Professor John Volpe introduced the evening with a phrase taken from Henry VI “let’s kill the lawyers.” He adapted it to “Let’s kill the scientists.” I’m still wondering what John, head of The School of Environmental Science, meant by that. He is a scientist and marine ecologist. Was he advocating for killing science? Surely not. Could it be that in today’s day and age we aren’t listening to the scientists? Or not right kind of scientists? It turns out that many scientific jobs, that are designed to safeguard what we hold dear, have been axed. We’re effectively killing them. Silencing their research. Shredding their reputations. Calling them pseudo-scientists. Calling them story- tellers. Is that what Professor Volpe meant?
Room A110 at the David Turpin building at the University of Victoria wasn’t big enough. After we had all settled in, having taken off our coats, mittens, hats, and scarves (it was a cold evening)…. We were asked to move. To an even larger room to accommodate the overflowing crowd.
Dr. Vrain’s talk held example after example of scientists whose work had been discredited. From Seralini to Pusztai. In both cases they were heavily criticized by corporate scientists with strong ties to Biotech. Pusztai, after 30 year as much celebrated biochemist and nutritionist, lost his job in the 90s after coming out with a feed study on GMOs. He was just doing science. Later he was awarded the 2005 Whistle blower award from Germany. He subsequently has been honoured for the hero he is. Seralini is right now replicating his own 2012 study which showed alarming tumor growth amid other numerous ill-effects of rats eating GMOs. Seralini’s methods are now vindicated by none other than the European Food Safety Authority.
Dr Vrain explained how the GMO technology is failing and spectacularly. Due to superweeds and pests they are resorting to using 2,4 -D (active component in agent orange). If this isn’t a fail then what is? And crops are yielding higher in Europe where they don’t have GMOs. This goes to show that the Yield argument is no longer valid. What about glyphosate? It is toxic, to amphibians, to fish, to bacteria. It is known for its chelating ability; in us it strips away heavy metals. In high doses it is lethal to humans as the farmers of India know only too well. There are currently 400 million acres with crops that are designed to be glyphosate-resistant. That’s their only noteworthy trait. Dr. Vrain also explained the imprecision involved in the technology, the gene gun. They don’t know where the DNA is going; they are shooting it randomly with total disregard for what processes are being disrupted. Although we don’t have causal studies showing harm in Humans, we do have peer reviewed-studies in laboratory animals. What more do we need?
After presenting the evidence, Dr Vrain was asked if he would support banning this technology.
Dr Vrain is a retired scientist who spent much of his career attesting to the safety of GMOs. He’s now Blowing the Whistle on the GMO industry (owned by a handful of Chemical companies). If you cant attend his Cross Canada tour, check out his Ted x talk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQkQXyiynYs