"Life running out of control"
95 Minuten Text – English
Most people around here when you think of a farmer it isn’t like the children’s faible Old Mc Donald had a farm – and had chicken and pigs and cows. That is not the way farming is any more. It is strictly a business, and you have to adapt and change and Biotechnology is gonna play a huge role into the future and my ability to stay here and make a living.
And now you got companies that are putting foreign genes in animals and fish that are changing the crops of the world fundamentally at the genetic level and polluting the planet with this genetic pollution. And once again: only a few scientists, corperation and government regulators are making decision, there is no democratic decision making. These technologies are legislation. They gonna factoralize more than any law passed by any legislator around the world.
Seeds are the first link in the food chain and food has always been used as a weapon by those who would like to have the ultimate weapon in their hand. But even more fundamental than food is controlling the beginning of the food supply which is the seed itself.
That is the reason you have the most powerful country of the world, the US, and its corporations like Monsanto, like Delta and Pine playing with things like ”terminator seeds”. It is an attempt to control the world, it is part of controlling the world by terminating its freedom to evolve in its own majesties and its own power.
We are concerned about what we call genetic pollution. And we are concerned about making everybody understand that genetic pollution is something total different from the chemical pollutions, we have been stupid enough to initiate of the past 50 years or so because chemicals never replicate themselves. Even a huge chemical pollution will over time get smaller while for DNA it may be the other way up around because DNA is self replicating in principle.
So a small pollution may replicate itself to become a huge pollution.
So how much more Canola we got here Martin! That sprouted.
I stepped over some.
See there is a couple!
But see if you put in another couple and out into moisture…
So I am organic, certified organic. The wife and I we switched, we have been certified for since 2000 and it's been doing very well for us, I mean the certification is probably -switching to organic farming now is probably what has saved our farm, over conventionally if we have been conventional farming we wouldn't be here anymore.
This is all Canola and look it is thicker in the lawn as you get to the edge of the field. It just shows the amount of the seed that has been blowen by the wind.
Here is the pure evidence of what can happen in a situation like ours. Here is the plant that blew across. The plant is all shelled out you see there is no parts left on this plant, but look at the crop that is growing here. And this a crop that was not seeded. It blew in, it blew in here in September as Martin explained it, and now it is germinated - it is a full blown healthy GMO Canola plant growing on organic land.
We had a strong wind, in the whole land kind like cut into swats and lying out there and when the wind comes up, it just picked the whole plant up and blew it over here into my field. And what I was trying to get them to do was confirm them that it was their product. And get it picked off, so that the seeds wouldn't be left on my property, but it now that it’s still here, like you see, a big junk of the seeds are already shelled out and lying on the ground.
You can see when I blew on them how light they are, they just, see how they move!? Just like that, so the wind blows them in every which way.
As spring run-off comes, some of this parts, this one here is shelled out too, but some of these plants still have parts on, those seeds will drift you in the winter and carry. They can go a half mile, they can go a mile.
This is my live here, on the line right now. Switching to organic saved me, now I am back in the commercial market again unless something, you know… and it is my liveline that is on the line.
In the early 90s the chemical multi Monsanto began developing genetic technology for plants. It made useful plants, such as canola and soya, resistant to the company’s own pesticide Roundup. Roundup kills every plant, without exception. Only the organically modified canola survives. In this way, Monsanto sells the farmers not only the patented seeds but also the chemicals to match.
Round up Spray is the most frequently sold pesticide in the world.
However, there are also farmers who have had dealings with Monsanto against their own will. Probably the most famous one is Percy Schmeiser from Canada.
There was one other reason too, that we stood up to Monsanto was the fact that they had destroyed what my wife and I had developed over 50 years of research and development. Canola seeds have the resistance to the various diseases that we have in the prairies. They destroyed what we developed. And I am sure that if I would do that Monsanto I would be thrown in jail and but they can come on to a Farmer or pollute and contaminate a farmers field and destroy what he has worked on and get a law suite in top of it.
Percy Schmeiser operates a 650-hectare farm- which his grandparents, immigrants from Bavaria and Austria, cultivated 100 years ago.
In 1996 Monsanto introduced its genetically modified canola to Canada. A heavy storm during harvest time blew it on to Percy Schmeiser`s field.
In August 1998 he was sued for illegally cultivating patented seeds from Monsanto.
Two courts sentenced him to pay damages to Monsanto of roughly 100.000 dollar but, refusing to be intimidated by the chemical giant, he took the case as far as the Canadian Supreme Court. The court made a distinction: on the one hand- as the court made expressly clear- Schmeiser had infringed Monsanto`s patent, because he had actively cultivated RoundUpReady Canola and was thus no longer an impartial onlooker. On the other hand, the court decided that Schmeiser did not have to pay damages to Monsanto because he had not enriched himself by means of the genetic canola in his grain. Percy Schmeiser is now contemplating a counter-suit against the global group instead on the grounds of environmental contamination, destruction of seeds and defamation of character.
International environmental organisations are competing to gain Percy Schmeiser as a speaker to warn farmers in the US, in Europe and also in the so-called Third World about chemical multis.
In the last two years alone he has visited over 40 countries.
In 1996 when GMO Canola was introduced, we didn't have anybody to come and tell us what could happen or may happen, but now people from around the world do know from our experiences what is happen: contamination, los s of bio diversity, loss of our pure seeds and choice taken away, so we now know what can happen because of our experience with soy beans and GMO Canola. And we know also what would happen also with GMO wheat. And that is why other people in around the world can benefit from our experience, we don't have no choice left, our choice is gone.
But the people in many parts of the world still have a choice.
Globalisation has enabled the multis to gain control over seeds in the so-called Third World.
The Asian market is to be developed with genetically modified cotton.
However, the chemical corporations are meeting with unexpected resistance.
