blight being a terrible thing that killed millions of people in the Irish/Scottish/European famines. And I personally know a family in Newfoundland who were farmers - several years back their potato crop contracted late blight, antifungals didn't help, they lost the crop and ended up bankrupt at the end of it. A blight resistant strain of potatoes seems like a pretty fantastic idea to me.

    Besides, the more food that we grow that doesn't need antifungals, pesticides and other "of course they're toxic, they wouldn't work otherwise" chemicals sprayed on it for it to grow, the better. I'd eat a GM vegetable any day over that.

    (Mind you, I'm personally against engineering salmon to be 10 times bigger and growing them in offshore fish farms. Grow that shit in an inland fish farm where it's guaranteed that they won't take over and fuck up an ecosystem.)

  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday May 30, 2011 @01:34PM (#36288442) Homepage Journal
    after seeing what the genetically modified crap monsanto propagates around (curiously after a while the crap propagates itself without help from anyone), this is a win for my stomach.

    http://science.slashdot.org/story/10/01/13/0328221/Organ-Damage-In-Rats-From-Monsanto-GMO-Corn?art_pos=1 [slashdot.org]

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/wood-prairie-farm/the-complete-text-of-dr-don-m-hubers-letter-to-usda-secretary-vilsak/197340006962367 [facebook.com]

    http://vimeo.com/22997532 [vimeo.com]
  • Re:Sounds like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Monday May 30, 2011 @01:50PM (#36288644)

    Odd that they don't simply spread their message by not buying these types of food.

    You are absolutely right. And I support one hundred percent a total obligation for all foods to be precisely labelled with exactly what gen-manipulated foods are used in their production. But for some reason Monsanto and friends really don't like people being able to make that decision.

    But actually what you are saying is that in a power struggle between food industry and ordinary people with no power, these ordinary people should only be allowed to use the weakest possible form of protest, while Monsanto can spend 100s of millions to buy politicians.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gutnor (872759) on Monday May 30, 2011 @02:32PM (#36289162)
    You do not need GMO to save the world of starvation. There is plenty enough food to feed everyone. And if you stop subsiding agriculture in first world countries, you will find remaining starvation problems are due to either shitty infrastructure (i.e. complete disregard by the local authority) or civil war/unrest.

    Finding the magic crop to save the world is just another PR line like binging democracy, and the current real life use of GMO are as far from fulfilling that line as you can get.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nahdude812 (88157) * on Monday May 30, 2011 @02:50PM (#36289354) Homepage

    I agree that there's a lot of inappropriate FUD surrounding GM products, but there are also very good reasons for people to be concerned. GM products tend to be genetically homogenous, and that is very weak from an evolutionary context. It suggests that a new fungus, virus, insect, or other form of danger may arise which can destroy the entire plant line. Over-dependence on GM plants is a monumental leap backwards in terms of survivability to new threats.

    Also GM companies have a pretty shady history and a lot of very dark actions in their past, and I don't trust them to make decisions which are good for anyone in the world other than their stockholders. For example, selling the third world seeds which will grow only sterile plants (removing their ability to be self sufficient). Suing farmers whose plants end up being fertilized with GM products from a neighboring field, and so forth. I trust GM companies to be honest about GM plants and livestock about as much as I trust tobacco companies to be honest about cigarettes in the late 80's and early 90's [youtube.com].

    I think there's nowhere near enough regulation over GM products. I don't think any private entity should be allowed to commercially produce sterile plants or livestock, and I think they should be required to provide funding for genetic seed banks to protect against the damage they do to genetic diversity (I think they should not be allowed to run those seed banks themselves). I think there's a lot of value to GM products, but I think there's a lot of potential danger too, and I don't trust any private entity to honestly tell me about the dangers along with the benefits.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Monday May 30, 2011 @03:00PM (#36289496)

    then I trust the free market to make the right decision and choose the seed that is best for the food supply.

    That, actually, is a mistake in an era of regulatory capture and corporatism. You think that only applies to the phone company and ISPs?

