Did GM Corn Kill the Cows?

B. McPherson
A little song about where big Agro seems to be taking us.

Syngenta, the makers of GM corn Bt176 have been hauled into court. The corporation faces criminal charges for suppressing information from one of their own studies into the safety of the engineered product. This GM product has been discontinued since 2007.

The corn labelled Bt176 contains a bacterial gene that confers resistance to the corn borer maggot. You may know the Bt part best from the reference to aerial spraying containing the Bt (Bacillus thurugiensis) element. The trouble started when a German farmer who participated in an approved study feeding his dairy cattle Bt176. His cows started getting sick and dying. At the end of it he had lost 65 dairy cattle. Syngenta compensated him for five cows but denied responsibility. He took them to court and lost, leaving him in further debt.

During a civil lawsuit brought against the company by the farmer however, Syngenta refused to admit that its GM corn was the cause, claiming no knowledge of harm. The case was dismissed and Gloeckner remained thousands of euros in debt. GM Watch

Years later it comes to the public’s attention that Syngenta conducted a test in the US in 1996 which ended abruptly when four cows died in two days. Now the company head is in further hot water for allegedly lying to the judge in Gloeckner’s civil case which was thrown out for lack of evidence.

While Bt176 corn has been discontinued Bt11 is still being sold both for sweet corn, human consumption and for animal feed. While corn is often fed to confined animals in industrial production of milk and meat, it is not a natural food for them and often results in stomach ulcers and infections. This results in industrial amounts of antibiotics used to maintain production.

Damage from Bt modified crops is mainly anecdotal but mounting. Sheep in India suffered gruesome deaths when they were allowed to graze on picked over cotton fields that were planted with Bt cotton. Previously, the non-GM cotton plants were a reliable source of food for the sheep. Farmers in the Philippines reported skin rashes and illnesses after working in Bt corn(maize) fields.

The Bt genetic modification has been introduced into many crops in recent years. Unfortunately it is an indiscriminate killer. Butterflies are some of its chief victims. It’s beginning to look as if dairy cows, sheep and people are also succumbing to its deadly gift.

Lobby your legislators to require labelling of GM foods. Eat locally and where possible, eat organic.

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