The second way in which biodiversity of our seeds, our medicinal plants, our other useful species is taking place is to genetic engineering. And genetic engineering is a false promise who’s high price has already been paid by the farmers of this country. Multinationals have grabbed the seed economy which used to be a farmer’s economy, which used to be a women’s economy, and now are bringing unreliable, untested seeds to the market, pushing our farmers to suicide. We happen to be sitting in the middle of all the seed industry shops, right here, Monsanto on this side and Syngenta shops on that side, the next lane, it’s all selling seeds of suicide.
Vandana Shiva, with a PhD in physics and winner of the aletrnative noble prize, has dedicated herself to small Indian farmers and the preservation of biodiversity for almost 20 years.
In the meantime, she has become a formidable and loathed opponent of internationally operating agro-chemical groups such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Conagra, Cargill, Bayer and others.
Cotton farmers from central India are demonstrating angrily in front of the branch offices of large multinational agro-chemical groups.
Many of them are on the verge of ruin due to BT cotton, genetically modified cotton from Monsanto, first approved in 2002, which rendered them a disastrous crop.
Just as with the introduction of chemicals in farming, they now fear they will run into debt, the only escape from which is suicide. In the last few years thousands of famers have committed suicide! Others try depeately to pay off their depts by selling a kidney.
The US corporation Monsanto that had acquired the old-established Indian seed company Mahyco promised that the new, genetically modified cotton plants would produce higher yields and ensure better quality.
Thanks to gene manipulation, the use of pesticides could be reduced as the plants produced their own insecticide.
Expecting higher crop yields the farmers were persuaded to purchase Monsanto seeds at quadruple the price.
They took out loans with banks and seed dealers at enormously high interest rates.
Yet the anticipated bumper crop failed to materialise. Diseases and insect-ridden plants forced the farmers to use more of the expensive chemicals. Their expenditures rose, driving their bank debts higher at the same time.
This had been mentioned by the video cassettes distributed freely all over India promoting Monanto`s GM cotton, the Bollgard cotton they only promised the farmers happiness and prosperity.
Advertisement by Mahyco / Monsanto
Bollgard brought us luck
Bollgard is strong enough to kill all the caterpillars
With all the caterpillars dead, we save a lot of money
The plants have all sorts of diseases like trips, hifields and gesits.
We are not going to get cotton from these balls. We see many balls which are falling down before it becomes cotton.The price is 1600 rupies, the conventional seed costs 350 to 400 Rupees.
Advertisement by Mahyco / Monsanto 2
Advertisement by Mahyco / Monsanto
With Bollgard you hardly need any pesticides
Listen, brother, and use your common sense
With Bollgard you hardly need any pesticides
Listen, brother, and use your common sense
Genetic engineering of seeds and plants is different from conventional breeding because in conventional breeding a whole plant is bread with a whole plant of that species. Rice is bread with rice, corn is bread with corn, chicken is bread with Chicken.
In Gentetic engineering when you take a gene from a totally unrelated organism and you put it into a plant or seed, the genes could be from bacteria, they could be from human beings, they could be from fish from chicken.
And the 2 ways in which so far genetic engineering can put this alien exotic unrelated genes into a plant is one is by a technology called the gene gun, where in blindness a gene is fired into the cells of an organism the second technology is creating an infection through a cancer through a plant cancer called agro-bacterium.
The farmers we have taken to this BT-cotton farming never knew that they are cultivating a croft which is a combination of genes from animals and plants. Neither the company nor the government told about this to the farmers.
This a bollworm, an attack of bollworm. What the company claims that this variety is resistant to bollworm.
This is a bollworm in the ”Bollgard”-cotton.
He owes money to the bank, they will not give him any rupies in the future. He has two options. One is to sell away a part of his property and clear the debts or consume poison and commit suicide.
He has two alternatives: either commit suicide or repay by selling away a disposing property.
today they don’t have to pretend, they are solving the problem of the hunger. Today they are out to get the big market and the saddest thing to me is that every failure from the perspective of a poor peasent, and a small farmer in this country is not a failure from the perspective of these companies.
I in fact travelled with one of them about two decades ago and they said to us ”it doesn’t matter, if the crops don’t do, it’s alright they will come back for more of our seeds”.
The farmer gets wiped out, the land gets wiped out, the companies markets grow and that I think is the real tragedy of genetic engineering. That the failure of agriculture is the market success for the corporations.
An interview with Mahyco Monsanto India on the topic of crop yields did not take place. The speaker for Monsanto Europe mailed the following statement: "We emphatically repudiate any current allegation to the effect that, in particular, genetically modified cotton grades have caused bad harvests, assessing this to be a failture of technology in India."
Any further interviews with Monsanto Europe and America were refused by headquarters.
Genetic Engineering is part of a total controlled system over our food and our agriculture. At this point not a single crop that has been brought from them has improved the situation of farmers or the nutritional situation of the people who are hungry or of consumers who can choose the best food they want.
If these tendencies continue not only is it going to be the total wiping out of millions of farmers and farming and agriculture is the lifelihood of the majority of humanity even now - but the wiping out of farmers will also be the wiping out of our future food security because 5 companies might for 4 years or 5 years grab control over our food and agriculture but relentless experimentation with the planets biodiversity with our food system with agriculture production with ignorance and irresponsibility ensures that our food situation for all of humanity is imperil.
These are yellow peas these are destine for the eatable market, we gonna split these and gonna go in probably into the Indian Market, Pakistan, you know these are dry pea they will be their protein source. That should be in the markets of India within about two to three months.
If all the areas of the world were self-sufficient, and Canada being a very small country, I would be out of business, we export 90 % of everything that we grow, it ends up in a foreign market, like all the products that I grow on my farm.
We have started growing genetically modified crops we are one of the very first people to grow them, in 1996 we were offered to grow some Roundup-Ready- Canola for the first time and we heard about it from the previous years and we couldn't wait to be quite honest to get our hands on it because of what we thought of the potential what that could do for our borttom line and what it can do for us helping us to reduce our costs as well as to reduce the amount of falls and fuels that we were burning on our farm. And ever since then we have growing up in this first year we grew very small acres of genetically engineered Canola and today we grow 100 % of our acres. We crop dry land farm in central Saskatchewan that is around 16.500 acres of which we grow between 4 and 5.000 acres of genetically engineered Canola every year.
