New Yorker editor David Remnick responds to Vandana Shiva criticism of Michael Specter's profile

| | September 2, 2014

In the August 18, 2014 The New Yorker magazine, in "Seeds of Doubt," Michael Specter profiled the work of the environmental activist Vandana Shiva, who for many years has led a campaign against genetically modified crops.

On August 26, Vandana Shiva responded with a scathing rebuttal, posting "SEEDS OF TRUTH--A RESPONSE TO THE NEW YORKER" on her website, commenting:

I wonder why a journalist who has been Bureau Chief in Moscow for The New York Times and Bureau Chief in New York for the Washington Post, and clearly is an experienced reporter, would submit such a misleading piece. Or why The New Yorker would allow it to be published as honest reporting, with so many fraudulent assertions and deliberate attempts to skew reality.

Today The New Yorker released its response to Dr. Shiva sent on August 27. The New Yorker originally intended this to be private communication to address concerns she had expressed to its editors in private emails but decided to release it after Dr. Shiva published her criticism. We reproduce it unedited in its entirety as sent to the GLP by The New Yorker:

Dear Dr. Shiva:

This is in reply to the letter you sent and subsequently posted on the Internet earlier this week. It is not for publication in any way or on your website, but I thought you were asking for a serious reply. So here it is: I should say that since you have said that the entire scientific establishment has been bought and paid for by Monsanto, I fear it will be difficult to converse meaningfully about your accusation that the story contained “fraudulent assertions and deliberate attempts to skew reality.” But maybe I am wrong; I’ll try.

As to some of your more specific problems: Mr. Specter met you in the lobby of your New York hotel; you then talked in a café in that hotel. He didn’t interview you in the lobby. I regret that we suggested you were in Greece when you were not. You did, however, invite Mr. Specter to join the caravan there, and then sent him to an informational site titled: International Solidarity Caravan with Vandana Shiva. The dates on the site were April 26th to May 4th and it gave as locations: Greece, Italy, France.

Part of the problem is that after encouraging Mr. Specter to travel with you both in Italy and India, you apparently changed your mind, and stopped replying to his interview requests (or emails.) Our fact checker also tried for more than a week to contact you directly, as well as through your headquarters in New Delhi. You never replied. Without any participation from you it was impossible to know you changed your plans. Mr. Specter never suggested that the journey was an “unscientific joyride.”

You also charge that Mr. Specter misrepresented your education. We were interested in the field you entered as a doctoral student; but nobody disputes that you received a master’s degree in physics and I am sorry we didn’t note that in the piece. Nonetheless, Mr. Specter “twisted” neither your words nor your intentions when writing about your work history.  When he realized you were not going to grant him another interview he sent you a quite detailed list of questions, two of which asked about your work history as a physicist. Instead of answering his questions, you replied – to me – asking why we were “interested in academic qualifications of four decades ago.

One hardly needs to hold a Ph.D. in physics to become an effective environmental activist, as you have demonstrated. Yet, when a prominent figure, such as yourself, is described for decades—in interviews, on web sites, in award citations, and on many of your own book jackets, as having been “one of India’s leading physicists” it seems fair to ask whether or not you ever worked as one.

It is not true, as you claim, that Mr. Specter neglected to include Africa in his piece.  He discussed research in Africa on Golden Rice, cassava, and maize – which he described as the most commonly grown staple crop in Africa. He mentioned Tanzania’s efforts to produce a version of cassava that is resistant to endemic brown-streak virus, as well as research into insect-resistant cowpea and nutritionally enriched sorghum. Specter also quoted Sir Gordon Conway, who is a member of the board of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, and perhaps the world’s most renowned agricultural ecologist. “In Africa, the pests and diseases of agriculture are as devastating as human diseases.” Conway also told Specter that the impact of diseases like the fungus black sigatoka, the parasitic weed striga, and the newly identified syndrome maize lethal necrosis—all of which attack Africa’s most important crops—are “in many instances every bit as deadly as H.I.V. and TB.”

