The other "other" side

John Shuey jshuey at
Wed Aug 2 09:01:43 EDT 2000

One thing to note about Bt corn.  Many farmers in the Midwest are worried
that because corn apparently has a tendency to cross with Johnson grass
(strong evidence of genetic exchange has been established between these two
species), that Bt genes will become the norm in this major economically
negative weed.  Farmers aren't happy about the prospect of an insect
resistant ag weed developing in the Midwest.

Also note that I heard at a Monsanto sponsored meeting that they are
looking to insert the gene into trees, especially those hit by the moth
Choristoneura fumiferana.  Given the role that this moth plays in ecosystem
dynamics in the western US, its easy to imagine that within the next
century that many of our western parklands could be converted into dense
"natural" forests dominated by budworm resistant spruce, larch and pine.

John Shuey

cherubini at wrote:

> Chris Durden wrote:
> > Pierre is right.We remember the mistakes and deceptions of the
> > chemical pesticide industry. We are angry about the ecological
> > effects of these mistakes and deceptions.
> The "mistakes" and "deceptions" of the chemical industry (e.g. Love
> Canal & DDT) happened 30-50 years ago. It was a era when such
> things were fairly common in a wide range of industries (e.g.automakers
> fought seat belts and catalytic converters). It was also an era
> when scientists and conservationists were people of high integrity -
> people who could be trusted not to use their position of authority
> to frighten and mislead the public to serve some hidden agenda.
> In recent decades the situation has become reversed. The chemical
> industry is continually introducing new products & technologies
> that kill bugs and weeds more efficiently
> while having less negative impacts on the environment.
> But a major obstacle the chemical industry has to face is a sizable
> fringe of extremists in the academic community that is willing to
> needlessly frighten and mislead the public over near zero
> risk issues.
> Take at look at the original Cornell press release
> in May 1999 in regard to Bt corn and monarchs:
> Look at the frightening, sensational, cry wolf type comments
> John Losey and his research partner Linda Raynor made:
> - "Pollen from Bt-corn could represent a serious risk to populations
> of monarchs and other butterflies"
> - "Pollen is that yellow dusting your car gets on spring and
> summer days; pollen is everywhere," explains Losey.
> That's why we are concerned about this problem."
> - "Monarchs are considered to be a flagship species for conservation.
>  This is a warning bell," says Rayor.
> If you check out the Leps-list and dplex-list archives you will see I
> (like thousands of others who have had experience with Bt products)
> quickly recognized Losey's claim
> that the pollen "could represent a SERIOUS RISK to populations
> of monarchs and other butterflies" had no scientific foundation.
> Similarly, the NABA website
> is now making sensational,
> worrisome, scientifically groundless claim that the mosquito
> spraying over New York City represents:
> -"rather significant risks
> not only to humans but to non-target species" and could be
> -"devastating to butterflies and other non-target species,
>  and frightening and potentially harmful to many humans"
> Chris, when the final word comes out later this year or next
> that Bt corn pollen represents a NEGLIGIBLE risk to monarchs
> or other non-target leps will you and others "remember the mistakes and
> deceptions" of the ACADEMIC community? Will it bother you they
> cost the world economy hundreds of millions of dollars, needlessly
> worried millions of people about a non-existent problem
> and wrongfully protrayed the chemical industry as untrustworthy
> and irresponsible? Probably not, because I seriously doubt you
> would view what  Losey & Rayor or the NABA website have done
> represents a mistake or cry wolf type deception. **
> **Please do not interpret this as a personal attack - I have the utmost
> respect for your awesome knowledge and experience with leps and
> I don't think YOU could ever intentionally frighten or mislead the
> public.
> Paul Cherubini

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