The big advantage is for me, for using GM, is first of all for using genetically inhanced crops, it is number one the cost factor I feel, that we are getting more return per acre but it is also a benefit that I am protecting the environment and we feel that we are over time - going to be reducing the amount of pesticides that we have to use, that we are using more efficient herbicides that can take off the weeds quicker . And it has been working in the few years that we have been doing it we have been definately seeing a reduction in our weed pressure.
And therefore we are starting to use less herbizides in order to control weeds.
Farming is kind as like an art form as well. I fell like I am an artist when I am out on my field. You do things creatively, you innovate it is not just growing food it is enjoying the type of occupation, it is understanding the soil, understanding the wild life, understanding the importance of protecting everything that you do, that is why we adopted as a model for our farm, holistic stewardship for abundant life. The stewardship aspect is that you respect the rights of your fellow men, and how best to do that but provide your fellow men with some healthy food.
Not contaminated food, not something that is questionable.
Our law suite by Saskatechwan organic farmers of which we are aproxemately 1.000, perdomenatly the law suite is about compensation because of the contamination with GM Canola. We have people in our group that have had crops contaminated, Canola crops in 1999 and 2000 for example, and were not able to sell their crop because the laboratories detected GM genes, Rondup-ready genes , or liberty-link genes from the company Aventis at that time present in the organic farmers Canola crop. We can no longer grow organic Canola because there is an important enough quantity of GM Canola – maybe 55 or 60% of all Canola in Saskatchewan is genetically modified Canola.
What we have here is a plant of Roundup-ready Canola, this is one of Monsanto's Canola, GM Canola plants, it was grown by my neighbour in the field on the other side of this road, and because we are certified organic we need a buffer zone on between our neighbours and ourselves, this road and the grass area serves as gentement buffer zone.
But with the wind at harvest time, plants like this have blown over the road, and I have to demonstrate to my certification agency that I am taking all measures possible to make sure that all plants and seeds are removed from the field. And that is why I am collecting this and documenting it and taking pictures of it, and taking video of it and I let our lawyer know, because this is going to be used as part of our law suite against Monsanto. To demonstrate that we have had contamination since 1996 when they introduced Roundup-.
Ready Canola in Saskatchewan.
When it comes to the question of liability – who is responsible for having this contamination by GM Canola – it is undoubtedly Monsanto. And one of the points that we will make with our law suit that is very important is that we are accusing Monsato and Aventis, which is now Bayer, of being negligent. For being negligent because they did not tell farmers like my neighbour that if they use this patented GM Canola, that there is a risk, that it will contaminate neighbouring fields. But this was never explained to those farmers. And it is very interesting to note that in countries like England, large insurance companies are refusing to ensure, if GM crops are grown. And I think that is wonderful.
An example of how strong the wind is, and how consistent , is that this flag which has been maybe 6 months flying, there is about one quarter of the flag, the entire red area of the flag is missing. The wind is very strong, it flaps and it tears the material. So it is an example of what happens with material in the fields, the Canola plants blow very easily and so I would want to show you this example .
The whole issue now of any introducion more, any more introduction of GMO should be stopped immediately. Because we have seen what has happened with the introducion of GMO Canola and GMO soj beans how it has destroyed the indigenous seeds of pure seeds we no longer have any pure Canola seeds or soy bean seeds left in Canada it is all now contaminated.
Monsanto always said with GMOs they would now be able to feed a hungry world. We don't need the Monsantos of the world to feed or produce food. And if you look back at Monsanto's history: to me it has been a history of deceate and of not telling the truth, when Monsanto and other companies said PCBs were save, DDT were save, Agent Orange were save, Asportain were save and after a few years everybody found out the dangers of PCBs and DDT. And now we have the same company telling us that GMOs are save.
For years Vandana Shiva has observed the threat to biological diversity stemming from the policies of multinational seed and chemical giants. This gave her the impetus to purchase with private funds a piece of land at the foot of the Himalayas in northern India and to found NAVDANYA, an experimental farm. Without using any chemicals, only with organic, sustainable farming, she collects, breeds and preserves old seeds which have been displaced from the fields since the introduction of the monotone chemical argiculture in the 50ies and 60ies.
In January of 2002, the new scientists announced a new miracle for India. Scientists in India, along with companies of course, had worked on the potato. They wanted to solve the protein problem by putting genes from this plant, the amaranth, which is very very rich in protein, the green amaranth has about 11mg for 100g, take the genes for protein from this plant and put it into the potato.
And the potatoe that will be genetically engineered with genes from Amaranth is actually going to leave you with nutritual scarcity because you’ll have got rid of the calcium producing content of amaranth, you’ll have got rid of the fiber of amaranth, you’ll have got rid of the iron in amaranth, you’ll have got rid of the taste of amaranth – you’ll have got rid of the amaranth.
You are writing in the creation of a genetically engineered potatoe with amaranth gene you are writing an extinction sentence for God’s own Grain
So one is the first is the very unethical imposition of patents on life which is to treat life as an invention of men.
WR Grace – of Neem.
A company called Rice tech – Basmati. And the list is very very long.
And anyone can say I have invented it. This is called patents on life.
The big trading nations Europe and America are trying to assign their patent thinking towards the Third World. That means, that naturally growing plants, like the Neem- Tree or economic plants cultivated for years such as Basmati rice are suddently the property of patent holders.
Thanks to Vandana Shiva some of these patents are being revoked after long and bitter law suits.
For me this engagement with Genetically Engineering and the corporations that are pushing genetic engineering without letting democratic safety systems evolve by extinguishing everything.
My passion for fighting really comes from the love for biodiversity.
To me there is nothing more beautiful than seeing hundreds of rice varieties, bean varieties of different colors- those gifts of nature – from the fact that the Indian peasent for me has been the embodiment of resilliance- of strength- of hope- and that is the soul of India.