Your math and conclusions on the issues of farmer suicides and seed prices and values differ from the math in studies carried out by many independent, international and government organizations.  Mr. Specter is far from alone in rejecting, based on data, your charge that Monsanto is responsible for “genocide” in India. In your letter you state that “Specter promotes a system of agriculture that fails to deliver on its promises of higher yield and lower costs and propagates exploitation.” This has always been your position, but as Mr. Specter pointed out in his article, there have been many studies on the effects of planting BT cotton in India, and on the whole, scientists – none of whom were connected to Monsanto –have found the opposite to be true.

You say that the prices of seeds are extremely high, but also that as a result of your action the government regulates their price.  Several recent studies have shown that Bt cotton has been highly beneficial to cotton farmers in India. One of the best recent studies on the economic impact of Bt cotton on farmers found that “Bt has caused a 24% increase in cotton yield per acre through reduced pest damage and a 50% gain in cotton profit among smallholders. These benefits are stable; there are even indications that they have increased over time.’’ The researchers also show that Bt cotton adoption has raised consumption expenditures, a common measure of household living standard, by 18% during the 2006–2008 period and conclude that Bt cotton has created large and sustainable benefits, which contribute to positive economic and social development in India.

You describe in your letter the stories of farmers who you believe were driven to suicide by Monsanto. Specter saw different farmers with different stories. Anecdotes involving a few people out of millions prove nothing. That was why he included the following sentence in his piece: “It would be presumptuous to generalize about the complex financial realities of India’s two hundred and sixty million farmers after having met a dozen of them.”  The anecdotes happened, however, to support the vast preponderance of data that demonstrate that farmer suicides are driven largely by debt.

In the piece, Mr. Specter wrote that you had confused “a correlation with a causation.” That was specifically in reference to your charges that glyphosate caused increases in Alzheimer’s, diabetes, kidney disease and autism rates in America. But you have applied the phrase to another issue entirely.

On a few of the other points you raise:

1.) The Orissa Cyclone occurred in the last week of October 1999. Specter referred to letters from you and Oxfam, both of which are freely available on the internet. It might also be noted that your letter to Oxfam was dated November 4th, the day after the worst of the cyclone had passed.

2.) Corn is considered both a grain, and a vegetable (and by some, a fruit.)

3.) Specter used the anecdote about the farmer and the elephant to illustrate the remarkable complexity and clear signs of progress evident in even the most rural parts of India. Having been to India many times, several of them for this magazine, he is well aware how ubiquitous cell phones are there.

4.) We take particular exception to your charge that Mr. Specter’s physical description of a farmer, with  “skin the color of burnt molasses and the texture of a worn saddle” was racist. It wasn’t. In a 2005 profile he described the Italian designer Valentino this way:  “Valentino spends a lot of time in the sun. His skin, the color of melted caramel, has the texture of a lovingly preserved Etruscan ruin." Last year, Specter described a sixty-eight year old American farmer as having “ a tan, weather beaten face.”

Dr. Shiva, I was distressed to read in your letter that you have been harassed and have received death threats. Nobody has a right to threaten you for expressing your views. It was all the more dismaying then, to learn that just a few weeks ago you posted on your web site a suggestion, made by Mike Adams, who runs the NaturalNews web site, that publishers, journalists, and scientists who support agricultural biotechnology have “signed on to the Nazi genocide machine of our day", and that they should be "tried for crimes against humanity." I am glad to see that you have now removed that awful screed from your web site.


David Remnick


NOTE: For additional context, read the Genetic Literacy Project’s backgrounder on Vandana Shiva–a complete history of her campaigns and views. Also check out the GLP’s in-depth profile of Shiva: Who is Vandana Shiva and why is she saying such awful things about GMOs?

  • Michael Powell


  • rebeccagavin

    Wham bam thank you David Remnick!

  • WineCountryGeographi

    I’m sorry – this is just so sad. These are all niggly-piggly issues, and not addressing the real ones.

    • FosterBoondoggle

      Where have those goalposts moved to now? Help us out.

      In any case, this was the response of the editor of the New Yorker to accusations by Shiva. Not a response to your particular concerns, which might not match hers. If you air those here, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of people willing to try to address them.

    • rebeccagavin

      You do understand that this is a direct response to Shiva’s published accusations against the New Yorker, right? If it’s niggly-piggly, the problem lies with Shiva. Did you even read the original article she’s whining about? This woman gets $40,000 per appearance. Of course she doesn’t want people to know the truth about her.

