Is me again, from Brazil. Now we are facing the danger of having our
food modified by powerful (mostly) American technobiological companies.
Our media is dedicated to convince the Brazilian population that this move
will be of their interest, that will increase the nutritional qualities
of normal food, and even will have medicinal advantages. As I believe that
natural food has already all the nutritional and medicinal qualities we
need, I am trying my best to make people aware about what is in danger
for ourselves, nature and our posterous. So I wrote a text about transgenics
that I am distributing over the internet, in Portuguese and also translated
into English, which translation I would like to present to you, so you
can feedback my reasons (and send suggestions about my English text, if
Thank you very much, Joaquim
The English version of the text may be read here:
or here down:
Transgenic food and human rights
Finally, has the nazism won?
by Joaquim Moura - Brasília, Brazil
Global warming, ozone layer hole, desertification, poverty
and violence exploding, super bacteria and exotic viruses, end of oil and
the civilization based on it, and now, to exasperate the difficulties that
our descendants will face, genetically adulterated food.
Genetically modified food is in the
center of a debate badly conducted, though decisive for our future.
For it, are the “biotechnology" industry (I prefer to say “technobiology”)
supported by who shares the same commercial interests and professional
expectations. Against it, the consumer associations, environmental organizations,
human rights groups, and millions of people that around the world start
to react to against the changing of their alimentation. Although the main
reason that led the technobiology industry to develop transgenic seeds
had been the perspective of increasing profits, the reasons they allege
are well more refined and altruistic. But they may be easily refuted, as
I will show below:
The highest productivity reason. Actually,
many researches found that there is not a noticeable gain; what there is
a lot is publicity. Conventional crops, if well managed - even by organic
or ecological methods - can be more productive than the average transgenic
yield. And they don't demand the farmer to buy new seed, every year, as
the transgenic do - they are even patented. Besides, how can we talk about
productivity increase when the final product is not the same vegetal originally
considered? Modified food is a counterfeit only viable in a society that
consider silicone breasts and buttocks so appreciable as the natural ones.
The reduction of agrochemicals reason.
Actually, what reduces or - to be true, eliminates - the use of agrochemicals
is the organic, ecological and natural agriculture, also known, for decades,
as biological agriculture. I am stressing this fact because the technobiology
industry are suggesting that they are truly BIOlogic, as we perceive from
their vocabulary: biotechnology, biosecurity, BIO (Biotechnology Industry
Organization), and even bionourishing – as I recently learned from a Monsanto
high executive in Brazil. Actually, today there are two main transgenic
crops in the world. corn - genetically modified to become poisonous to
butterflies and worms, - reducing the usage of wormcides -, and soybean
- modified to become resistant to herbicides (produced by the same industries
that produce the transgenic soy seeds) so powerful that eliminate all the
vegetal beings in the area, except those modified to become immune to them.
The quantity of herbicides used is reduced, but its intensity (and toxicity)
is increased. As transgenic food is just one more extravagance from modern
industrial agriculture, completely dependent of the oil industry, the heavy
usage of chemical fertilizers and insecticides, fungicides, together with
the mentioned herbicides. Such an agriculture is not sustainable and will
lead to the death of the soils, the contamination of waters and food, and
harms its consumers’ health.
The international competition reason.
pro-transgenics allege that if Brazil doesn't adopt the “bioagriculture”
now, its products will become more expensive than the transgenics offered
(at increasingly devalued prices) by other commodity exporter countries
as the USA, Canada and Argentina, mainly. Actually, regardless as
cheap the producers decide to sell their produce, the resistance against
them is still rampant in the importer countries (Europe, Japan, Taiwan
etc.). And this resistance is ever fed when a phenomenon as the mad cow
disease or the contamination, by transgenic corn approved only for animal
consumption, of bread, tacos and morning cereals sold to people in the
US, Japan and Europe. The judicial order that is, today, protecting the
Brazilian population from eating modified food (the judge listened to a
demand coming from the Brazilian Consumer Defense Institute) is already
being very useful for our country, because the European and Asiatic rich
countries are perceiving that the Brazilian crops are GMO free, authentic
and normal food, and are inclined to pay more to assure the quality of
their nourishment. More, as Brazil did not adopt - for lack of money -
the “modern” productive raising methods (as giving meat to herbivorous
cattle), we are not living the mad cow disease nightmare.
The scientific advance reason.
the "scientific advances" can lead us toward any direction, some according
the public interest, other harmful to humanity and nature. We are not questioning
against the genetic research, but we should be very cautious about its
commercial exploration and radically against its spread. We cannot
accept that the proteins of our food be modified, for this means, at the
long range, that also we will be modified, with unknown consequences, more
likely to be deleterious. We should be doing exactly the contrary to improve
the biologic quality of the human populations nourishment, to better their
health and their lives. It is very sad to listen to government high authorities
stating "we cannot fail regarding this new technology as we did related
to computer science", without perceiving that "we are not machines, people
The hunger mitigation reason. Actually,
the hunger in the world doesn't come from the shortage of food, but from
the lack of access to money to buy food or to the means to produce
it. Do they really want to reduce the poor's hunger? Then they should support
the poor communities to learn and do urban agriculture, to recycle their
organic garbage into high quality humus, to cultivate their health through
healthy nourishment (95% vegetarian). And please, actively support to the
Brazilian agrarian reform and the small farmers who produce most the food
we eat. And more: always demand whole cereals, not refined and impoverish
of their vitamins, proteins and fibers. We don't need “genetically enriched"
food – stop impoverishing it would be enough.