And that is what is been assaulted by these corporations.
The heart and Soul of India is under assault.
And this struggle for the seed, for the freedom of our seeds and our farmers is to me the same as Gandhis struggle, the fight for truth.
This field my colleague Pridvi whose name literally means the earth is harvesting a rich crop of tumuric, haldi, which is critical to our food. Haldi or tumuric is an extremely strong natural anti-biotic. A few years ago, the anti-biotic use of this haldi was patented. And the patent said: You can buy the haldi in the kitchen-store, but it will belong to our patent, you will have to pay us. The reason they patented it was because anti-biotics are failing. Haldi is not failing us. We use it when we have infections, we use it in our cooking, so that every day it is protecting our health, it is a beautiful ayurvedic medicine, also a food. In Indian diet there is no division between food and medicine. It’s all one beautiful continuum. And we have other root crops here, the arbi which we use for wonderful vegetables, we have ginger. We have three varieties of the sacred basil, the tulsi, this too has been patented. We worship the tulsi, in our backyard, every home in India will have a tulsi pot. And when we worship we say: In you I will assume the cosmos recites and I will pay you reverence. To pay reverence to this amazing creation. We use the leaves in winter for coughs and colds. The tea from this mint tea, wonderful! This, too, has been patented. In fact, every third crop in our field, there is a patent sitting in an US-patent-offices. But for us, this is a freedom zone, we will keep these crops free for future generations.
And now with genetic engeneering when you see without much democratic decision making at all, a few scientists and companies are trying to change the genetic makeup the permanent genetic makeup of all living things, all those things that we love so dearly and change them forever in a way that we can never get back. I seems to me the only thing you could do is to fight this and to say these plants, these animals deserve their genetic integrety they are things of great beauty they are things that were made either through divine intervention or millenia and millions of years of evolution. We have no right for profit or for research to change them fundamentally. They deserved to be loved and protected. And that is why I do what I do.
As a lawyer and author Andrew Kimbrell battles his way through all the issues raised by the new genetic technology. Kimbrell heads the Center for Food Safety in Washington D.C. and endeavours espescially to educate and provide information to consumers.
This is an interesting slide, what we have here, in 1982 Dr. Ralph Brinster at University of Pennsylvania said, what if I can take the gene responsible for growth in human beings and put it into a mouse.
And he did just that.
He actually was successful as you can see the very large mouse here is the one that has been successfully engineered with human growth genes to make it huge and you see the sibling next to it and this make a huge fear it was on the front on these magazines New York Times, and a few months later people said, well, this is interesting, but what you gonna do with a really huge mouse?
I mean you can scare people there are a few things you can do but its not a very practiful thing to have a huge mouse.
So then what happened is the United State Department of agriculture said what happens if we use the same experiment but to use it with pigs.
And so I went out on the USDA here and this it what they did, they took the human growth gene Dr. Vernon Pursel with tax paired dollars - not many tax pairs knew this - actually took tax paired dollars and took human genes, growth genes and put it into this pig.
As you can see there is a problem instead of like the mouse that with the human genes that grew so big the genes the human growth genes worked differently in this pig it was cross-eyed bull-legged impotent, musculature had overwhelmed it and I can only photograph it against the plywood board here because it is the only way it could stand up.
And you can imagine the suffering and how terrible this was for this particular animal.
This is another experiment, what happened they were actually taking the skin of a cow and see if the could genetically have a pig produce that skin probably more beneficial for slaughtering that has a cow's skin. So this is literary a pig that has a cow's skin. Researchers were very proud of that.
One of the most important things to understand about genetic engineering is that it is really attempt to say listen no matter how unsustainable our technology is we are not gonna change the technology to fit the natural living systems we are gonna change living systems so they fit to the technology.
We honour how horrible factory farming is and one of the problems they have with egg laying chickens with hens that they have a mothering instinct- they wanna brute and here you see one of the brain experiments genetic engineered chickens to take out the mothering instinct from these brooding chickens so they won't brute anymore - they won't have the mothering instinct anymore.
So they fit the factory farm system. That is one of the cimera words they are working -to take away the mothering instinct so we don't chance our factory farm system we actually take the mothering instinct out of animals so that they will fit to technology.
Only research on fish made progress. Here scientists could put their knowledge into practise more quickly as the animals have shorter generation times and hundreds and thousands of eggs developed by themselves outside the mother.
A Canadian company by the name of Aqua Bounty is about to receive approval to market its genetically modified giant salmon.
It has developed a salmon that is six times longer than the same species living in the wild, yet needs only half the time to grow.
Aqua Bounty Farms is a small development stage researching development Stage Company we don't have product on the market yet.
But we are researching a variety of different applications of biotechnology to fish farming. We are pretty much the only company in the field today.
This is a picture of three related fish brothers and sisters that we developed this is a fish that inherit the transgene and these are its siblings that did not, this fish is about one year old and these fish are as well. And as you can see there is an incredible exhilaration in the early life stages these fish are just barely ready to go into salt water - this fish is almost ready to harvest after a year.
It is a technology that can not exist with nature it is a technology that invades, pollutes, contaminates and ultimately destroys the natural species.
And this fundamental there will be crops or fish or animals that is the fundamental nature of biological pollution it can not coexist it pervades and destroys. We need to understand that as we debate desission.
But the real key here is not the salmon the salmon is just the first product. What we are really interested in and what we are working on now back in the lab is a Tilapia and a Carp.
Which are really important fish in the Third World in China, In Africa for food security. We gonna have difficulties supplying an aquatic protein to people world wide and not just the high-end kind of products like Trout and Salmon but the really important products for food security like Tilapia and Carpe. And those what we are working on we should have those on the market by the end of the decade.
That is the real point of the whole matter. The focus is on conquering the huge market in southeastern Asia. Aqua Bounty Farms is getting ready to breed and sell eggs, manipulated with growth genes, in huge amounts.