      • RG

        Seriously? $40,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to Al Gore or Hilary Clinton’s speaking fees. If that’s the straw an you wish to use to criticize Dr. shiva you must apply it to all.

        • Jim

          And my friends 9 year old daughter gets paid nothing for a dance rehearsal while Madonna can clear a quarter billion for a concert tour. Your point?
          40k is the ask for Bob Woodward, Spike Lee and Wesley Clark.

        • rebeccagavin

          If that were the only reason for criticizing her, you would have a point. However, there are multitudinous reasons to criticize her. The amount of money she gets paid is just the icing on the cake. Please tell me how you inferred that I was saying the only criticism against her is her fee?

        • Loren Eaton

          The amount doesn’t matter at all. The thing is she sets herself up as a latter day Gandhi and doesn’t seem to mind if her followers believe that. The rhetoric and the actions don’t match. I doubt she’s ever been hungry. She is, quite simply, a hypocrite.

      • WineCountryGeographi

        Of course, I read the article. I totally support her point of view.


    Thanks for replying to the misleading criticism of Michael Specter’s profile by Vandana Siva . I am one of the millions of cotton farmers benefited by growing Bt Cotton in India. We the farmers would roll out the red carpet to welcome any good technology if it is really beneficial to us. If it isn’t we have the courage and wisdom to show the exit gate.The fact that more than 95% of cotton grown in India are Bt Cotton ,stands as a testimony to the robustness of the technology.( Both Bt Cotton and non Bt Cotton are available for cultivation ). Dr Vandana Siva poses as if this science is the exclusive right of Monsanto. Our Indian Scientists have successfully researched upon and developed indigenous technology by incorporating various desirable traits in various Crops, which are awaiting clearance for field trials.

    • Gaurav Singh

      Clearly, a person who reads and responds to a New Yorker article in english is far from the millions of farmers who are bearing the brunt of BT Cotton. This response is a troll response, most probably paid for by Monsanto.

      • TsuDhoNimh

        And just as clearly, a person who reads and responds in English to a comment on the internet is also very far from the millions of farmers who are cultivating BT
        cotton. This response is a troll response, most probably paid for by Vandana Shiva and her organization. .

        • Gaurav Singh

          ha ha. Well tried at aping my response (Shows lack of any originality in your rebuttal though, and betryas a hint of frustration as well).

          So well tried, but only that a. I did not claim to be a farmer and b. unlike Maonsanto, Vandana Shiva does not have money to pay to trolls..

          • Camiel Ledderhof

            So in your mind no Bt Cotton farmer in India A. speaks or writes English and B. has an internet connection?

          • Gaurav Singh

            Oh the white man’s burden. ‘Making the natives understand what is good for them.

            Go eat the GMO shit yourself and feed it to your family
            Don’t push it down our throats and don’t treat us as a human laboratory.

            And read my response belowabout english and things. I am sure the pathetically fake ‘farmer on a elephant with a mobile story’ REALLY impressed the likes of you. Too bad you and your likes sitting infront of your internet connection buy your philosophies of life by browsing through internet articles of the likes of Specter. The likes of me atleast habe first hand experience of living here and breathing what you read about in the new yorkers.

          • Camiel Ledderhof

            That’s exactly what we’re saying. We think the natives know exactly what’s good for them. We do not need to tell them and neither do you.

          • Josh Mo

            –“That’s exactly what we’re saying. We think the natives know exactly what’s good for them. ”

            This reeks of racism. Imperialist scum havent changed much for the last 500 years !!

          • Camiel Ledderhof

            That was in response to Singh’s use of ‘natives’.

          • Matthew Lashmit

            It’s cotton you fool. YOU eat it.

          • pitriver

            Let’s be clear, you WEAR cotton, you do not eat cotton.

          • Matthew Lashmit

            Yes, that was the implication, that I would not eat it because it’s cotton.

          • FarmerJane

            Here in America we feed cotton seed hulls as an additive in our cattle feed. GMO hasn’t hurt anyone or anything. GMO seed being dangerous is a myth spread by highly educated idiots that want to think they are smarter than anyone else so everyone else has to do what they say. Nothing more. I’m not even associated with Monsanto in any way, BTW. Just a kid that grew up in a farming community.

