What 2011 event is associated with a mysterious entity linked to crippling disease in animals we eat?
This entity threatens the environment and the economy.
Scientists are prevented from researching the entity, or intimidated if they publish findings.
Government protection agencies enable industry suspected of being a source of the entity.
Individuals lead a crusade for the truth and reform.
If you answered the Cohen Commission’s sockeye inquiry, you’re right.
If you answered: scientist, Kristi Miller, entity, ISA virus, “entities” yet unidentified, crusader, or Alexandra Morton, you’d also be correct.
You’d be correct, as well, if you named a similar battle in the U.S. over genetically modified crops developed by the U.S. biotech agricultural industry, notably Monsanto, the company that gave Agent Orange to the U.S. military during the Vietnam War.
GMO, or “RoundUp Ready” (trade name), animal feed plants such as corn, soy, and recently, alfalfa – licenced or deregulated by the U.S. Deptartment of Agriculture – contain a gene that lets them ignore the lethal effect of glyphosate, a herbicide that blocks the absorption of nutrients by weeds.
The idea, says microbiologist, Dr. Don Huber, is to kill weeds; speed the harvest.
But that’s a problem for the many interdependent units of the agricultural system – microbes to humans – explains Huber, in a shocking interview with MD. Joseph Mercola, titled, Monsanto’s Micro-Monster Could Kill Us All. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4swW9OFmf8&feature=player_embedded#!).
“These nutrients [in the soil] aren’t just required by the weed,” says Huber, “they’re required by microorganisms. They’re required by us in our physiologic functions.”
They’re required too, by the RoundUp ready plant. “Glyphosate is extremely toxic to all those organisms,” Huber tells us. “It is documented that the nutritional efficiency – just having the foreign gene inserted reduces the capability of that plant to take up nutrients … When you apply the chemical you have a further compounding effect of reducing the efficiency of the plant.”
Its increased use “is totally eliminating many of those organisms from the soil. Consequently, we see an increase of over 40 new diseases [in plants] that we used to have under fairly effective control.”
Huber believes people eating meats and plants contaminated with glyphosate are also at risk.
“I don’t think there’s any question that when you consume, that it’s going to have the same effects.” That’s because glyphosate is “very effective against certain organisms at extremely low concentrations,” which “are all permitted in our food and feed approvals.”
Today, GMO corn, soybeans, and alfalfa are primary feeds for the dairy cows, pigs and cattle that supply the human diet. Labelling the GMO link to allow consumer choice is feared by the biotech industry. So far, that’s not required in Canada or the U.S., even though independent research on the safety of GMO crops exposed to glyphosate has not occurred.
Huber says universities are afraid to fund such research, and scientists who’d undertake it face reprisal.
“They can be fired from their job or their program shut down. If they did [research], they were prohibited from publishing it,” says Huber, echoing concerns heard at Cohen.
At the same time, says Huber, the USDA is encouraging the industry to do its own safety tests. Huber concludes this allows the biotech industry to monitor itself. It “has essentially monopolized the regulatory process.”
During Cohen testimony we learned the farm fish industry enjoys the same privilege. The DFO has gagged its scientists.
Huber has asked the USDA to fund research on glyphosate ties to GMO plants and herbivores that now display a disease linked entity, “common in nature, but new to science.”
He awaits an answer, as does Kristi Miller.
Of the entity in U.S. meat and dairy, Huber says, “It was first identified by veterinarians confronted by a very high reproductive failure in animals. You put that on top of 10-15 per cent infertility rate to start with and you’re not going to have a dairy very long.”
The problem, says Huber, “tracts fairly well with what we see with the increase usage of our genetically modified crops, especially with the Roundup ready or BT traits in them.”
Huber says two conditions threaten the meat and dairy industry. “One was this reproductive failure – as many as 40-50 per cent of pregnant animals losing their offspring. The other was premature aging. When they take a two-year-old to market, it’s downgraded to that of a 10-year-old cow.”
Is the entity in the corn, asked Mercola.
“Oh yeah,” Huber replied.
He wants a moratorium on GMO alfalfa. It’s unlikely in the U.S., which favors markets free of interference by protection agencies.
“It could have a tremendous impact on our exports,” says Huber.
DFO officials voiced fear of a market loss if buyers thought our salmon were diseased.
“Impact on our exports” – do the words explain the evolution of government for the people to government for big corporations in the U.S. and Canada?
The final chapters of the GMO and farm fish stories in 2012 will confirm this.
My mistake: Cinema Politica, which brings issues of social justice to us for enlightened discussion is not an “outreach” of the NDP. The last video, The Yes Men Fix the World, focused on corporate irresponsibility, including DOW Chemicals’ failure to compensate victims of a gas plant explosion 20 years ago.
Jack Emberly is a retired teacher, local author and environmentalist.