The company conducts the scanty tests required for approval itself and no other – independent – scientists nor do consumers have insight into the approval process. It is confidential.
Occasional reports that the modified fish are more aggressive, suffer from internal as well as external deformities and die earlier – the same results reached in earlier experiments on pigs, cows and sheep – give due cause for skepticism.
At Purdue University in Indiana Bill Muir and Rick Howard are performing tests and doing pioneer research work to determine what actually happens when genetically modified fish, like those soon are introduced on the market and enter the food chain, mingle with wild fish.
For this purpose Rick Howard and Bill Muir developed a computer model in which they created a population of 60,000 wild fish, into which 60 transgenic fish penetrate. The more aggressive feeding and mating behaviour of the larger transgenic males led, in the most extreme case, to the extinction of the entire fish population after ca 40 generations, i.e. within a few years. They are now doing research in their experimental aquariums to find out if these scenarios can be confirmed in reality.
The research that we are doing here are in looking at the transgentic mating advantage and so forth is very unique, because we know no other lab in the world that is looking at the success of transgentic individuals and the wild type individuals.
Ways that transgenic organisms like fish can get into the environment in the first place would most likely be an accidental occurrance.
Whether they would be either an apoundment or fenced area in the oceans that the fish would escape from and then go into a natural populations. And very year thousands and thousands of fish escape from these types of situations. So it is a very common type of event. There is a storm off the coast of Maine a couple of years ago that destroyed some of the enclosures that Atlantic salmon were being farmed in and in that one storm 100 000 fish escaped so they can escape from these situations and they can escape in great numbers.
This fish if let loose to biological pollution in natural water will destroy the nativ fish. So it is important to say, once this biological extermination very different and chemical contamination. If you have an oil spin it will delure over the time, even the chemicals delure over the time. This is not chemical pollution this is about living pollution, biological pollution. Once these fish are released into a bay or a river you can not recall them, no science can say: "Come back, please! "You can't put a net and get them it is over, it is over. And in the United States we are jet to have our first law – we do not have a single law which regulates this kind of biological pollution. It is completely unregulated even though it is effects will be catastrophic and you will not be able to remedy those you will not be able to recall this.
There are certainly environmental hazards associated with transgenic animals and particular with fish because they can escape and they are free ranging after that- it is real hard to find one after they get out as the salmon farming industry has discovered on its own. In order to protect against the fish either colonising, new habitat or interbreeding with wild fish. What we are doing is developing a fish or production line of fish that will be sold will be sterile so that they can't reproduce and they will be all be female and the reason why they are all female is because sterile female salmon tend not to come back from the ocean they have no reason to come back to the rivers to spawn because they never mature so they stay out to sea they feed they live their lives and they die there.
One of the things I find so curios about the argument of the Biotechnology companies they often call themselves Life Sciences is that when you talk them about the environmental threats about all the other threats they say :
"Don’t worry, we are making genetically engineered fish sterile. Who is gonna make sure they are sterile by the way – who checks on this millions of fish being sterile is a ridiculous enforcement idea.
Don’t worry about the biological pollution of plants - we put a terminator technology in these plants – so they commit suicide after one growing season."
And I find it very strange that a company that calls it up Life sciences is telling us that their technology only will work if we make all life on earth sterile. What a terrifying concept.
If I was an engineer, and an engineer came to me saying that I invented a technology about life but the only problem is we have to sterilize all living things I would say go back to the drawing board you have a failed technology.
The so-called Terminator technology makes the farmers finally almost completly dependant - on the corporations. The plants are genetically modified in such a way that they are able to germinate only once. Sowing the harvest seeds is pointless. The harvest is dead.
Well, a Terminator plant or seed is that - when the seed of a plant reaches a certain age of maturity, just before it is total mature, the Terminator gene will kick in and will destroy the germination of that seed. Which means it can not be used for seed the following year. So you will have to go back, as a farmer, to buy seed the next year because the germination of that seed was killed by the Terminator gene.
When the Terminator gene, that plant – blossoms and the pollen flow from it, it will also get into other plants and kill other plants when those seeds almost reach to the stage of maturity. So it will not only affect the Terminator gene plant that it was put into. It will also affect other plants and kill them – or not kill them, the seed will become sterile.
Genetic engineering to some extend is a about 400 year old mistake.
A mistake which began with the karthesian revolution and this idea that life is a machine. Descartes said that basically animals are machines.
And the karthesians would vivisect cats and dogs and when they hear the screams- they said AHA, this is like the geers shifting in the machine that is what this noise is coming from.
It was a totally mechanistic vision.
And if you trace the last 400 years you can see there is been a certain part of the scientific community, by no means all, that is contuinuing this mechanistic myth – very dangerous myth.
So now they see the entire living world as simply machines, and genes as the software
That is why they believe in genetic engineering. They are engineering life as if they are engineering machines. Reductionist efficiency, exactly the same principles they are trying to reduce life to.
That is the fundamental mistake of genetic engineering.
In Tromsö, 400 km north of the Arctic Circle, Terje Traavik, one of the few scientists worldwide who is not on the industry payroll, is doing research on the effects of genetically modified food on the health of humans and animals.
When an organism like fish is eating genetically modified feed, then we don't know what happens when the next consumer comes in, the fish is eating genetic modified food you will eat the fish. To which extent the genetically modified food has changed the fish and to which extent is still genetically modified DNA present in the fish to which extent you will be exposed to this in the next instance. There is no experimental data to indicate what happens in a case like that.
We are now going into the experimental animal departments where we are doing feeding studies in rats with genetically modified ingredients food and DNA constructs.
So we are now opening a room where the rats are living they are very well fed, they have a good live here.
And here are our scientific helpers.
This is a very unique experiment in the sense that it is the first experiment we know where you have designed it so that you can detect any difference between these rat groups and then you can go backwards and find out what this difference means in terms of health for instance or in terms of malfunctions of the organs or what ever. The background for this is that many places in the world people and domestic animals are already eating genetically modified food or feed originating in genetically modified plants.