          • Matthew Lashmit

            I’m not against GMO products, it’s just a more precise way of guiding the evolution of plants and animals that we have been doing since the advent of agriculture.
            I’d read somewhere that they were modifying cotton so that the seeds weren’t toxic and could be used as foodstuffs for animals and potentially people as well, instead of just using the hulls.
            But I still wouldn’t eat it.

          • Josh Mo

            –” it’s just a more precise way of guiding the evolution ”

            Your ancestors should have attempted that .. but

          • BO_stinks

            evidently, yours surely did not.

          • knarf714

            Exactly, there is no living thing on this planet that is not genetically modified. Science just speeds up the process.

          • suzannelehman

            It may soon be all that you are eating. You know they are against your right to choose or know. Why if GMO are so good do they fight hook, line and sinker for the consumer not to know that the food they eat contains them. This right to know and choose is a basic tenet of democracy. Yet, they are taking this choice from us. As once a field of non GMO is exposed to GMO there is no going back. This is all about a monopoly over food. It is sick!!! There are probably a lot of more “precise ways” to drive human evolution as well, why don’t we just start crossing human beings with other species and play around with that and see what a utopian world we can create. I can see it now….. Monsanto’s motto, “Let them eat cotton!”

          • Matthew Lashmit

            “Why if GMO are so good do they fight hook, line and sinker for the consumer not to know that the food they eat contains them.”

            Because of reactionaries like you. You appear to have just about zero grasp on genetics. Want to know how to take a field from GMO to non-GMO? Plant a different crop.

          • joebud

            “It may soon be all that you are eating.”

            Your hyperbolic rhetoric is annoying.

          • Matthew Lashmit

            It’s actually NOT true that all GMO seeds aren’t dangerous, as corn has been allowed to be modified to produce some potent toxins. As this is an obviously dangerous idea, it is all done in negative pressure labs deep inside disused mines (and I think that I should actually not be using the plural form, I think there is really only one single instance of this).
            I would agree that there aren’t any dangerous GMO FOOD seeds.
            … but doesn’t the spider goat put just a little bit of fear into you ;)

          • Harry McNicholas

            So you must buy seed each year from Monsanto. Correct? You cannot take the seed from the previous years crops? Is that correct? Please let me know.

          • daws

            Until the patent wears off correct, you can’t save the seeds, that’s just part of the contract for buying them. That’s what makes spending millions on development and trials somewhat cost effective. The patents are quickly wearing out though, bt cotton’s should run out in the next couple years if it hasn’t already (development was in the mid 90s).

            However you -don’t- have to buy seed each year from anyone, if you don’t like monsanto’s contract stipulations you’re welcome to go anywhere else. Oddly farmers seeing greater profits with them choose to keep buying them. Strange I know.

            But anti-gmo activists know what’s better for farmers than the farmers do so…

          • Harry McNicholas

            A very important part of the contract which you seem to overlook. If I raise corn or any crop where I cannot use the seed produced by the crop, it becomes quite expensive to go back and buy new seeds. Also, studies have shown that the GM plants, which were to reduce the use of pesticides, after a few times the amount of pesticides needed jumped higher than the standard plants. Sorry I will stick to using non GM seeds and put the money back into my pocket.

          • Jon Entine

            Harry, almost no farmers buy anything but patented seeds, whether you are an organic farmer, conventional or conventional using GE seeds. Corn does not hold true from generation to generation, so almost all corn seeds are bought new each year. You are completely off base on your other points. GM Bt crops have cut pesticide use by 90% because farmers do not have to spray insecticides…check out the latest USDA report. Herbicide use using herbicide resistant crops has resulted in a slight increase in herbicide by weight but a significant decrease in herbicide use by toxicity, which is what we care about.

          • Harry McNicholas

            Sorry but I know many farmers who do not buy patented seeds. They then pick the seeds from their own crop to grow next year without having to purchase new seeds. Also, your comment about pesticides is way off. I suggest you investigate a bit more. Yes, they were designed to use less or no pesticides. However, after a few years the insects adapted and now farmers must use more pesticides.

          • Jon Entine

            Harry, with all due respect, you don’t appear to know much about about modern farming. Farmers who reuse their seeds get inferior returns. Some may do it, but their yields are less. As for pesticide use and GMOS, you are 100% wrong.

          • suzannelehman

            Hey Jon, guess who is in charge of the USDA…….

          • anuses

            jon entine, your response does not jive with the claims of conventional farmers who have turned to producing organic crops:

            GMO crops tend to yield better for 3 years, after that Organic crops (grown with good techniques) will meet and sometimes exceed yields of conventional and GMO crops.

            over time, soil quality of organic crops can actually get better…whereas with conventional and gmo monocrop practices it almost always get’s worse…and as time progresses…yields reduce or plots must be rotated and left unused for periods so they can replenish themselves.

            whereas morepesticides are not required to be used….many farmers become more reliant upon them and actually do use more because it is convenient.

            furthermore, anyone arguing that resistent pests and herbicides are not becoming a major issue is just insane and does not grasp reality.

            is GMO better than looking for a natural way of doing things just because it is proprietary?

          • Mlema

            Glyphosate reduces the nitrogen-fixing capabilities of the corn root system.

          • Guest

            Corn is not a nitrogen-fixing plant.

          • Mlema

            That’s correct. Corn depends on “interactions with endosymbiotic, associative and endophytic symbionts” within the root system. Hence, my statement: “Glyphosate reduces the nitrogen-fixing capabilities of the corn root system.”

          • Josh Mo

            Harry … facts dont matter … its pretty obvious by now … its all about who screams loudest

          • nickfrisco

            Wrong! Monsanto is callously rendering their seeds as one-and-done, a shameless profiteering from the most basic life force in nature. It’s utterly criminal and immoral neo-liberalism run amok.

          • Pryz Fytr

            So … it’s OK if YOU, Nick, aren’t paid for YOUR work? Profit is not a dirty word. Greed – the want of UNEARNED wealth, is.

          • nickfrisco

            Being paid for one’s work is all good and well, but to manipulate the basic mechanics of nature for a profiteering scheme is thoroughly disgusting and immoral. that is, the helpful modifications Monsanto may have engineered do not in any way require the additional one-and-done feature. that’s just to attain total control over the earth’s farming. Monsanto is Evil incarnate.

          • truthbetold

            Nick, Feel free to partner up with some like minded individuals and try to compete with Monsanto. That’s what free enterprise is all about. Monsanto has figured out how to server the world and profit handsomely. So, buy poorer quality seed or compete, that is yours and the farmers choice.

          • nickfrisco

            Your suggesting that neo-liberal “free enterprise” is iitself some kind of good thing–when in fact this is the root cause of such a monstrosity as Monsanto being able to leverage and strangle the world’s food supplies. Such simplistic reasoning may serve you well in your tight circle of intellectual reach arounds, but the facts of Monsanto’s rapacious and thoroughly amoral practices are in fact getting much worse. I’m sure you’re a big fan of the pending TPP treaty. How shameless.

          • suzannelehman

            You really gotta be kidding me!!! Free enterprise should not control life…..seed is life. There are companies now that believe that water is not a right, that it should be treated like we treat mineral rights and people have to buy water, that they are not allowed to pump it themselves…..this is the direction this sort of thing is moving.

          • @truthbetold there are laws against this kind of thing. Monsanto is a state run monopoly. There is a revolving door between Monsanto, the FDA and the USDA. Nothing in agriculture is a free market. Poorer quality seed? GM technology has totally failed to produce drought tolerant crops, salt tolerant crops, nitrogen fixing cereals or most of the other things it has promised, while conventional breeding has made great progress using old genestock (the varieties which farmers have been banned from growing for decades ). Crop yields increase every year and have done throughout recorded history for reasons which are not really clear (one possible factor: The average age of farmers has been increasing for years. Older farmers are more experienced. Young farmers make a lot of mistakes). Since GM crops came along the annual crop yield increase has slowed to almost nothing. It’s very easy to produce an experiment where variety A yields 10% more than variety B under a particular set of conditions and then declare that this will be true everywhere in the world for all eternity and take the credit for x million people being saved from starvation. But it’s total BS. The actual evidence that either the green revolution crop varieties or GM crops have actually contributed to rising crop yields (rather than, say, fertilisers, farm subsidies or mechanisation) is pretty slim. Disease resistance often becomes worthless after a few years and new diseases and pests arise. Southern leaf blight which destroyed 1/3 of the US corn crop in the 1970’s ( was caused directly by modern plant breeding techniques. Primitive farmers apparently “bred” a wild grass with seed heads 1/4 inch long into maize without knowing any principles of genetics. There is no evidence that they were even deliberately selecting anything, just harvesting the plants which survived and gave the most seed. Our modern efforts look pretty poor in comparison. Rats evolve resistance to every poison we throw at them, but we don’t take the credit for breeding them, we just say they are evolving in a man made environment. IMO the evolution of crop plants and animals and our adaptations to feeding on them (lactose tolerance etc.) has been something closer to an evolving mutualism between species, rather than an artificial centralised breeding program. Most of our crop plants are ruderals, adapted to disturbed land around human settlements. They domesticated us to serve their evolutionary agenda as much as we domesticated them!

