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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:40 am 
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One of my biggest concerns regarding genetically modified crops is the potential for contamination in fields of non-modified crops.
Genetically modified crops seem to reduce diversity. Farmers stop growing the seeds they've been breeding for decades or longer, and switch over to the one or two kinds of GM crop that is available. The old varieties of seeds are lost.
I'm not so sure that there are health concerns for humans if they eat genetically modified foods, other than potential allergy issues if genes from something people are allergic to are put into a different crop.
Another concern I have is the ability for resistant pests and weeds to survive, and breed with other survivors, creating resistance (especially regarding Bt, which is a bacteria found in the soil, that organic farmers can use on their crops (since it's naturally occurring).
If genetically modified foods were labeled, and consumers were made aware of them, I wouldn't be so suspicious of companies who are trying to get their genetically modified crops grown everywhere.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:23 am 
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SkepticalVegan wrote:
Image


I started this thread to gauge opinion of folk in the US, clearly most who have posted a reply are against the notion of GMO crops, with some undecided.

I find it sad when 'pro' groups decide to use stereotyping. From the photos above 'anti = 'hippy' so therefore can be discounted, whereas scientists and farmers are happy smiling people in whom we can trust?

From a vegan perspective one of the disturbing aspects within GMO technology is that genes can cross the species barrier

As far as I know it has only been experimental and never placed on the market, but one GM tomato contained a gene from a winter flounder (fish).

Fruit and vegetables are the mainstay of a vegan lifestyle but how would we feel if we could no longer trust that the tomato you picked up in the store contained nothing but tomato genes, not too good. And with increased pressure upon governments from GM companies will we ever know what is truly in our food, or indeed what is growing in the field next door to you

'What it really is' - who knows if it really is what it looks like. One thing is certain, GMO technology is likely to make us less unsure of what the origin is of the food we are eating. 'Might contain fish genes' no thank you

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:20 am 
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chools wrote:
I find it sad when 'pro' groups decide to use stereotyping. From the photos above 'anti = 'hippy' so therefore can be discounted, whereas scientists and farmers are happy smiling people in whom we can trust?

Maybe just me but I didn't really see it as a serious poster, more sort of self consciously tongue in cheek stereotyping. Or maybe that's still bad... Either way, gave me a bit of a laugh.

I'm curious; do you object more to the idea of a fish gene being put into your tomato than, for example, a potato gene? I'm guessing from your previous response the answer is yes, but I just want to check. What about a gene from one type of tomato being put into another tomato?


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:42 am 
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I'm not happy about GMO period, but if I had to choose then I would rather that genes are not used across species

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:26 am 
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chools wrote:
SkepticalVegan wrote:
I started this thread to gauge opinion of folk in the US, clearly most who have posted a reply are against the notion of GMO crops, with some undecided.

That's not an accurate summary of the thread. A few people showed concern, a few people were positive, and a few people weren't concerned about GMO, but were concerned about issues surrounding it. In no way are most people who replied against the notion.


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:45 am 
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Fair enough, I stand corrected :)

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:03 pm 
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chools wrote:
I'm not happy about GMO period, but if I had to choose then I would rather that genes are not used across species

The tomato you mentioned earlier was the Flavr Savr, and you are correct it is not actually on the market anymore. In fact there are no GE plants with animal genes on the market at all. There are a few applications in the lab, like a gene from pigs used to increase iron, but non on the market.
But why care so much? If its not a an actual animal treatment issue, and its not really, genes can easily be gathered from a simple hair follicle, mouth swab, or other tissue sample that could be gathered fairly non-invasive...heck you could even use a corpse from a natural death. And then the gene can be replicated in the lab infinity using bacteria. It doesn't mean they are killing a fish for each batch of tomatoes or that an fish ever was necessarily killed for the project.
For example green fluorescent protein (GFP) is originally from jellyfish and is used in many application, primarily for research for example in some GE potatoes. They dont extract the gene from jellyfish each time, rather they have bacteria that can easily be propagated in the lab that contain the gene

If you are actually concerned about the presence a tiny fish gene in a tomato then you should be orders of magnitude more concerned about the inclusion of complete insect genome along with the corpses of insects included in every bag of flour and every jar of peanut butter. (personally Im not)