In addition to that the intended use in humans and domestic animals of course as you will know on its way from the soil onto the table or the animal house a lot of different species and animals will be in and consume all the genetically modified plants and we don't know anything about what effects this will have on any organism.
Now after the rats are sacrificed in the department of our experimental animals the organs had been frozen down at a very low temperature and then what we want to do is to analyse the organs and see whether our foreign DNA has arrived in those organs. And in what condition the DNA can be found there in the organs.
While in some experiments in a German group with mice this German group under which is led by Dr. Walter Dörfel in Cologne were demonstrating that some types of foreign DNA were not cleared from the organisms - from the mice organisms. It went to the internal organs and were even inserted into the DNA of the mice- if that is the case, if that happens then it may be the start of a highly unwanted process with regard to health.
It seems like a wide-scale experiment on humans in view of the fact that genetically modified food has been on the market for 8 years and has already been eaten by millions of Americans. However, it is an experiment that has been conducted without control groups. No knowledge can be gained as to whether and in what form our health is affected if one group eats genetically modified foods but a control group is lacking. The entire population is simply subjected to the same, potentially harmful substances.
A few scientists suspect that there might be a connection to the increase of chronic illnesses and the weakening of the immune system.
I was maybe one of the most vocalized proponents on genetic engeneering in Norway, at least until the late 1980ies. And what happened then was that we were using the transgenetic techniques a lot and you were so ethusiastic because you were thinking about all the potential benefits of genetic engeneering and you thought there is a revolution going on which will give a lot of advantages to menkind and I am part of that revolution. You felt very special and very bright. But then in my own experiments with transgenetic techniques I realised that if some of the things I observe here, which I consider very interesting for scientists, if this observations were made in the real ecosystems or in the real organisms that might really make great problems and in sometime ecological catastrophies or very, very alarming disease. But then as time went on I had to accept that this is being intended to be used as transgenic plants for instance in the real ecosystems and it is going to be used as food and feed for real animals and real humans. And then I had to start to use my knowledge to try to look whether the potential theoratical risks were real or not.
Unlike in Europe genetically modified grains such as canola, maize and soya still land on the dinner table in the USA without being recognized as such nor labeled.
The consumers have no opportunity, while shopping or eating out, to identify these foods.
Marc Franz – Farallon
I am into this boycott because to be a seafood restaurant in this time and age is saying something because we have been here for 6 years, we sell a hell a lot of fish, we do about 12 million dollars a year. So when we make a decision it affects a lot of things. And the decisions we make affect markets, we buy a lot of fish, so if we decide not to buy a particular fish and not to sell a fish that means a lot.
Larry Bain- Jardiniere
I think this really recognizes the fact that chefs and restaurant owners are gate keepers - their responsibility is to find out what is going on in the food world. It is very complicated especially in the United States where there are virtually no labelling was particularly around fish..
And consumers don’t have a lot of time, they are in a rush when they go to a grocery store, or when they come to a restaurant, they don’t want to read a long document and so it is our responsibility- as chefs and restaurare tourists to do the work to find out everything we can about the food- how it was raised, what is in it, what is not in it, whether it is healthy, whether it is good for the environment and then after we have screened all that, after we thought about that we select what will go on the menu, and very importantly what won’t go on the menu.
Larry Bain- Jardiniere
Transgenic fish are bread to grow faster, be stronger, and they have a tremendous advantage over the wild fish population.
We do not know what it might do to us or our children or our children’s children. And the government needs to become more active and at the very least label it, so we know what we are eating. It is just so unfair for people to work in ignorance, even so they care, even so they want to know- if the government does not cooperate we are all victims of big food.
Today we are learning the language in which god created life. We are gaining every more all more for the complexity, the beauty, the wonder of gods most divine and sacred gift.
It will revolutionize diagnosis, prevention and treatment of most if not all human diseases.
In coming years doctors increasingly will be able to cure diseases like Alzheimer, parkinsons, diabetes and cancer by attacking their genetic roots.
The components of life consist of 4 simple letters – C – T – G – A -.
In June 2000 the human genome was considered decoded, i.e. it was known at which position most of the 30,000 genes were located on the DNA.
However, the hope of decoding their function failed to materialise.
I like to think of the human genome in the context of the whole earth – here we have ice caps, its got some continents, like Africa, so where we all came from. And Europe.
And on this world there is a lot of things the one thing is there is about 3 billion human beings and about 6 billions actually. That's quite a bit of us. And how we work- who knows really how we work. They kind to think with their brains that much is pretty clear. But we need are better cells a lot of cells actually more cells then we are humans, there is about a hundred trillion cells. And a cell is actually a very complicated thing has little things on its surface that are certainly like the eyes and the ears for the cell and then it can make things and it put things out. This is wonderful. Pathway and the sense of things and alters it in the environment. But in a way the brain of the cell is in the nucleus and the nucleus is where the DNA is. And this is more than anything- where the cell makes decisions and decides how to grow and which way to grow.
In the year 2000 history was written here at the University of Santa Cruz in California.
Since the beginning of the 90s thousands of scientists worldwide had been collaborating on a joint, large-scale project, the "Human Genome Project”, to determine the number and position of the genes on the DNA.
A decisive role in decoding the human genome was played by the scientist Jim Kent.
I guess these days, the human genome it seems very big and in some ways it is very big. But at the same time actually Patrick was the first one who fitted it on to one CD-ROM. So it is really no bigger than a video game so it is not like it was built by hand and it says where this part does this and you know looking at it you couldn't figure out what this is. You know it looks like complete gibberage and so these computers are largely involved with trying to figure out what it does what part of your genome is responsible for your blue eyes what is responsible for your beard or your smell it turns out actually that quite a lot is developed to smell, you have maybe 5% of your genome is to smell good.
Let's go outside I`ll show you some of the redwoods.
