Each year in Third World countries, millions of children go blind or die from the lack of Vitamin A. Wouldn’t it be great if scientists could come up with an easy solution to this human disaster? Well, they did.
Professor Ingo Potrykus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Peter Beyer of the University of Freiburg in Germany found a solution. They created something called Golden Rice. It is rice genetically modified to produce higher amounts of vitamin A.
Given that rice is a staple in Asia and elsewhere, this was an easy way to help poor children get the nutrients they need. This beneficial creation didn’t go unnoticed by the anti-GMO/Organic activists and they wasted no time in attacking it. They have spread all kinds of unfounded rumors and lies about Golden Rice.
When MIT researchers conducted a trial with children in China, not to determine if they rice was safe, (it is) but to see if the rice did indeed deliver adequate amounts of Vitamin A, Greenpeace launched a propaganda campaign, accusing the researchers all kinds of ethical violations and using the kids, unwittingly as guinea pigs. They made such a racket that the Chinese Government freaked out and fired the Chinese researchers involved and paid compensation to families.
Greenpeace and others have continued their assault, holding up approval of this modern life saving measure. In the meantime, millions of kids are going blind and dying. It is unconscionable and cruel, but that’s what the anti-GMO movement has become.
Greenpeace, a $300 million a year enterprise, full of well-fed, healthy, sighted westerners is advocating denying a life saving measure to poor children because their worldview disagrees with GMOs. It’s grotesque. There should be some way to haul them into the European Court of Human Rights. That may sound like hyperbole, but considering they are campaigning to thwart life saving measures for millions of children, they should be held accountable.
But they aren’t the only ones waging a murderous campaign. Other groups and activists like Vandana Shiva also oppose saving children and starving people because the food may be GMO. As I wrote back in January,
Needless to say she hates GMOs. This is where her rhetoric becomes dangerous. She hates them so much that she attacked OXFAM on their GMO stance when they were engaged in cyclone relief efforts in Orissa, a state on the southeast coast of India. She tried to persuade them to not supply GMO foods writing in an open letter that “We hope your food aid will be G.E. free.” Shiva’s groupWomen for Diversity demanded the Indian government “immediately withdraw the corn-soya blend from Orissa.” Apparently it was better for people to starve rather than eat GMO food.
She hates “golden rice,” a non-commercially developed GMO rice with higher levels of Vitamin A which can prevent blindness in children. Millions of Third World children go blind each year due to lack of Vitamin A, yet Shiva would deny these children because GM is evil bad and golden rice is a“myth” and negates, “nature’s diverse gifts and women’s knowledge of how to use diversity to feed their children and families.”
This descent into cruelty can be traced back to 2002 in Zambia. At the time, the country faced food shortages and people were starving. The U.S sent food to help alleviate the disaster. Then, in waltzed foreign activist groups who convinced the Zambian Government that the food was “poison.” Zambia then warehoused all the food aid and refused to distribute it to their starving people.
The president of Zambia said today that his country, which is inching toward famine, would continue to refuse relief food that may be genetically modified, calling such food ”poison” and saying it is ”intrinsically dangerous.” ”I’m not prepared to accept that we should use our people as guinea pigs,” Mr. Mwanawasa said.
“Poison.” “Dangerous.” “Guinea pigs.” Sound familiar?
The anti-GMO movement has decided the ends justify the means. They blatantly and without remorse, peddle dangerous nonsense. When they aren’t peddling the imagined dangers of GMOs, they are vociferously defending and trying to rehabilitate the reputation of the anti-GMO Gilles-Eric Seralini, whose widely discredited RoundUp studies on rats was widely condemned by the scientific community.
In his quest to prove harm, he chose rats prone to tumors and allowed them to live longer than ethically acceptable in order to be able to show hideous pictures of rats with gigantic tumors. Science ethics experts, having seen the disturbing images could tell that Seralini had crossed ethical parameters in the use of animals in experiments.
A recent report by experts in medicine, pathology, food regulation and plant science found that Seralini’s study showed a “regrettable example of failures at multiple levels during the execution and communication of research.”
The study appeared to sweep aside all known benchmarks of scientific good practice and, more importantly, to ignore the minimal standards of scientific and ethical conduct in particular concerning the humane treatment of experimental animals.
The report also says that there was an “abject failure” to “treat the experimental animals in a humane manner within standards of regulatory authorities, with the aim of “propagandising”.
The ends justify the means.
UPDATE: At a recent Academia Europaea conference at Cambridge University, the co-inventor of Golden Rice said,
“If our society will not be able to “de-demonise” transgenic technology soon, history will hold it responsible for death and suffering of millions: people in the poor world, not in overfed and privileged Europe, the home of the anti-GMO hysteria.”