          • I found 17 totally wrong claims in this tirade and not one accurate statement. And u grade generously.

          • Farmer Sue

            You’re right – it’s absolute garbage about lower crop yield and soil health. There is so much wrong in his post, I can only advise him to call his local farm bureau, talk to farmers (not woo gardeners), and read about farming and GE technology. Do you think he will? I’m not counting on it. But it continually amazes me how much urban yuppies have to say about farming, when they have never set foot on a farm or talked to a farmer about why they buy specific types of seeds from many different companies, not just Monsanto. I shake my head in dismay at how little these activists know about agriculture, but how incredibly arrogant they are about knowing so little.
            Don’t grade generously, Jon. Give him an F for blatant and lazy ignorance.

          • I’ve added some online sources for my “wrong claims”. I don’t currently have access to a scientific library, so I can’t find the sources I would really like to share

          • Evidence?

          • BO_stinks

            they’re just helping nature by speeding up “evolution” lol

          • mike t


          • suzannelehman

            Nobody has the rights to ownership of seed. To intentionally sterilize seed in the case of terminator seed and not allow replanting. Is putting the control of seed in the hands of the profiteers. This does make profit a dirty word.

          • joebud

            Any farmer is welcome to purchase non-GMO seed for their operation. Many do it in the U.S. Corn hybrids came on the market in the U.S. in the 1930s and the hybridization process leaves those seeds sterile. This is nothing new.

          • @joebud Welcome to buy non-GMO seed IF it makes the national seed lists. It costs at least 1/2 a million to get approval for a crop variety. Who has the money for that except companies like Monsanto, and why are our governments telling us that we can only grow a tiny percentage of the varieties out there, many of which are in danger of extinction? Governments don’t tell us which brand of washing powder is best we are allowed to decide for ourselves.

          • gmoeater

            There are no sterilized seeds on the market. There are no terminator seeds (duhhhh…. That is why you ignorant activists are always saying that GE seeds are contaminating other farmers’ fields. Ya can’t have it both ways. But then, logic isn’t yer thing.)
            Seeds have been patented since 1930. Wise up.

          • anuses

            proprietary models aren’t greedy? suing non gmo farmers whose crops have become tainted by your patented seed isn’t greedy? using strongarm tactics to bully small farmers and other more traditional agricultural type workers (think seed shakers) is not greed? promoting industrialized overproduced and heavily subsidized monocrops is not greed?

            have you ever read The Informant about price fixing in the lysene biz by ADC….curious?

          • anuses

            this guy gets it.

          • Mark Talmont

            There is a problem though with the “superweeds” that have developed under the pressure of the heavy use of RoundUp. The “Ag Alert” newsletter you will find in every ag tech program in California has acknowledged some farmers are down to one alternative herbicide that works against them. I understand in the midwest some have been driven to use propane rigs to just burn them when no herbicide works anymore. All predictable in light of our experience with bug sprays, I guess we never learn. And we really do have a problem with bee die-off now too, right?

          • daws

            “Superweeds” develop with the consistent use of any herbicides, even organic herbicides. (For organic there are naturally a lot of super weeds already, comfrey for instance is part of why roundup was developed). This is why responsible farmers use a variety of control methods. The solution there is not to then ban any one method but to educate on and perhaps mandate a variety of practices.

