Then They Went for the Pigs

Just when you thought the market for controversy over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was completely saturated, a new study published in the Journal of Organic Systems finds that pigs raised on a mixed diet of GM corn and GM soy had higher rates of intestinal problems, “including inflammation of the stomach and small intestine, stomach ulcers, a thinning of intestinal walls and an increase in haemorrhagic bowel disease, where a pig can rapidly ‘bleed-out’ from their bowel and die.” Both male and female pigs reared on the GM diet were more likely to have severe stomach inflammation, at a rate of four times and 2.2 times the control group, respectively. There were also reproductive effects: the uteri of female pigs raised on GM feed were 25 percent larger (in proportion to body size) than those of control sows. (All male pigs were neutered, so scientists were unable to study any effects on the male reproductive systems.)

Damning New Study Demonstrates Harm to Animals Raised on GMO Feed” Leslie Hatfield

This one cuts several ways. We don’t have nearly enough funding going for objective research into the impact of genetically modified foods. Why? Corporate interests harmonize nicely with right-wing fantasies about the all-powerful federal government and debt and so on. If you can shrink the government, then on one will be looking when you introduce dangerous foods into the system. We are all guinea pigs for corporate profit.

Damming research, of course, isn’t yet a solid case. It does suggest the need for a very healthy skepticism about corporate safety assurances, to say the very least. What would be the harm, Hatfield asks, in a precautionary principle? Only corporate profits and common sense. The fact is that we don’t need these modified foods; I suspect that every problem they purport to solve either isn’t important or can be solved in other ways.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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