A new study by Gilles-Eric Séralini 1 was released condemning GMO and I found it dreadfully ironic that vegans would be so willing to glom onto such a thing. Here’s a population that claims to have animal interests at heart yet all they can do is gloat over this study where rats were bred and raised to get tumors untreated for 2 years. What ideology are vegans truly dedicated? Does their technophobia or anti-corporatism take precedence over their supposed concerns for animal justice? If we are to do animal testing then in the very least shouldn’t we be more judicious in the research we engage or at least make sure guidelines for the ethical treatment of animals are followed?2 3 With the safety record that GMO foods have, vegans should rather ask, ‘Is this really necessary given the scientific consensus on GMO?’ or at least ‘What is the scientific consensus on GMO?’
‘But Mr. Crank, the tests were done regardless and these animals ate GMOs and got tumors so shouldn’t we be worried?’. Ok, let’s say for the sake of argument that this study was true. Rats got tumors after eating Roundup GM maize. Let’s go even beyond that though and say several more rigorous scientific studies were done and the findings verified. Enough so that overturned the current scientific consensus on the safety of Roundup. Well congratulations, the world is a better place! We should maybe not use Roundup (Glyphosate)4 then…and go back to good ol’ atrazine5?
But how would that be an implication of GM? How can an entire technology be doomed for this particular trait? Perhaps this may lead to refined studies that take the larger picture into account but given this original hypothetical, all we know is that this particular instance (RoundUp) of this particular technology (GM) is found harmful. As Dr. Kevin Folta has said 6, he would be heralded if he could find such evidence. Any good scientist would strive to make such a contribution, no?
Now back to reality. The Séralini study was such 7 crap 8 that even Marion Nestle (who is wary of GMO) couldn’t find anything redeeming about it 9. Séralini has a history of trying hard to find some evidence of harm but nothing compelling has come up yet. If something does though, I’m not so misanthropic or conspiracy-minded to think it would be buried or squashed. It would probably be met with fierce and nasty resistance but that’s because it’s challenging the current consensus. That’s how science works. If the science is good though the truth would come out and that would be a win for science. That doesn’t seem to be the case here though, sorry.
What’s going to happen now? Those tumor rat pictures are going to be circulating around the internet for the next 10 years as evidence of harm of GMO foods. People are going to spew that crap all over the place, damn the facts. How any vegan can exploit the fate of those rats to further their anti-GMO agenda confounds me and makes me pretty damn cranky. How many more animals are going to be sacrificed hunting for elusive harmful effects of something we know is safe10?
UPDATED, worth a watch:
“You have to be a special kind of asshole to think this is acceptable or the means justify the ends to allow these animals to be in pain… and to get that bad.” – Miles Power
- “Imagine how much money and animal lives would be saved if crummy feeding studies weren’t performed.” Review of “A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health” | FrankenFoodFacts
- A Russian Anti-GMO Group is Going to Waste $25mil Systamatically Abusing Animals Over Three Years | Visible Friends Network
- Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize ↩
- Anastasia Bodnar on Skeptically Speaking » #185 Genetically Modified Foods Revisited: “…I do think we can question whether or not the institutional review board that approved his study, was doing right by the animal that were involved. I think that there’s definitely a discussion to be had, another time about using animals in tests such as these but when rats who certainly can feel pain in some capacity are used in a study that is obviously flawed in design…I think we really should question that.” ↩
- Letter to the editor, Erio Barale-Thomas “In our opinion, the study as reported (Ethics, §2.1) demonstrate a critical failure in the ethical supervision. First, it is not clear that the protocol was reviewed by a Committee of Animal Ethics/Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, a basic requirement in the industry to even allow the purchasing of laboratory animals. “Animal experiments were performed according to ethical guidelines…” is not the same than stating that the protocol and the procedures were approved by an Ethical Committee. This is especially important in view of the statement that 31 parameters were analyzed (Biochemical analyses, §2.4): the quantity of blood removed is not indicated, and this could have had an effect on the well being of the animals and on their sanitary status.” ↩
- VeganGMO: Roundup (Glyphosate) ↩
- BioFortified: Genetically modified crops shrink farming’s pesticide footprint ↩
- Vegan Chicago Podcast #001 Dr. Kevin Folta – Frankenfoods: Cornerstones of the Next Green Revolution ↩
- For more info see VeganGMO’s collection of Séralini Rat Study Links ↩
- Study on cancer and GM maize – experts respond ↩
- Food Politics: What to make of the scary GMO study? ↩
- As in scientifically, no current compelling evidence of harm. ↩