In case you are interested this is why one of this machines looks like on the inside. Now, the great thing about it, is that it is really simple it is just a box with a motherboard - it's just like any other computer really you can go to any computer store and buy this parts. And you can plug
a monitor in here or you can plug a keyboard in here if you want to, we usually don't plug anything into them - but...
It is a multidiversal machine it can play video games and can assemble the human genome either one.
And, I would say we use them for both but we don't.
So this was the sciencific journal Nature where we first published the article about the human genome. It was a huge article. I think it must been a hundred or a thousand scientists working on it.
What we were trying to do is to make a map a very, very detailed map of the human genome, the human genome is made of 23 pairs of chromosomes and this is actually the biggest pair chromosome one and then along the chromosomes we showed all the genes that we knew existed at the time.
The ones in red are actually genes we know where sometimes they are broken will cause a disease.
Right here you can see all genes are coming up - this is really the heart of the immune system right here this is when people get AIDS that is the part that is broken and when you fight up a cold this is because of this part.
Well, lets see there is a lot of different stuff we can do with it. In some cases medically we find families of people that are suffering from a genetic disease very often we can trace it to a very specific part and we are not at the time to fix that genes this very often gives a hint what treatments maybe available work is proceding and relatively fast so I think at one day we will be able to go in there and actually fix a genome as well as read it. But in some ways I am not so much in a rush, because I want to understand it first before I start changing it, you know, I think that's a really good idea. Maybe it's just me.
The “Human Genome Diversity Project” came into existence as an offshoot of the “Human Genome Project”.
The basic idea was to gather genetic material worldwide from approximately 700 groups of people in danger of becoming extinct.
The project initiators assume that these people living in the most remote and isolated areas of the world have not interbred with other peoples.
Their genetic material would be very pure and unaltered and could provide research with a variety of information and knowledge.
Scientists are especially hoping for knowledge about the immune system in order to possibly find a cure for AIDS or cancer.
Staff members of universities embarked on a worldwide project to collect blood, saliva and hair samples from these endangered groups of people.
They were usually accompanied by employees of large pharmaceutical groups who, under the pretext of conducting screening tests, took unsolicited blood samples. These samples then disappeared in genetic labs of big industries where they might become valuable patents.
Dr. Janell Noble
It's no plan really telling them we are HLA typing on their genes because they wouldn't understand what HLA is on the first place but I think in that much as they understand they are in fact they are giving their informed consent, and I think you know my idealistic side as a scientist this is for a greater good ventionally and they are contributing to men kind in general.
There are some things in the cultures of endangered peoples that we are prepared to share with the rest of the world. But only if we are respected in every way, not only for our material value but also for our view of the world and our way of looking at things around us.
The Human Genome Diversity Project was named as the vampire project because they wanted to be lord of indigenous people literary; they were like vampire flying all over around the world to make that. Zap- they blowed very fast and go back and put in and destroy it somewhere else. So they can digest it later as money.
In Western industrial nations, too, the pharmaceutical industry is searching for groups of people living in relative isolation. The Icelanders are a prime example-
Icelands are windfall for the pharmaceuticals industry because for hundreds of years family trees have been meticulously compiled. One single large data bank is now to be set up comprising the blood tests for the DNA analysis of every Icelander as well as the entire patient data recorded by the public health system.
The Icelandic population for such studies is possibly more valuable or more amenable to such study than many others because of the closeness of the population of the relative homogeneity of the genetic pool in this country. Because of the fact that we have been here basically untouched for 11 hundred years I can mention of course we have a good patient records here that date back more than a century some of them. So the population is relatively well educated as well and follow up is easy because of the smallness of the population it is easy to find people.
The company DeCode Genetics was founded by private investors to set up and evaluate this data bank.
In 1998 Kari Stefanson, a Harvard professor born in Iceland, promised his company would be able to ascertain 12 complex diseases per year.
To identify the genes responsible for certain diseases the Swiss company HofmanLa Roche pledged $200 million, on the condition, however, that the data be delivered first.
What is it what we are doing when we are starting the genetic with human disease. The first thing that we do is to seek co-operation among people who have a disease and their families and their hope that this patients and their families and the research is that eventually someone will develop better methods to diagnose and treat the disease. Our possibility our probability that we will be able to do so is dependant on our ability to protect intellectual property because it takes about 500 Mio $ to take the basic biological discovery and turn it into a drug.
Kari Stefanson persuaded the government to ratify a law permitting the personal medical records of every Icelander to be sold to a private enterprise, namely DeCode Genetics.
The bill was drawn up by his company’s lawyers.
DeCode intended to acquire the licence for 12 years to record and commercially exploit the genetic make-up of the 270,000 Icelanders.
My patients were concerned, my patients were worried, I am a psychiatrist and my patients talked about this they were actually shocked that their medical records would be accessed by some one they didn't know. And they were shocked that the government had given this permission to someone without their consent.
I have had MS for almost 38 years and during that time I participated in many, many researches. And it is always you know that your doctor asked you to participate and you do it and you do not have a second thought about it. And it has always been very clear that the doctor and I were on the same side
But now there is a company who is a private company who is making a commodity out of the information about me - I don't want that.
My concern was that there would be too many informations about a person in one place that could be very dangerous. And it could be very harmful for my relatives, my son, and my nieces and nephews to have this MS patient on a file there. And this is something that has never been done before and they stated that their future costumers to this database would be the insurance companies and pharmaceutical company and they were actually making a commodity out of the blood and the information. This was something new; this is something scary I just didn't want to be part of this.
That's how the pharmaceutical industry has gotten what it wanted all the time, getting access to patients. The doctors get paid for this access, the doctors who obtain this blood and convinced the patients to participate. Some of them get paid very well, that's not disclosed to the patients, they are not told who is behind this and who pays for it and who benefits from this. It came as a big surprise to us that the pharmaceutical giant HofmanLaRoche was the largest shareholder in DeCode.
Despite some personal aspirations, about a possible genetic therapy, Sigurbörg Arnsdöttir is largely sceptical and distrustful of it and she is not the only one. Many doctors and 20.000 Icelandic citizens are refusing to allow access to their complete medical data.
One of the disturbing things I see over 20 years working on human genetics and issues and biologic issue is the believe in the miracle cure. You know, first there was foetal tissue, we spent 100 of millions of dollars in this and we cured nobody and many patients where horribly injured by these foetal implants and uncontrolled motions and they stopped almost all this experiments and then there was gene therapy. A miracle cure said the New York Times "Please don't stop it, this is wonderful!" again now billions of dollars spend in this country no one is cured we now have many deaths 37 deaths a thousand serious adverse reactions were toured investigating now finally and then in France we have two young children who developed a new form of leukaemia now they are talking about stem cell research this miracle cure desure that is a idea we can cure cancer and all this diseases by some magic bullet. This is behind a lot of the energy and it's not only naive it's dangerous.
You don't need to understand every glass little detail of what `s happening- what you need to know is that scientists some scientists want to change human DNA in such a way that the baby that results will be different from what otherwise would have happened indeed those changes will pass on to generation after generation after generation. Scientists some of them invision for insurance James Watson in sort of father the DNA revolution.
Invisions a world in which he says will be no more stupid people, there will be no more ugly babies. This is a project that you don't need to win the noble price to know whether or not that's a good idea or not.
Parents will be able to go into the clinic and tweak the emotional make up of their phetus choosing some place of a spectrum from Mother Theresa to General Patton or something along this line. And for some it sounds nice to able to design your child but when that child grows up when that child reaches 16 or something and begin sort of the process beginning to find out who they are at some level they will never be able to complete their very human job they'll never know that the calm or the happiness what ever their feeling is quite theirs or this product of this sort of co-operate thing inserted in there when they were small nest of cells.
This is one of the donor rooms where the spesment is produced. The donors are given magazines and the spasement is produced by masturbation.
What colour of the eyes do you prefer? Colour of the hair? Black. Great. Complexion? Do you want faire or medium olive.. Height? 170- ok.
One way of kind of thinking about this is to imagine yourself. You are a young couple - hey you want your first child you hit down to the designer baby clinic with your Visa card and you max out your Visa card- you know you spend all your money to get the best upgrades that you can. Extra IQ points and better temperament and what ever. Well, 5 years later you are ready for your second child as you go back to the clinic. What's 5 years in technology- a lot of things are happening in 5 years in technology time- this time the same amount of money buys you twice as many IQ points and 100 other little upgrades - what is making, your first child is now sort of Windows `95 - this conversion of people into products is something we shouldn't enter in too lightly just because we have the idea that it might be nice to have a improved child I think in a long line it wouldn't be nice at all.
Not for the child, not for the society the child is going to be in.
This is our seed store. The big amount of seeds that we need for large distribution are in these. The walls are made of cow-dung plaster and the painting has been done by a tribal farmer who visited us. At night he used to just get up and paint our walls with this beautiful imagery of biodiversity and sustainability. And the different conservation seeds are protected in the seed bank. Navdanya is very fortunate to have a Bija who’s name means the seed. Seed means the Bija. And this is Bija. And Pridvi, who’s name means the earth. We have the seed and the earth in our team and of course we have Darvan. Darvan means the protector. He is the protector of seed. But Darvan and Bija can now show us the seed conservation.
We don’t take shoes into our seed bank so we don’t bring any diseases.
The seed bank where we conserve seed diversity up the level of farmers. We don’t want a high-tech, high-cost system, so farmers enter and say they can do it but we can’t. We want to inspire every farmer to be able to be a seed keeper and a seed farmer.
Right here, we have among our 265 rice varieties that grow on this farm Abatkalo, a rice that is used as the first weaning food for infants. It is used as a rice for women who have problems in pregnancy and it is used for very very old people who can not eat ordinary food. This rice is a healing rice.
More black rices, red rices, brown rices, golden rices, long-grain rices, short-grain rices!
We used to have 200’000 rice varieties in this country. And the green revolution tried to breed one variety at the time and each of them kept failing. Because the Green Revolution was not successful in wiping it all out, we have been able to work with farmers, with Bija, with Darvan, to be able to bring this issue back.
At the consumer level it is now quite clearly recognized that there is not a single consumer in the world who would willingly ask for food in ignorance about what it contains. Everywhere people are asking for labelling, everywhere people are asking for the right to choose and the right for information.
And most places people with that information are saying – we do not want this stuff, our food is better without genetic engineering.
The truth is the only value to genetically modified animals or plants is for the companies who own those patents- it does not make a better tasting food, it does make better productional food, it is really not good for the planet but it really is good for the people who own those patents who are trying to own our food, and the more people know about this -the more resistant they will become.
So Lobbyist work is hard at prohibiting labelling as for anything else
Because it is in their interest to keep the consumer ignorant.
Every time you walk into a fast food place, every time you buy conventional vegetables - you and I are responsible for the pesticides being used, the incredible cruelty to these animals, the destruction of our forests and wild life. 70 % of our endangered species are created through farming and ranching in the United States.
We are accomplices in those moral crimes – whether we know it or not.
So it is not just in an environmental crisis- it is a moral crisis.
And we will never solve that by being mooring consumers-
We have to say no. We are creating – either the solution or the problem.
As one of the few molecular biologists who are also sceptics, of course I travelled quite a lot and given talks at many places of the world and the proponents of genetically engineering always jump on and say that a lot of the scientific arguments are used are exaggerated.
But I have one particular argument that they never start discussing and that is when I say that one of the main risk issues of genetic engineering is that 95 % of all competent scientists in these fields are working for the producers side.
And only 5% are really genuinely independent.
They never discuss that and that makes me suggest that maybe the situation is even worse because I have no data for this it is my own invention.
The reason why I mention it is of course that the day the percentages are 100 working for the industries and 0% are really independent then we have both – a very serious scientific problem in the society but we also have a very very serious democratic problem – as you may imagine and realize.