I can't find any mainstream media business report of the event. That doesn't mean it isn't there, it just means that I am unable to dredge through all of the fringe news sites (sorry, but I feel the Christian Monitor is a big fringe one) to arrive at the promised land. But this is so big, I am thinking that it must be for real, so here we go.
Syngenta, a Swiss based Biotech Agriculture Chemical Manufacturing company with worldwide reach has been charged with criminal malfeasance in a coverup of information relating to the deaths of cows. German dairy farmer Gottfreid Gloeckner back in 2000 was feeding his cows Syngenta Bt 176 Genetically Engineered corn that he grew on his farm at the request of Syngenta as part of a test of the new corn. A number of his cows began to exhibit signs of a strange malady when he ceased all other feeds and began to feed them exclusively on the GM corn. A bunch of them croaked. Good ol Gottfreid stopped feeding the corn to his cows, but most of them continued to keel over and bloat up. In 2007 Gottfreid sued Syngenta to have them pay for the cows, Syngenta claims that there was no proof the corn killed the cows, so the case was dismissed by the court. Now, here is the interesting part and gives us some idea of the thought processes of a company that has invested millions into the development of a GM crop and wants desperately to be able to sell it. Syngenta autopsied only one of the 23 cows that died, and refused to release the findings of the results. What has prompted the criminal charges is internal Syngenta documents that show that testing of Bt 176 corn was stopped after the company's own tests showed that cows were dying after being fed the GM corn. In some instances just two days after eating it.
Now comes the nitty gritty. Of course these guys would not admit the project was flawed. If you read my blog entry from yesterday, it describes just how much work is involved into making a Genetically Modified Organism. It takes MILLIONS of dollars to make one. You have these big laboratories and pressure controlled greenhouses to contain any errant pollens. You have lead scientists, who have the knowledge about how DNA works. (They make buttloads of money) Well, they like to THINK they know how DNA works, we are sort of finding out they don't really. Then you have all these lab techs that do the actual gene splicing. Then you have peons that water the plants and measure and label and try hard to make themselves look good for promotion. Then you have all of the actual equipment that is all new and custom made. You can't just look in the Grainger catalogue and buy a gene splicing machine. And it all cost money. Every single day, money money money. And Hans-Theo Jahmann, the head of Syngenta, looks at the pictures on the walls of his incredibly spacious office there in Switzerland and sees the fields of grains pictured there. And all he can think about is that farmers all over the world are growing corn that they grew for years, and their fathers grew before them and their fathers too. And Hans wants a piece of that action. He starts to think,
It's ridiculous! Those farmers are NOT paying royalties on the corn they grow! I can change that!
Genetically Modified crops will change all of that. Instead of a farmer growing corn from seed that he saved from crops that have been grown in the same area and have micro adapted to that region over generations of use; Hans wants all farmers everywhere to plant his corn that HE created in His own image and to grow that corn everywhere, in every conceivable micro climate and micro condition. The fact that cows die from eating it should not in any way stop Syngenta from making money. And of course as we now know, if yeilds drop, nutritive values drop, toxic pesticide and herbicide residues go up, so what. Syngenta can make money. Lots of money, every year, royalties.
It shouldn't be a surprise that I don't like GM crops. I talk about it here nearly everyday. I also understand how the world works, and I am pretty sure that old Hans is going to escape criminal prosecution for his actions. Maybe. I know that in Germany the population is a lot more attunded to the GM problem and that it is possible that this court case may get some huge press there and that money won't buy his way out. I hope so, I think that if just one head of an agribusiness goes to actual jail and not house arrest, then maybe we might see some changes in our food supply.
Well, I didn't win the 600 million dollar lottery last week, if I had, I would be out hiring private detectives all over the country to follow all the heads of biotech companies as well as all of congress and the senate. Shadow them, find out where they eat, and what kinds of foods they and their families eat. I'm pretty sure it isn't the food that we commoners are stuck with. I would also offer a reward, make a millionaire out of anyone that works in a gene tech company that comes forth with internal documents showing that the companies themselves are in possession of data that proves their products are harmful, but continue to push them on farmers because they are making money. And to give lots of money to anyone that can prove that money was given to and received by any politician in exchange for actions that better the position of any gene tech or agribusiness.
We need a few heads of state and heads of big business in jail to stop the destruction of our food supply.