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Russian Scientists Propose Public GMO Rat Experiment

The People's Record | September 29, 2012

After a French study suggested that rats fed on Monsanto GMO corn suffered tumors, Russian researches plan their own, this time public, experiment. The unique reality show with rats is expected to prove or deny GMO’s health-threatening influence.

The Russian scientists, who oppose genetically modified organisms (GMO) in food, expect that their year-long experiment will show whether the controversial cultivation process has effects as dangerous as French revelations claimed on September 19.

Scientists from France’s University of Caen made public the results of their classified study, publishing the images of rats with tumors after they were fed a diet of genetically modified (GM) maize produced by American chemical giant Monsanto.

The revelation stirred fear across Europe and in Russia, where authorities temporarily suspended the import and sale of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn.

Russian researches from the National Association for Genetic Safety (NAGS) believe such experiments should be conducted publicly, so that people can see the process with their own eyes, and thus trust, or not, the study.

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Is the ALTERNATIVE better??

We need to ask if going back to conventional crops is better than what we have now. In the 90s my family farmed only conventional soybeans. It was fine, we produced food and made money. As time went by, there was an increase pressure from weeds and insects as would be expected because of change in ecosystem caused by farming. We were then having to start to use massive amounts of chemicals to control the weeds and insects or else we could not produce anything. When Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans came to the market we tested them out. They offered another tool for us to help control problematic fields. We still plant conventional soybeans but we also use RR soybeans. It prevents the use of herbicides that were extremely toxic to the environment and the workers. Today we use Roundup, or Glyphosate, to control the weeds. This chemical decomposes once it touches the soil. Even when we use water that has too many impurities the chemical decomposes. This is one of the main reasons we are supporters of this new technology; it prevents the contamination of our environment. Our problem, in Paraguay, is with insects. Take soybeans as an example; we have to spray 5 times to control insects. The chemical is toxic to not only the insect that we target but everything else that it touches. We kill the natural enemies of these insects, thus causing even bigger population booms and subsequent more use of pesticides. The contamination in the ecosystem isn’t good but we have no choice because other GMO varieties that prevent insect infestations are prohibited. So instead of using a modern technology, we have to use 30 year old methods. If we want to feed the world, we need to embrace new methods. Do the appropriate testing, but do them in a proper scientific way, one that can always be reproduced.

Ever heard of ORGANIC methods?

Ought to give it a try instead of the poisons. Yes, it's more labor intensive, but it doesn't poison people, animals, or the land. Duh!

Organic is good but we can't produce quantity.

I agree with you Silver that organic is a great option. Hell, I buy my produce, chicken, eggs, pork, beef, from my neighbors and most are organic if not all. But as a large farmer, producing organic in large scale isn't possible with the technology that we have today. The pressure from insects and weeds is too much for us to control with organic methods. We even have cheap labor ($15/day) to go out and hoe the fields. And we also use non-chemical methods to control the caterpillars. But then the stink bugs, those are horrible; nothing kills them properly. So we spray 5 times or more to keep them from destroying the fields.

Farmers don't enjoy using chemicals but we have no other choice. The demand for organics isn't that high and if we turn the world into organics we can't produce enough food for the world. Things are getting better and with time we will get more and more methods allowing us to use less and less chemicals. Compare today to 30 years ago and it is very impressive indeed. I'm sure that in another 30 years it will be even better. Until then, Monsanto's technology is just another tool at our disposal.

Your 'research' is lacking.

You say that we can't supply the world with food via organic methods but we definitely can. It's not going to happen with the same system you're used to but it certainly can and will.

Aeroponics, hydroponics and aquaponics are all closed systems that offer much high yields per land footprint than traditional field farming. Permaculture extends that lead by even more. The difference is that you can no longer make a high wage living from focusing on one socially devastating plant covering hundreds of acres. You need to begin supplying what the local population wants and needs and use diversity to build that income.

There are permaculture sites that are producing year round and total 20-30 times the 'yield' of single plant farms. There are intensive aquaponics greenhouses yielding 30,000 bushels per acre with minimal external resources. There are hydroponics (the least productive of these methods) that fill a factory sized building with enough high tech automation to monitor over 50 traits of each plant and still pays for itself in 5 years. Those farmers are raking in the bucks.

We don't need so many soybean crops or corn crops today. No more of this using corn for ethanol, cattle feed, distilled sweetener poison or international blackmail stock. What we do need are real fruits and vegetables that people eat directly.

Fully Agree with you...let the free market determine it

Tam - There is no doubt that there can be better ways to produce food than using large scale mono crop farming; we have improved drastically over the years but there is a lot more to do. The methods that you have mentioned do get used and are profitable, but they still can't be implemented in large scale. With time the technology will get cheaper and thus allow more people to do it. Trust me, if I could plant my land and produce more, I will do so because it simply makes economic sense. I'm not some idiot peasant farmer, I have an agricultural and biological engineering degree from Purdue University (#1 in the world for my degree) so I am always down with trying new technology out.

As for corn going to ethanol, you are dead on. This only happens because the government subsidizes ADM and other companies to produce ethanol. Remove the subsidy and you will see grain prices plummet.

As for cattle feed, it is an efficient method to fatten up cattle. Nothing wrong with doing so (except if you consider feed lots evil). Our cattle in Paraguay are pasture fed and taste delicious, but the cost is higher. The by product of creating soybean oil or corn syrup is used for cattle, pork, chicken, fish feed. It is a cheaper method to produce food and it is all some people can afford to pay.

Now, we're getting somewhere

Purdue bio degree, open minded, understands the corn lobby and knows that pasture fed beef tastes better. That's a great start.

Let me add a few details and see what we come up with.

Miscanthus grass makes pasture fed beef profitable in much higher densities with minimal feed expense. At roughly 3 harvests per year, public estimates are 4 cows per acre, private claims top 10. Grain-o-salt.

Beef nutrition seems to follow grass feed concentration more closely than simple weight. This is especially true of the good fats.

Aquaponic technology is in the 'find test partners' stage now. These systems can scale from single family basement production of fish, shrimp and all non-tall and non-heavy produce... all the way up to acres large greenhouses with high intensity LED grow light systems that keep half a dozen truckers busy. Most don't even rely on anything from the soil or outdoors so it makes no sense to locate them on prime farmland. I can put you in touch with someone at a few different scales.

The world just needs to walk away from using distilled corn as a sweetener. HFCS is really messing with people's diets and even soy derivatives are being found to cause large scale societal problems. We can easily substitute for them... with their original alternatives. This, and our government using it as a blackmail product to keep poor countries' farmers out of business, is all due to the farm lobby having too much influence in politics.

Permaculture and full cycles aquaponics systems generate enough plant waste and do so in the right diversity to feed hogs and chickens in addition to the fish they're designed around.

Regarding scale, I have a little story. Back in the 80's, I used to install those 8 and 10' satellite TV dishes. That industry was very distributed, just like a small scale aquaponics movement would be. In the course of 5 short years, over 5 million dishes were installed (I had help!) at an average cost of $3500 each. All this happened via thousands of installers at many distributorships and all for extended television entertainment.

If small aquaponic systems for the home became refined enough to allow the customer to use them flawlessly and conveniently, they could approach that level of adoption globally. My question is what would that do to the need for the massive land area we now allocate to mono-culture?

Bonus question: What would happen to local economies with all that money remaining local as opposed to ending up on Wall St.?

What would happen? You get what we have in Paraguay.

What I mean by that is essentially prosperity. This area 25 yrs ago was forest. There was no electricity, city water, asphalt, internet, tv, you name it; we were pretty primitive. In that time we have high speed internet, electricity, asphalt, good county roads, decent schools, etc etc. Government helped out with the main electric line and the asphalted highway, everything else done by the people. Our return on investment is extremely high, but is going slowly down because of government involvement with taxes and such (this is the first year that the income tax is attempting to be implemented here). Industry is installing itself very well. The good thing about the massive corruption here is that the government isn't able to get anything done and thus the business/government marriage that you see in the USA can't work here. Big companies are actually highly targeted by the government corrupt idiots.

