Gwynne Dyer had a piece in the Georgia Straight supporting GE crops in general and GE rice in particular.
Here is our response, which we sent to the Straight:
In his article on Golden Rice and the necessity of genetically engineered crops (4th April) Gwynne Dyer makes a number of unsubstantiated claims.
Dyer claims genetically engineered (GE) crops are necessary to feed a growing global population. But about 60% of GE crops, particularly corn and soy, are used for animal feed, a very inefficient way of using resources to feed humans. And in North America, where about a third of the population is obese, we throw away 50% of our food – so why is it we need more food exactly?
Dyer argues that GE crops have helped increase yields, and herbicide and pesticide use are down. Where’s his evidence? A recent synthesis of 120 studies convincingly demonstrated the opposite: http://earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/58
Dyer notes that GE crops pose no risks to human health. How can he be so sure, given there’s no independent testing of GE crops. Our government simply takes the science given to them by biotech companies like Monsanto, and uses that to determine if GE crops are safe. Minor conflict of interest?
Dyer claims that GE rice is necessary to help overcome Vitamin A deficiency, a killer of poor kids in developing countries. According to the World Health Organization, breastfeeding, eating a diversified diet, and periodic supply of high-dose vitamin A in swift, simple, low-cost, high-benefit interventions, costing a couple of cents a dose, will be just as effective: http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/vad/en/index.html But if we invested in swift, simple, low cost solutions, where would the profits be for big bio-tech?