Avoid GMOs with animal genes seems to me to be not seeing the forest for the trees. IF these trait are actually able to increase production and reduce the amount of land needed or are able to shift us away from overly toxic farming inputs then over-all they are a win for many many animals.
We need to consider the impact of agricultural inefficiency on animals and their habitat. More traditional farming systems may make us feel warm and fuzzy but in the big picture, farming techniques that require almost twice the land are a total tragedy for animals and the environment. Simply put efficient farming saves resources, saves land, and saves lives.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:08 pm 
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Oh and yes the "What I do" meme poster from earlier was only half serious. Though I found it funny, I actually have issue with the images they choose (such as should non-gmo veggies in the last panel), similar to the images anti-gmo activists choose to use in their campaigns

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:40 pm 
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Flavr Savr was not the tomato containing the fish gene, it did however fail as a commercial product

We all have 'lines' that we draw in terms of what is acceptable to us with regard veganism. For me crossing the species barrier is not OK, and neither is the production of GM food.

I accept that my stance is that of a losing battle in that the multinational companies have much more sway in the world than the 'hippies' as you like to dub the anti movement.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:50 pm 
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chools wrote:
Flavr Savr was not the tomato containing the fish gene, it did however fail as a commercial product.

You are correct, I was under the impression that it was the brand name for these tomatoes and yeah, neither one are on the market

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:05 pm 
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chools wrote:
We all have 'lines' that we draw in terms of what is acceptable to us with regard veganism. For me crossing the species barrier is not OK,


But what SV was saying is that you're already crossing that boundary to a much more substantial extent if you eat any kind of flour. Or is it just that it's harder for you to ignore the fact that you're eating animal genes in a GM tomato rather compared to a slice of bread?

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:50 am 
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I think a difference is that a small amount of insects accidentally ending up in flour is not the same thing as purposely splicing animal genes into fruits and vegetables, which is something that could never happen by itself in nature.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:52 am 
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sisterlegume wrote:
I think a difference is that a small amount of insects accidentally ending up in flour is not the same thing as purposely splicing animal genes into fruits and vegetables, which is something that could never happen by itself in nature.


Of course, but chools seemed to be saying that it was an issue of it not being vegan enough.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:33 am 
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sisterlegume wrote:
I think a difference is that a small amount of insects accidentally ending up in flour is not the same thing as purposely splicing animal genes into fruits and vegetables, which is something that could never happen by itself in nature.


Whats the ethical difference? Whats the difference to the animals? Arnt the effects of our food choices on the wellbeing of other animals the central issue? If so how does a gene gathered non-invasively and propagated using bacteria in lab harm them? What if using this genetic trait could increase production so much that it saved acres of animal habitat from being plowed under? Or what if using this genetic trait could reducing impact from toxic farming inputs and reduce environmental impact?
It just seems that worrying about a sequence of nucleobases similar or identical to that found in an animal is really missing the big picture.

also while gene transfer between a fish and a tomato would probably never happen in nature, horizontal gene transfer is found all over in nature.

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:20 am 
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SkepticalVegan wrote:


Arnt the effects of our food choices on the wellbeing of other animals the central issue?

also while gene transfer between a fish and a tomato would probably never happen in nature .


You shouldn't make any assumptions as to why people follow a vegan way of life. In my case I rejected non vegan food as a child, I just didn't like the taste/texture, I had no idea at that time that I was in effect following, or wishing to follow a vegan diet. Later on as a teenager I discovered veganism and other issues like animal welfare fell into place

Never say never but I agree that gene transfer between a tomato and a fish would not happen in nature.

The arguments for and against GM food are highly emotive and I can only say that I'm pleased that here in the UK GM food production still seems on a distant horizon, but unfortunately I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it comes

For anyone interested in anti GM information this is quite a good site: http://www.gmwatch.org/

and this is a local protest site I was involved with some 11 years back: http://www.munlochygmvigil.org.uk/history.htm

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:07 am 
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chools wrote:
We all have 'lines' that we draw in terms of what is acceptable to us with regard veganism. For me crossing the species barrier is not OK, and neither is the production of GM food.

I do appreciate that you say specifically "for me", but still I don't think the production of GM food is anything in regard to veganism. You might be anti-GM and if that's your choice then fine, but I don't think it's fair to say that it's something you don't feel is acceptable with regards to your veganism. Whether something is GM or not has nothing to do with whether its vegan.