As for your idea on agriculture, it sounds good but it is unpractical. Now let me explain why. I am a farmer, and I know how to produce food very well; I am efficient at it, thus I utilize the least amount of resources possible to produce the most of my product. But a mechanic, CEO, Wall Street dude, soccer moms, etc., do not have the know how or the time to dedicate to food production. But they can buy my food at a very cheap price (permitting that the government allow me to). So to have a larger portion of the population try to produce their own food,even a small portion of it, is not practical. However, the technology you mention can be used, with time, in very large scale, and semi local, to produce more food. The massive land areas would be used for whatever the market demanded; paper, pasture fed cattle, green areas, etc.

And the miscanthus grass may be good for a certain area, but it may not be adaptable for my region. Also it will require rotation with other grass types when the pressure from insects/weeds grows. We are always looking for the best grass available. Some are good but they may not resist the small droughts common here and there. They may not resist heat well or the frost. Can always make some new transgenic grass variety that can resist the insects, cold/heat, etc. (hehe)

Future volume is in distributed micro-farming

As I said, the aqua / hydro technology is between R&D and mass commercialization now. There are kits (soon to go on the market) which cover all the "know how or the time" needs which will allow the average person to use them. Using one will simply consist of purchasing a system, starting it up and continual harvesting / reseeding. Almost all the rest is automatic. The yield in one that I'm thinking of is higher than a family of 4 needs.

This removes the barrier that is currently used against the organic food movement. That being that "the little guy" is being stopped from selling locally because of permits or licensing. In this system, no selling is needed because it's only for personal use.

My other point was that 80% of what we grow via mono-culture now is basically unnecessary. In other words, the corn industry should be 10% of current size. The soy should be 20%, etc.

Combining the reductions from unneeded farming being eliminated and the reduction from portions being grown in a home basement kit, the industrial farming industry can easily return to providing a surplus and do so on less than existing ground and do so also fully organically.

Then, much more land will be available for other uses like specialty crops and pasture fed animals and so on.

This is not based on "the technology you mention can be used, with time" or "very large scale, and semi local", it's available now and it grows by the benefit of high numbers of the smallest, most efficient sites, not increasing the size of each site.

What about Economies of Scale?

Okay, my last post on this thread...

One issue I see with your idea is that we won't have any economies of scale when it comes to food production. Essentially food is a median that stores minerals and nutrients. Those minerals and nutrients are either supplied by the fertile soil or through fertilizers, be it organic or mined. The logistics in providing fertilizer in a large scale is not practical and the cost will go up, thus making food more expensive. When we farmers purchase fertilizer we do so in large quantities to allow us to get the best price possible. As a larger farmer I know we get much lower prices than our smaller neighbors, thus you see more and more small farms being sold off to large ones.

Now I think having a small garden with some lettuce and tomatoes, etc., is a good thing for people to do. It is fun and you get to learn a bit about how food is produced. Also you'll get some pesticide free vegetables.

And I agree that we are using way too much land to produce grains. But this is caused by the government policies with renewable energies, ethanol. Something like 50% of corn is used for ethanol, this is unacceptable. This also takes land away from soybeans, wheat and other crops, making food more expensive since less is produced. Also this creates pressure to deforest more land so as to provide for more "renewable" ethanol. In the end of it all, if it wasn't for the government, we wouldn't have these problems.

You're still missing the "full cycle" aspect of today's organics

With the current and up-and-coming permaculture and especially the aquaponics systems, no fertilizers are needed. All the micro-nutrients and macros (including NPK) are created in the systems by other means. Aquaponics, which I strongly favor, gets them from the fish, shrimp and composting that's built into the whole system. This entire cycle can be done in as small of an area as a 6' cube located in a basement. Everything that a natural plan in a garden receives, these plants receive. On top of that, they can be ran on shorter or longer "days" which better suit a given plant, they have no seasons to constrain growing times, they have no bad weather and they can grow many plants in as little as 40% of normal harvest times. Most are also enhanced by optimizing nutrient content so that e.g. tomatoes become firmer and meatier. I've seen some that get 5 harvests per year and up to 9 per year in lettuce.

The key facts to keep in mind here are that doing this requires no extra land from a given household and very minimal resources (little water and fish food on average). They also do not promote any fertilizer run-off contaminating our clean water systems.

So, with systems like these hitting the market, large masses of people can individually opt out of the whole food chain of big agra. So my question back to you is what would happen when 60% do this and the other 40% go to a farmer's market that was supplied by large scale systems based on the same principles?

Troll alert...Only 2 posts on

Troll alert...Only 2 posts on forum after joining for 1 day, and both posts touting virtues of Monsanto.

Remember that post, when Karl Rove talked about using professionally paid "real persons" to go around on social media, message boards to troll and cause disruptions? Well, these are the paid Monsanto trolls at work here.

Immoral funding of Military Industrial Complex by Federal Reserve and US taxation system must stop!!!! End illegal/unconstitutional wars! Preserve US currency!
http://facebook.com/NoPropagandaZone
http://twitter.com/the_chiefe71

Respect my opinions as I do yours...

Chief - challenge my arguments if you so please but attacking me by calling me a troll or person that is paid is just lame.

I'm asking everyone to allow the market forces to decide what should and shouldn't be done in relation to the GMO subject. Don't get the government involved, you are only asking the devil for help. And don't get me wrong, I think Monsanto has done horrible things and much of their business practice does not please me. We have suffered and benefited from Monsanto here in Paraguay. We only suffer when they get the government involved because then I no longer have a choice. That is why I hate their business model. But this is no different than other farm companies like ADM with subsidized ethanol production; again government involvement.

So I say we should not be contradicting ourselves saying that we are pro small government and then the next second as for more government involvement only because it is convenient at the moment.

First off, the paper

First off, the paper published by the French was a disaster and a terrible piece of science that should not have been published. This group went in with the intent of demonstrating GMO food causes tumors and set up their experiment to make it happen. This paper is borderline fraud and the way the paper was presented to the media was fraud.

Media fraud:
http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/09/anti-gmo-researchers-...

Other researchers response to the paper:
http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/pages/press_releases/12-09...

This paper did not prove anything. It is not good science and should not be taken seriously. The reason this has never been proven scientifically is that the GMO food used in the study does not cause tumors. Sorry for the rant, but as a member of the scientific community I feel obligated to put a stop to the spreading of this misinformation and fraud.

Secondly, we should all be for food freedom. No forced labeling, no USDA, no FDA, no government interference in agriculture period.

I talk to everyone about this stuff

but it seems they are already stupid from eating too much GMO,s, no one seems to care! What they are pissed at is me not being able to keep supplying the best quality honey at cheap prices.

I tell everyone look at the advertising from these companies, they are promising to kill every insect that crawls under and flies over the corn and soybean fields. Bees are always flying over these crops.

Get the truth what is killing the bees!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVuFvxjBbig

Gold standard: because man can not be trusted to control his greed

The truth of the matter is we have a population problem.....

and any politician that said anything about it would not be popular for one day. So, governments world-wide will cull their populations quietly through GMO food rather than wars, although wars are not off the table due to their profitability.

Diseases are nature's way of culling populations but too risky for powers-that-be because they may not be able to protect themselves from a disease.

We need to start addressing our over-population problem. At least start discussing it, however, I've lived long enough to realize the least responsible, educated and selfish humans breed the most.

Population Problem!

Did you know that you could take every man, woman and child on this earth and give them a house with a garage and small yard in the state of Texas?

Why don't you volunteer to be the first to be officially depopulated?
or you could just move to where it's not so populated, so you won't have to commit suicide. Personally, I'll take a little piece of land in Arizona over death, any day!

buddy

Are there any

American scientists or medical professionals that have gotten behind this study yet?

"Once you become knowledgeable, you have an obligation to do something about it."- Ron Paul

Dr. Mercola

.. of Mercola.com is one of the biggest financial supporters of California Proposition 37 - and endorses the study. He's not alone.

It's only a matter of time before this reaches the tipping point, and it becomes "common knowledge" enough that the shtf on the GMO's.

I can't imagine average people and the medical industry remaining that ignorant and passive on this issue for much longer. (on fiat currency / the Fed, war for profit etc sure ... but not the food)

They are too scared

to go up against Monsanto.

-Jacky
TX