Even Mice Don't Like Genetically Modified Food
06-16-2006 10:27 AM
Even Mice Don't Like Genetically Modified Food
Concerned that industry and government have failed to carry out proper scientific studies on the safety of GE corn and other Frankenfoods, a young Dutch science student, Hinze Hogendoorn, recently decided to take matters into his own hands.
Dr. Mae Wan-Ho, a British geneticist and world renowned critic of biotechnology, reported the results of this simple, yet remarkable animal-feeding experiment on her website www.i-sis.org in December 2001. Here are excerpts from Dr. Ho's report:
A Dutch farmer left two piles of maize in a barn infested with mice, one pile GM (genetically modified), the other non-GM. The GM pile was untouched, while the non-GM pile was completely eaten up. Incredible!
Hinze couldn't find a single scientific report on animals being tested for preference of GM versus non GM food on the web when he began. On extending his search to effects of GM foods on animals, he came across reports from companies developing GM foods, all declaring there were no adverse impacts.
But he also came across independent researchers who have reported harmful effects, including Dr. Arpad Pusztai, who found GM potatoes damaged the kidney, thymus, spleen and gut of young rats.
Hinze was stumped at first, because he would have needed to go through a lot of bureaucracy to experiment on animals. However, he managed to rescue 30 female six-week old mice bred to feed snakes from a herpetology center.
Hinze gave them a staple food along with the two foods GM and non-GE corn and soy that were to be compared, so they could really show their preference without being starved.
Large cages were used so the mice had plenty of room to move around. At the beginning, all the mice were weighed before they were put into the cages. The mice had not eaten for some time, but amazingly, they immediately showed very definite food preferences preferring the non GM corn and soy.
For the next nine weeks, Hinze continued to give the mice GM and non GM maize or soy chunks. the mice consumed 61% non GM and 39% GM food when given free choice.
For the next experiment, Hinze tested for the health effects of GM food. Over the next 10 days, he kept track of the amount of food that the two groups consumed each day, and weighed the mice, halfway through and at the end of the experiments.
The group fed GM ate more, probably because they were slightly heavier on average to begin with, but they gained less weight. By the end, they actually lost weight. In contrast, the group fed non GM ate less and gained more weight, continuing to gain weight until the end of the experiment. The results were statistically significant.
That was not the only difference observed. There were marked behavioral differences. The mice fed GM food "seemed less active while in their cages."
The most striking difference was when the mice were weighed at the end of the experiment. The mice fed GM food were "more distressed" than the other mice.
"Many were running round and round the basket, scrabbling desperately in the sawdust, and even frantically jumping up the sides, something I'd never seen before." They were clearly more nervous than the mice from the other cage. "For me this was the most disconcerting evidence that GM food is not quite normal."
Another "interesting result" is that one of the mice in the GM cage was found dead at the end of the experiment. Hinze concluded, "At the end of everything, I must admit that the experiment has done nothing to soothe my qualms concerning genetically enhanced food."
Frankencorn or Pesticides: Choose Your Poison
The hazards of genetically engineered corn, and other GE foods, are frightening. But even if global resistance were able to drive GE corn off the market tomorrow, we would still be left with a highly toxic, chemical-intensive, industrial-style system of corn production which is depleting soil fertility, poisoning municipal water supplies, and quickly turning indigenous people and family farmers into an endangered species.
Even without Frankencrops, we would still be facing an out-of-control globalization process, which is driving millions of farmers off the land and forcing desperate peasants to chop down remaining forests -- in the process driving hundreds of thousands of landraces and traditional varieties of plants, microorganisms, and animals into extinction.
Syngenta's conventional non-GE corn and pesticides are just as scary as their Frankencorn. Syngenta profits by selling corn farmers either gene-altered Bt corn or its conventional fertilizer and pesticide-intensive) hybrids, along with its super toxic weed killer, Atrazine, a known carcinogen.
Unfortunately Atrazine not only kills weeds, but also ends up as a dangerous residue in the meat and dairy products of animals that have eaten Atrazine-sprayed corn. Atrazine, along with its companion pesticides, have also polluted wells and drinking water in 97% of the communities in the US Corn Belt.
What's more dangerous, eating Bt corn, consuming pesticide residues in your Big Mac or non-organic dairy products, or drinking the tap water that comes out of your faucet?
Similarly, Monsanto is in the business of selling toxic pesticides and herbicides, whether it is to farmers growing GE crops, farmers growing non-GE hybrid crops, Roundup-spraying drug warriors in Colombia or California, or suburbanites trying to get that perfectly green lawn.
After 100 years of poisoning the public with substances like PCBs and Agent Orange, Monsanto tells us that their latest toxic chemicals such as Roundup, or their latest seed varieties, such as Roundup Ready corn are perfectly safe.
Should We Believe Them?
Or what about Cargill? They're happy to sell their chemical nitrate fertilizers (which also end up in most Americans' drinking water) to farmers, whether they are planting GE Frankencrops or just conventional industrial hybrids. Or ADM, who are happy to sell you either GE corn or non-GE corn, as long as they can drive the prices down which they pay to farmers, and drive the prices up to their "enemy," the consumer.
The solution of course to all this is to buy and eat organic food, and to buy from local and regional farmers and companies, rather than the transnational corporations whenever possible.
Mexicans can protect their health and preserve their biodiversity by boycotting gringo GE-tainted corn and buying organic corn produced by Mexican farmers cultivating traditional varieties.
US consumers similarly can protect their health, their drinking water, and their children by buying organic and local.
Fortunately this is what more and more people are doing everyday, not only in the USA but across the world. Farmers in 130 nations are now producing certified organic food for a booming market of organic consumers, making organic the fasting growing component of world agriculture.
Thirty million Americans are now buying organic food and the numbers are rising every month. Since September 11, sales of organic and natural food have increased 8%.
Thought this could be interesting..
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