  • by etudiant (45264) on Monday May 30, 2011 @03:19PM (#36289734)

    The absence of control over the cross fertilization from GM plants is a legitimate issue that is thus far not adequately addressed.
    People breeding pure strains that are inadvertently contaminated from adjacent GM plants may see their business destroyed with no recourse. This has happened in the case of some orange growers. It also is a concern for those seeking to market GM free vegetables that command market premiums.
    Thus far, the proponents of GM plants have essentially had a free ride on this issue and no consequential damages have been paid. This is unjust, as it puts the burden of adjustment on the injured party, rather than on the originator of the damage. When the law acts thus unjustly, people will respond similarly.
    I would not be happy either if someone moved a contamination source into my neighborhood and told me that adjusting to it was my problem.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday May 30, 2011 @04:11PM (#36290232) Homepage Journal

    Sounds to me like some assholes who need to spend a few years in jail with hard criminals.

    I don't think we need to be that harsh on the scientists. Maybe just having them clean up the field, promising not to play with GMO crops any more would be enough. Jail time seems a little extreme even for such reckless and arrogant behavior.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday May 30, 2011 @04:20PM (#36290308) Homepage Journal

    then I trust the free market

    Then you are foolish.

    The golem known as the "free market" has stripped the flesh from the bones of working and middle-class families world-wide, siphoning the inherent value of the earth's most important commodity, labor and delivering it to a destructive and monstrous elite. The "free market" would not hesitate to see you and your children die from a readily curable disease because you cannot afford the proprietary medicine, developed with taxpayer funds that you paid. The "free market" would gladly give your child a cupful of mercury to drink if it meant a little bump in quarterly stock prices. The free market would not hesitate to eliminate every "heirloom seed" on earth if it meant that they would be paid a license fee for every morsel of food that goes on your family's table.

    I'm not sure how bad it has to get before you stop trusting the "free market", but if that day ever comes, it'll probably be because you have had children.

  • Re:Sounds like (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday May 30, 2011 @05:01PM (#36290664) Journal

    It seems you didn't hear about the story of that farmer, who unwillingly, had his field infected with GMO, because others around were using it (but not him). Then, enormously-wealthy Monsanto sued the poor farmer for using GMOs without buying the copyright they have on the patented seeds.

    Did you actually learn the details [wikipedia.org] of the story?:

    All claims relating to Roundup Ready canola in Schmeiser's 1997 canola crop were dropped prior to trial and the court only considered the canola in Schmeiser's 1998 fields. Regarding his 1998 crop, Schmeiser did not put forward any defence of accidental contamination. The evidence showed that the level of Roundup Ready canola in Mr. Schmeiser's 1998 fields was 95-98% (See paragraph 53 of the trial ruling). Evidence was presented indicating that such a level of purity could not occur by accidental means. On the basis of this the court found that Schmeiser had either known "or ought to have known" that he had planted Roundup Ready canola in 1998. Given this, the question of whether the canola in his fields in 1997 arrived there accidentally was ruled to be irrelevant. Nonetheless, at trial, Monsanto was able to present evidence sufficient to persuade the Court that Roundup Ready canola had probably not appeared in Schmeiser's 1997 field by such accidental means (paragraph 118). The court said it was persuaded "on the balance of probabilities" (the standard of proof in civil cases, meaning "more probable than not" i.e. strictly greater than 50% probability) that the Roundup Ready canola in Mr. Schmeiser's 1997 field had not arrived there by any of the accidental means, such as spillage from a truck or pollen travelling on the wind, that Mr. Schmeiser had proposed.

    And here's why. The guy didn't have the contaminated plants "accidentally" spread and take over his field. He quite deliberately selected the GM strain, separated it from the rest of his plants, and used it to replant:

    He had used Roundup herbicide to clear weeds around power poles and in ditches adjacent to a public road running beside one of his fields, and noticed that some of the canola which had been sprayed had survived. Schmeiser then performed a test by applying Roundup to an additional 3 acres (12,000 m2) to 4 acres (16,000 m2) of the same field. He found that 60% of the canola plants survived. At harvest time, Schmeiser instructed a farmhand to harvest the test field. That seed was stored separately from the rest of the harvest, and used the next year to seed approximately 1,000 acres (4 km) of canola.

    One can argue about the merits of gene patents in general, but in this particular case it's not anywhere "poor innocent farmer who couldn't do anything about it".

  • by ChrisMaple (607946) on Monday May 30, 2011 @10:19PM (#36292470)

    Blowing sterile pollen and seeds around the globe will kill off wild species in time

    You can't possibly be that stupid. Please spend however long it takes to figure out that not only is your conclusion wrong, it's self-contradictory.

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