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Little rebellions can achieve big results, especially those coming from unlikely places.
And, surely, one of the least likely sources of rebels would be corn-insect researchers at land-grant universities. These crop-science specialists usually stay focused on things like rootworms, not grassroots uprisings. But 26 of them from various schools recently risked their own careers by daring to stand up to such powerhouse genetic seed manipulators as DuPont and Monsanto.
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The researchers submitted a statement to the EPA charging that biotechnology giants are preventing them from fully studying and reporting on the effectiveness and environmental impact of the industry’s genetically altered seeds. On many crucial questions about the safety of these lab created crops, wrote the scientists, “No truly independent research can be legally conducted.”
Why? Because the corporations’ lobbyists and lawyers have rigged the rules so no studies can be done on their altered seeds without their permission, and even then no findings can be published without their okay. In short, those who profit from the spread of these unproven and dangerous seeds have a chokehold on all research to evaluate their impact on our health and environment. The profiteers even have the potential, as one of the rebellious scientists put it, “to launder the data” that EPA relies on to authorize the use of the seeds.
Since these same corporations are now the major funders of university research on biotech crops, it is no small thing for scientists to speak out. As one bluntly says, “People are afraid of being blacklisted.”
It’s time for Congress to break this corporate chokehold and free our public researchers to protect our health and environment. For information, contact: www.organicconsumers.org.
“Crop Scientists Say Biotechnology Seed Companies Are Thwarting Research,” www.cnn.com, February 20, 2009.