The Seed Police
In Barry Smith’s book
"Second Warning" he became one of
the first to ‘blow the whistle’ and warn the people
that bills had been passed in the western world making it legal
for plant breeders to hybridise or emasculate seeds, which would
cause them to give one good season of growth only. This is known
as "Terminator" technology. New Zealand passed this legislation
in the early 1970’s and Australia in 1987. This was known
as Plant Variety (or Breeders) Rights. This was to turn out to be
the Pandora’s Box of genetic engineering.
This development flew in the face of the west’s
Christian heritage and God’s intention that every seed
would yield after its own kind as an automatic process (see
Genesis 1:11 & Genesis 1:29).
These intellectual property rights and the genetic engineering
of seeds has led to a struggle which has turned the major
producers into "Seed Police." Monsanto is in the vanguard of such
companies, suing various people on a world-wide basis.
On January 13th 2005, it was reported that Monsanto’s
"Seed Police" snared soy farmer H McFarling, and is demanding he
pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for technology piracy. He
saved seed from one harvest, and replanted the following season,
a revered and very biblical practice.
In 1998, angry farmers burned Monsanto-owned fields in
Karnataka, India, starting a nationwide "Cremate Monsanto"
campaign. The campaign demanded that biotech corporations like
Monsanto, Novartis, and Pioneer leave the country. Farmers
particularly targeted Monsanto because its field trials of the
‘terminator gene’ - designed to prevent plants from
producing seeds and so to make farmers buy new seed each year -
created the danger of ‘genetic pollution’ that would
sterilize other crops in the area.
In recent years, farmers across the world have echoed the
Indian farmer’s resistance to the biotech giants. In
Brazil, the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) set out to
stop Monsanto soybeans, vowing to destroy any genetically
engineered crops planted in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
Meanwhile, last September more than 1,000 local farmers joined a
"Long March for Biodiversity" across Thailand. In 1998, Monsanto
surprised Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser by suing him for
doing what he has always done and, indeed, what farmers have done
for millennia - save seeds for the next planting.
In recent years, Monsanto has spent over $8.5 billion
acquiring seed and biotech companies, together with the patent
5,723,765 which is the Terminator patent. DuPont spent over $9.4
billion to acquire Pioneer Hi- Bred, the world’s largest
seed company. Seed is the most important link in the food chain.
Over 1.4 billion people - primarily poor farmers - depend on
farm-saved seed for their livelihoods. While the "Seed Police"
have not yet gone after farmers in the Third World, it is
probably only a matter of time.
The world hasn’t learned. The Irish potato famine in
1845 caused 1 million people to die from starvation and disease.
The Iowa corn blight in 1970 saw millions of plants, more than
50% of the yield in Iowa, killed by leaf blight. Why? Because in
both cases there was overriding conformity. The seeds from both
crops were from a single genetic strain.
Added to that it turns out that the damage done to DNA due to
the process of creating a genetically modified organism is far
more extensive than previously thought. GM crops routinely create
unintended proteins, alter existing protein levels or even change
the components and shape of the protein that is created by the
inserted gene. Kirk’s concerns about a GM crop producing a
harmful misfolded protein remain well-founded, and have been
echoed by scientists as one of the many possible dangers that are
not being evaluated by the biotech industry’s superficial
GM cotton has provided ample reports of unpredicted
side-effects. In April 2006, more than 70 Indian shepherds
reported that 25% of their herds died within 5-7 days of
continuous grazing on "Bt" cotton plants. Hundreds of Indian
agricultural laborers reported allergic reactions from "Bt"
cotton. Some cotton harvesters have been hospitalized and many
laborers in cotton gin factories take antihistamines each day
Now we have Frankenstein seeds. Scientists have begun putting
human genes into food crops. In the first trial, Japanese
researchers have inserted a gene from the human liver into rice
to enable it to digest pesticides and industrial chemicals.
Environmentalists say no-one will want to eat the partially
humanderived food because it smacks of cannibalism. On past
record, that wont stop the "Seed Police" having this delicacy
coming your way soon!
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