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:33 am 
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"Whether something is GM or not has nothing to do with whether its vegan"

I was specifically talking about the species barrier with GM food, in this instance the example of a fish gene being placed in a tomato. For me this would not be acceptable

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:28 am 
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Okay, sorry. I obviously misunderstood there.


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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:22 am 
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Quote:
You shouldn't make any assumptions as to why people follow a vegan way of life.


I mention the ethical argument because its the only one where this issue might make sense, and my experience on these boards leads me the believe that the majority here are for animal right/welfare, Im not really interested in health or environmental arguments for veganism, because there arent any really.
But It makes just as little if not less sense from a health or environmental point of view. The presence of the gene is unlikely to be of any health consequence and could even be used to increase nutrient content, such as a pig gene for iron in maize, which would help vegans. And these crops are likely to be of environmental benifit.
Also if the aesthetics of meat is your reason for aversion...well GE plants don't actually look or taste like meat.

i really dont see what the issue is, the dont inject any animal matter into the plants. Its a gene derived from a tissue sample, thats propagated in bacteria and then put in a plant which is then bred

again how is that worse for any animal related reason than the far larger amount of ACTUAL animal matter present in many foods

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For me this would not be acceptable

can you articulate why?

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:42 am 
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SkepticalVegan wrote:
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Im not really interested in health or environmental arguments for veganism, because there arent any really.


I find that an astonishing statement given all the data available that purports to suggest otherwise, but perhaps you have evidence proving the lack of impact on health/environment? I would be interested to see your sources

Quote:
again how is that worse for any animal related reason than the far larger amount of ACTUAL animal matter present in many foods


Well if we take my humble tomato, at the moment I can buy it as a raw ingredient with the knowledge that it doesn't contain any animal ingredient even if it is 'just' a gene. I would like to continue being able to do that.

If I want or need extra iron or anything else that GM seed companies say they can attach to my food, I would like to continue to buy it as a separate food item. I don't need nor want extra items deliberately introduced to basic ingredients just because there is technology there that can do it. I'm sure by the same token I could live off ready meals but I don't eat them.

The introduction of GM foods infringes on my rights as an individual not to consume them, as if the UK follows the same route as the US the food chain will become polluted and all processed food will more than likely contain an element or percentage of GM

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:50 am 
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Quote:
I find that an astonishing statement given all the data available that purports to suggest otherwise, but perhaps you have evidence proving the lack of impact on health/environment? I would be interested to see your sources


What source? The positive claim here is that veganism is necessitated by some health or environmental argument, thats what needs to be demonstrated.
There is no environmental or health reason for avoiding all animal products

plenty of good reasons for reducing meat consumption for most and shifting consumptive patterns, but no airtight arguments for actual veganism

Quote:
The introduction of GM foods infringes on my rights as an individual not to consume them

NO it doesn't, not anymore than the use of animal derived lactic acid in a product violates my rights as a vegan. You get to choose what to buy, not what others can.
Do you believe in the same "right" regarding hybrids, products of mutagenesis, and cloning?

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:01 pm 
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[/quote]
NO it doesn't, not anymore than the use of animal derived lactic acid in a product violates my rights as a vegan. You get to choose what to buy, not what others can.?[/quote]

If the food chain is polluted with GM products then my choice in what I can buy is taken away to the point whereby I won't have a choice!

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:07 pm 
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chools wrote:
If the food chain is polluted with GM products then my choice in what I can buy is taken away to the point whereby I won't have a choice!

which is why i mention "Do you believe in the same "right" regarding hybrids, products of mutagenesis, and cloning?"
look genes are gonna spread GEE or not, some people really do have fear of hybrids and products of mutagenesis, the pollen gets out there. Is the extremely widespread presence of hybrids a violation of rights in the same way as the presence of GM food? If not why specifically?
genetic contamination can come from any source...what if i dont want genes from certain heirloom varieties in my food, do i have a right to demand that those varieties not be grown at all?

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:12 pm 
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SkepticalVegan wrote:
what if i dont want genes from certain heirloom varieties in my food, do i have a right to demand that those varieties not be grown at all?


Feel free, I don't have the monopoly on protest :)

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 Post subject: Re: GM Food
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:15 pm 
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So basically anyone can declare something to be against their rights at any time and demand to have it banned?
What is your theory of right anyways? Where do rights come from? Do they exists objectively, are they constructions?

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