Happily, Judith McGeary, founder and Executive Director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA), has given me permission to copy her news item. She speaks in rather understated terms. Go to the original documents to which she refers, and we're talking about a warning letter from a man who has served for 40 years "in the professional and military agencies that evaluate and prepare for natural and manmade biological threats, including germ warfare and disease outbreaks."
"Based on this experience," he says, "I believe the threat we are facing
What is he talking about? A "micro-fungal-like organism" that is causing "infertility rates in dairy heifers of over 20%, and spontaneous abortions in cattle as high as 45%."
"In summary," he concludes,
because of the high titer of this new animal pathogen in Roundup Ready crops, and its association with plant and animal diseases that are reaching epidemic proportions, we request USDA’s participation in a multi-agency investigation, and an immediate moratorium on the deregulation of RR crops until the causal/predisposing relationship with glyphosate and/or RR plants can be ruled out as a threat to crop and animal production and human health.Dr. Don Huber, Emeritus Professor, Purdue University, and APS Coordinator, USDA National Plant Disease Recovery System, sent this letter to Thomas Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture, on January 17th. And what did Vilsack do with it?
He completely ignored it!
Here is Judith McGeary's summary:
See an HTML version of Huber's original letter about halfway down the page here
Watch the video interview with Dr. Huber about the new pathogen that's threatening our food!
And then tell President Obama to say "no" to GMO Alfalfa and Sugar Beets
On January 17, 2011, Dr. Don Huber, an internationally-recognized plant pathologist and Professor Emeritus at Purdue University, sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack alerting him to a serious problem facing U.S. agriculture. This letter warned Secretary Vilsack of a previously unknown pathogen that "should be treated as an emergency."
Dr. Huber’s letter discussed the new pathogen in dire terms, saying that a top team of scientists had discovered a link between the new pathogen, the steady rise of plant diseases in Roundup Ready corn and soybean crops, and the high rates of infertility and spontaneous abortions of animal livestock consuming feed that had been treated with the weed killer Roundup.
The letter urged Secretary Vilsack not to approve Roundup Ready alfalfa because of the high levels "of this new animal pathogen in Roundup Ready crops, and its association with plant and animal diseases that are reaching epidemic proportions," and to conduct research on the relationship between Roundup Ready crops, glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup), and this new pathogen.
The USDA chose to ignore this warning and less than three weeks later approved two new GMO crops, including Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa, creating a threat to the primary forage feed for US livestock.
The letter, although intended to be confidential, was leaked by a third party, after which Dr. Huber gave permission for FARFA and others to post it. The now-public letter unleashed a storm of accusations and recriminations, including a quick response from Monsanto.
Earlier this spring, FARFA worked with Food Democracy Now! on an interview with Dr. Huber to investigate these new findings and understand the latest science. We were greatly alarmed by what we learned and appreciate Dr. Huber’s courage in coming forward to warn the government about this serious threat to the livelihoods of farmers, animal livestock, and our global food supply.
Watch the full interview with Dr. Huber on Vimeo (the interview is a large file, so if you have trouble viewing it, you can also view individual short segments on Food Democracy Now's website)
Read Dr. Huber's second explanatory letter here
Read an in-depth interview with Dr. Huber by Acres USA
It’s planting season now. If these new Roundup Ready alfalfa seeds go in the ground, it will be too late to stop them from making their way up the food chain -- putting America’s crops, livestock, and ultimately our families at risk.
1) CALL THE WHITE HOUSE
Phone: (202) 456-1111
Fax: (202) 456-2461
MESSAGE: "I'm appalled that President Obama and Secretary Vilsack ignored Dr. Huber's warnings about the threat posed by a new pathogen linked to genetically modified crops and Roundup. It was wrong to approve GMO alfalfa and sugar beets without more research. I insist that President Obama place an immediate moratorium on the planting of these GMO crops."
2) SIGN THE PETITION
Together with Food Democracy Now!, we have drafted a letter to President Obama and Secretary Vilsack insisting that they suspend the sale and planting of Monstanto’s Roundup Ready Alfalfa seeds until independent third party scientific research can be conducted proving the safety of GMO crops. Will you please sign on?
You can view the video and sign the petition on Food Democracy Now's website -- scroll to the bottom of the page for the petition. (note: because of the software, you will be automatically signed up for Food Democracy Now's email alerts, but you can choose to unsubscribe if you prefer)
Oh. Lest someone charge me with being "head in the sand."
* Yes, there are stories that Huber's colleagues at Purdue have claimed his concerns are overblown. "The proof isn't in."
* Okay. Maybe it's not all in. But that's really what Huber said, isn't it? He said, "Let's get the research right before unleashing this stuff in the wild." Specifically:
[W]e request USDA’s participation in a multi-agency investigation, and an immediate moratorium on the deregulation of RR crops until the causal/predisposing relationship with glyphosate and/or RR plants can be ruled out as a threat to crop and animal production and human health.So why did Vilsack approve it? Why would our government keep marching forward despite the warning? Gotta keep Monsanto in profits? (See also this and this and this.) (???!!! USDA Allows Monsanto to Approve its Own Crops???!!!!)
It is urgent to examine whether the side-effects of glyphosate use may have facilitated the growth of this pathogen, or allowed it to cause greater harm to weakened plant and animal hosts. It is well-documented that glyphosate promotes soil pathogens and is already implicated with the increase of more than 40 plant diseases; it dismantles plant defenses by chelating vital nutrients; and it reduces the bioavailability of nutrients in feed, which in turn can cause animal disorders. To properly evaluate these factors, we request access to the relevant USDA data.
* Or how's this for a more thoughtful perspective?