By: Dr. Mercola
July 19, 2012
With the support of local prosecutors, Mr. Gloeckner, a German farmer who had 65 cows die after he fed them genetically modified Bt corn has filed criminal charges against the manufacturer, alleging that the company not only knew the corn could be lethal to livestock, but was covering up deaths that occurred during clinical trials.
According to a recent press release by GM Watch1, the lawsuit asserts that Swiss biotech Syngenta committed a grave criminal offense by deliberately withholding the results of a feeding trial in which four cows died in two days. The deaths prompted the company to halt the test. No health problems or deaths were reported in the control group, which was not fed the genetically engineered Bt 176 corn.
Syngenta is by law required to register the results of feeding studies with the appropriate authorities, which they never did. They testified before the court in an earlier lawsuit brought by Mr. Gloeckner, stating they knew of no risks related to their Bt 176 corn, which resulted in the case against them being dismissed. According to the featured press release2:
“As a consequence of the deliberate withholding of that critical information Gloeckner suffered financial damage well above €500000 (US$650,000) which he was prevented from regaining through the initial court process.”
Genetically Engineered Crops Taking a Toll on Livestock Health
As reported by Institute of Science in Society3, this is far from an isolated incident of mysterious deaths associated with genetically engineered feed, and it’s not just Syngenta’s Bt 176 corn either. Thousands of livestock deaths have been reported across India, as a result of grazing on genetically engineered crops and feed. The Philippines have also reported cases.
According to Dr. Don Huber, an expert on the toxicity of genetically engineered plants, a new organism linked to GE crops appears to be the cause of high reproductive failure in livestock. The organism was initially identified by veterinarians around 1998—about two years after the introduction of Roundup Ready soybeans, which is one of the staple feeds. The vets were puzzled by sudden rates of miscarriages. While sporadic at first, the phenomenon has continued to increase in severity.
In an interview last year, Dr. Huber stated:
“We [recently] received a call from a county extension educator, indicating that he has a dairy that has a 70 percent abortion rate. You put that on top of 10 to 15 percent of infertility to start with, and you’re not going to have a dairy very long. In fact, a lot of our veterinarians are now becoming very concerned about the prospects for being able to have replacement animals.”
One of the Best Chemical Companies in the World?
I can’t help but note the deep irony of Syngenta’s publicly recognized facade, and their corporate behavior, which leaves much to be desired for the everyday man and woman who depends on their products being safe.
In 2011, Syngenta was named among the top 10 employers in biotechnology by Science magazine4 for the second year in a row. (Granted, the annual poll is an evaluation of company performance by employees and peers only.) The company was also recognized by the 2011 Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI)5 as one of the best performing chemical companies worldwide for the sixth year in a row, based on economic, social and environmental governance performance.
Personally, I expect more from a company revered for its environmental- and social governance… Hiding clinical trial data that is of utmost significance in terms of health is a heinously shameful act that no morally upright company would ever associate itself with. But that’s not the only blotch on Syngenta’s corporate resume.
Far from it…