The unavoidable risks reason. Actually,
the people for transgenics sophisticate when they compare the risks brought
by these products with the risks brought by the consumption of medicine
drugs (with their collateral effects), or even by the usage of airplanes.
They forget that only who needs (or desires) a medication or a travel will
take it - while everybody needs to eat, everyday. It is obvious that to
change our nourishment will affect the entire population, and our descendants.
Health and environment hazards
Also, the for transgenic people try to
deny the reasons for precaution regarding the GMO, indicated by their opponents.
About the risks to health, they allege that, up to now, no health problems
were detected among the billions of people who already eating modified
food, in the countries that have allowed its commerce. But such an argument
is ridiculous, if we consider that this consumption is very recent (about
six years) to reveal the effects that will show up after its continuous,
increasing, generalized and recombined usage, for some generations. Besides,
there are already many cases of allergy being reported, and some few thousand
sues in the USA, sued by people who felt bad after eating StarLink transgenic
corn, only approved for animal consumption but recently found in many products
for human consumption, sold in the USA and exported to Europe and Asia.
And allergy is not only coughing, scratching or a reddish skin - it can
cause diarrhea, anaphylactic shock, and even death. Stay alert.
Also the risks against
the natural environment, always minimized by the "bioagriculture" promoters,
are already being verified, revealing as unavoidable the "genetic pollution"
of our environment. Before, we were afraid of the extinction of species;
today we are scared about the introduction of new ones, which did not pass
through the natural process that has eliminated what could be specially
harmful for ourselves. Imagine if the "corn"'s toxicity that kills
worms - it comes from introducing, into the corn, a gen. extracted from
a bacterium poisonous to worms - transfer to other plants, related or not
to corn? Well, this possibility (and who could impeach a gene to migrate)
was already verified in the USA and in Europe.
It is important to
adopt here the "precaution principle" as defined by the scientists concerned
about the dangers some technologies (nuclear or genetic, for example) create
for the populations. For such technologies and their products, we cannot
use the same principle we use for people: “everybody is innocent until
proven guilty", but the opposite: the producers must demonstrate that their
dangerous products are harmless for humanity at the long range. Of course
nobody is able to demonstrate the innocuity of GM food; instead, we may
presume that the degenerative diseases, the social violence and the environmental
chaos will rise even more.
What you eat you are
But what impress me
more, in this debate, is the fact that we shall fight against enterprises,
academic institutions and governmental officers who don't care about the
long range deep impact over our descendants, which will result from the
aleatory changes of our food's proteins, from which our bodies are made.
Today is just the soybean and corn, but "they" are already researching
to modify rice, beans, wheat, lettuce, carrot, papaya, mango, potato and
animals. Please imagine this trend for 10, 20 or 50 years of "bionourishing":
nobody will know what to eat... Humanity already shows many signs of biologic
decadence, of immunology deficiency, of susceptibility to degenerative
diseases, of brutalization, and, more lately, imbecilization. To abandon
the normal food, provided by nature, for others conceived by very diverse
interests, will foster the current decaying process – individual and socially
– and increase the uncertainty about the efficacy of any programming designed
to reduce it.
Our governmental leaders
and the media state that the future is transgenic, that there is nothing
we can do about this inexorability. They bomb us with fake facts about
"the book of life at least deciphered", the end of the diseases, and even
about immortality. But what we see is the reduction, in the USA, of the
area sown with transgenic seeds, due to the increasing resistance in the
importer countries and even in the internal market. In Europe and Asia,
the regulation becomes even harder, including demanding very clear labeling
when there are modified ingredients. And once identified as transgenic,
the produce is rejected by the consumers. It is not being a good business,
for the companies and their investors, to apply resources in products that
nobody wants or needs.
Anyway, lets stay alert.
The Brazilian government and the technobiology enterprises are restless.
Recently (December 28, 2001 - between Christmas and New Year, to reduce
its visibility), the president Fernando H. Cardoso has issued a "provisional
measure" increasing the autonomy of the official agency to permit the cultivation
and the commerce of GM food in Brazil, without hear the environmental and
public health agencies, which now are stooping the bioalteration of our
aliments. It is amazing how a govern that states its commitment against
violence and for the human rights (and fill the prisons with users and
dealers of illicit drugs), wants push over us - all of us - this technofilth.
Joaquim Moura, publisher of the Happy Newspaper, is ecologist, urban
farmer and 95% vegetarian since 1975.
firstname.lastname@example.org - http://www.geocities.com/jmbmoura/cultmil2.htm