Your Views for March 9

GMO registration

The John Doe who has filed suit against having to comply with the registration process required by Bill 113 for GMO “farmers,” his attorney Margery Bronster and the Papaya farmers industry, have been accusing those of us who opposed their nonsustainable, polluting practices as potential vandals. This is based on two past instances of papaya fields (of the same grower) being vandalized.

There are two theories based on motivation. One is that the perpetrator is another competitor papaya farmer or someone known to the grower with a personal vendetta. The other is that the vandals are anti-GMO ecoterrorists. But the vandals have never been caught and therefore no one has been brought to trial.

Yet, the propaganda disseminated by the above individuals now brands the vandals as anti-GMO without any proof, and claims that revealing the locations of the papaya fields in the registration would alert these ecoterrorists, thereby creating more vandalism and hardship for these papaya growers. The personal motivation has been lost in the shuffle because, of course, it doesn’t serve their agenda and also because, probably, it doesn’t exist.

These are specious arguments for more than one reason:

1. Everyone in Puna already knows where the papaya fields are because they are large acreage and highly visible. And they are transgenic papaya, because farmers can no longer plant non-GMO papayas without cross-contamination.

2. So, why have none of those fields been vandalized except the ones belonging to one individual?

3. There are many hundreds of GMO protesters, but both instances of vandalism used exactly the same method of tree killing: machetes. This is not the sort of tool that everyone would use to do the job. A tree could be girdled or poisoned without creating the noise that might alert detection. The fact that both times the modus operandi was the same speaks to a single group of vandals who focus on one grower.

4. One of the arguments against Bill 113 and all GMO labeling bills, has been that if it were labelled that would give GMOs a bad name. Wake up! It already has a bad name, and for good reason. And that is why there is such a public outcry INTERNATIONALLY.

5. Curtis Beck’s letter to the editor (Tribune-Herald, March 6) claims that organic farmers are not required to register as are GMO farmers, and claims that this is unequal treatment. But organic farmers have to undergo stringent certification requirements and ARE registered federally. So, his claim has no factual merit. To the contrary, since organic growers have to be certified/registered, so should GMO growers — that would be equal.

6. I want to know if one of my neighbors is growing a GM food crop. Not so that I can sneak over in the dead of night with a machete fueled by righteous indignation, but so that I can avoid growing any crops that could be cross-contaminated by his farming practices. This is the same kind of right-to-know as wanting foods to be labelled. I do not want that information on the labels so that I can stomp through supermarket aisles sweeping to the floor the products that don’t meet my standards (crash! bang boom!). Likewise, wanting to know where GM crops are being grown is so that I can protect myself and my farm from GM pollen and intensive herbicide use. My organic produce does not harm anyone else’s agricultural activities. Why is it deemed OK that GM can freely cause harm and be given free rein?

7. Then, there is the claim that there have been no studies to show that GMO foods are unsafe. In the U.S., who would fund such a study? Monsanto? Syngenta? Dow Chemical? No long-term-effects studies have been done in this country, to my knowledge, by any researcher without a previous bias. The few studies that manage to get funded by alternative foundations or in other countries are clearly showing that there are serious health problems associated with the GMO industry. Our mainstream press does not report these. Surprised?

John-Doe-transgenic-papaya-grower doesn’t want to obey the law like the 100 others who have already registered. I hope he loses this lawsuit and loses a lot of money in the process. He deserves it. I can’t grow organic papayas because of him and his ilk.

René Siracusa



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