Something is causing mass genetically modified crop die-offs. Something is causing mass infertility in farm animals fed GM crops. Something is causing mass miscarriages in farm animals fed GM crops. The connection in all cases is Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seeds. The United States Department of Agriculture and USDA were warned that the problem exists and that the likely cause is Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide and Roundup Ready crops.
The USDA’s response was to completely ignore the warning and approve Roundup Ready alfalfa. Not even the obvious implication that these disastrous effects could extend to humans mattered.
In 2009, Dr. Don Huber, Professor Emeritus of Purdue University noted for his expertise in plant pathology, co-produced a paper with G.S. Johal, of Purdue’s botany and plant pathology department. Entitled, “Glyphosate effects on diseases of plants”(1), it was published in the European Journal of Agronomy. It has, of course, been routinely ignored by the USDA.
The paper stated:
[The widespread uses of glyphosate] significantly increase the severity of various plant diseases, impair plant defense to pathogens and diseases, and immobilize soil and plant nutrients rendering them unavailable for plant use.
The authors further warned:
[I]gnoring potential non-target detrimental side effects of any chemical, especially used as heavily as glyphosate, may have dire consequences for agriculture such as rendering soils infertile, crops non-productive, and plants less nutritious. To do otherwise might well compromise not only agricultural sustainability, but also the health and well-being of animals and humans.
Coming from someone as distinguished in his field as Don Hubor, one would have thought that a rational regulatory agency would choose to err on the side of caution—at least refuse to authorize use of the product until it has been thoroughly tested. That hasn’t been how the USDA operates, as we shall see.
Roundup Ready seeds were created by Monsanto to leverage glyphosate. The GMO plants are resistant to it. Therefore, farmers can spray glyphosate recklessly in huge quantities. The result is, of course, profits from sales of the seeds, along with hugely inflated profits from sales of glyphosate. Monsanto makes money coming and going.
Dr. Huber learned of a new pathogen that “appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings”, as he wrote in a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack(2):
The organism is prolific in plants infected with two pervasive diseases that are driving down yields and farmer income-sudden death syndrome (SDS) in soy, and Goss’ wilt in corn…
…Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of this organism in a wide variety of livestock that have experienced spontaneous abortions and infertility. Preliminary results from ongoing research have also been able to reproduce abortions in a clinical setting.
The pathogen may explain the escalating frequency of infertility and spontaneous abortions over the past few years in US cattle, dairy, swine, and horse operations. These include recent reports of infertility rates in dairy heifers of over 20%, and spontaneous abortions in cattle as high as 45%…
He concluded with:
This pathogen may be instrumental to understanding and solving this problem. It deserves immediate attention with significant resources to avoid a general collapse of our critical agricultural infrastructure.
Huber included photos in the letter to demonstrate the damage done to crops:
This photo shows a field of soybeans. No glyphosate was used on the left-hand side of the field.
The corn field in the background was grown from non-GMO corn seed. The dying field in the foreground suffers from sudden death syndrome. The corn plants were grown from Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seeds.
Huber has described the pathogen as exceptionally small, visible only via electron microscope, but indubitably a life-form with the ability to directly reproduce itself, unlike viruses and prions, as you can see in this interview with him—and, incidentally, also determine for yourself whether he appears to be legitimate:
The response to the letter was particularly disappointing. Huber wanted to assure that it was received, so he had a third party hand-deliver it to the Secretary of Agriculture, Vilsack. The USDA seems to speak out both sides of the mouth regarding it. They have acknowledged receipt of the letter, but have also stated:
It has been confirmed that no letter addressed to Secretary Vilsack from Dr. Huber has been received directly by USDA. The only copy we received was forwarded by a third party, and we do not respond to third-party letters.
Apparently, the USDA got the letter, but didn’t get the letter. Of course, they are aware of it—and have utterly ignored it.
Of course, the naysayers have been working hard to imply that there’s nothing to worry about, that there is no verification for what Dr. Huber is saying. Of course, if that’s true, then why the subterfuge about whether the letter was received? What’s the point of that, other than to confuse the issue?
If the USDA truly believes that the statements of Dr. Huber, a man recognized for his expertise on the subject, are worthless, then they should say so.
One and one-half weeks after delivery of the letter, the USDA approved yet another Roundup Ready seed, alfalfa! Since then, they’ve also approved Roundup Ready beets, in spite of a court ordering them not to. Obviously, the USDA does not believe that it owes anything to either the rule of law or the safety of the people.
The naysayers suggest that what Dr. Huber has presented is nothing more than anecdotal evidence. They fail, though, to acknowledge that:
All this happened earlier this year. Dr. Huber was quite disappointed. Since then, he has taken the issue to the rest of the world. He has sent a letter, complete with documentation and references, to UK and EU leaders.(3) In it, he repeats what he told Vilsack and the USDA, and he included a list of references, notes from farmers, and documentation showing that all possibilities besides glyphosate could be eliminated in specific instances.
The new organism, as yet still unnamed, combines with nutritional deficiencies in Roundup Ready feed. Infertility rates as high as 20% are being seen in cattle and pigs, and spontaneous abortions are occurring at rates of 45% among cattle. This is still early in the Roundup Ready era—and it’s clearly unsustainable.
Crop failures are clearly documented by Dr. Huber. There have been widespread reports of GM crop failures in India. Of course it’s only anecdotal…There is almost no research on the subject. Monsanto manages to prevent it by refusing to allow their seeds to be used in studies that might demonstrate the truth.
It should be noted, though, that scientific studies are conglomerations of anecdotal stories. They have been organized and controlled—but in the end, all information is anecdotal. The fact is that throughout most of history farmers have based their husbandry techniques on anecdotal evidence—and that evidence has brought about a revolution in the lives of humanity.
Through anecdotal evidence combined with ingenuity, humans have improved crops, created virtually new foods, such as corn and most citrus, improved soil quality, and grown crops in places where they couldn’t grow naturally.
Anecdotal evidence has led to the existence of our modern world. To now look down upon and ignore it is hubris, pure and simple. When it’s already combined with modern scientific research that indicates extreme danger for the future of humanity, it’s pure insanity to ignore it.
The USDA’s decision to ignore Dr. Huber is a clear indication that the USDA is operating under insane leadership. A bit of caution would do nothing worse than put off Monsanto’s profits until later if their products prove to be safe and effective. The only ones who benefit from the mad rush to approve GM crops without thoroughly examining potential risks are the corporations that create them and anyone supported by them, or hoping to be supported by them.
That, of course, clarifies why the USDA ignores evidence and court orders, and throws caution to the wind as it rubberstamps virtually everything Agribusiness desires.