            For instance even if one uses only a single pesticide, combining this with the planting of a buffer crop free from that pesticide can help minimize the development of immunity to it, via encouraging reproduction with those not subjected to the selective pressures of the pesticide.

          • nickfrisco

            Sure, Farmer Jane, but even thought your simple assertion concerning the health risks of GMO does not withstand actual scrutiny, what about the other major issue–that of Monsanto effectively owning all seeds, patenting them and suing anyone who doesn’t toe the line?

          • Josh Mo

            –” highly educated idiots that want to think they are smarter than anyone else”

            highly educated idiots can smell corporate-fuelled take over of agriculture a mile away … unlike right-wing lemmings

          • Soul Kitty

            So are you one of the corrolation believers who think organic farming has caused the increase in
            cancer, autism, autoimmune disease and Alzheimer’s??
            And you think that people who want to stop using toxic chemicals and
            technology just want to do so just because they want people to do what
            they say?? Really? This is what you think? Now I understand what the
            issue is. You love toxic chemicals and want other people to use them
            too and the ones who don’t want toxic chemicals in anything they consume
            are just wrong. It’s like you thinking the people who don’t believe
            in the bible as the word of God are wrong but should read the bible even
            if they don’t want to. How is this ok in your world? Why do you think
            it is ok to force people to read your bible or consume your toxic
            chemicals? Its the same attitude as smoking in a closed car with a baby
            and thinking it’s ok, or that smoking in an airplane is ok, or smoking
            in a classroom or building when it is YOU who needs to stop poisoning
            others! The people who don’t want to be poisoned are the people who
            need to be listened to. You poisoners need to be stopped. Just like
            people who believe in their particular religion need to keep that shit
            private! But the thing about toxic farming is you can’t keep it
            private. Your pollution runs into streams that everyone has to use!
            You are the polluter. The burden of safety can’t rest on the polluters,
            because you won’t want to do what’s right because you you don’t think
            anyone deserves to not be poisoned. Yeh, no we don’t want to be
            poisoned. If that makes us smarter and know it alls I guess we will
            just have to live with that. JESUS CHRiST show these people what you
            meant in their book about you. PLEASE!

          • johnb33

            That was the oddest coupling I have ever seen. The bible and religion and those who are pro GMO. A little off topic no?

          • Josh Mo

            –“It’s cotton you fool. YOU eat it.”

            matt lapshit … it was purely rhetorical wasnt it ??

          • BO_stinks

            Josh Mo Ron, inaccurate wasn’t it?

          • vesey

            you finally did as i suspected all along by bringing race into this subject. Your real problems have nothing to do with cotton or farming, but your own personal bias’s and unwillingness to accept that maybe, just maybe some have the audacity to disagree with your views. Your hostility and insulting demeanor bespeaks a person with no tangible argument that can only respond with insults and rude, crude and crass behavior………..

          • chitral

            Right on.

          • gcooke777

            When you are immunized against polio your immune system has been genetically altered. Are you against that? As all humans came from Africa and now are slightly modified to have lighter skin and eyes would you ban all humans that are not African as GMO’s?

            You live in the past. Time to enter the 21st century. Or at the very least the 20th century!

          • nickfrisco

            A shamelessly simplistic analogy. What you’re really suggesting is that it’s okay to genetically engineer the human anatomy to require patented upgrades each year to stay alive.

          • suzannelehman

            Human evolution is so totally unrelated to genetic engineering. But, I guess if you are told something enough, you start to believe it. The correlation has no correlation.

          • chitral

            Sixty-Eight years to stand on your own feet and you still blame the colonists. Most Indians do not even care about the farmers. Land is being usurped by the politicians and the corrupt bureaucrats and turned into development. With fewer acres to farm there is no other way but for the productivity to go up because India’s population growth does not let up until 2050. Bleak times ahead if we do not break out from the current model. All means need to be explored.

          • edwlh

            No need to use that type of language. Please keep it clean and intelligent please.

          • Gordon

            Idiot Child

          • FredFlintstone

            What an ignorant idiot

          • yes, most farmers do not speak english, do not have computers, certainly not internet. If you travel in rural india, you’ll see…

          • Camiel Ledderhof

            Ok, but that not makes a farmer who does speak English and has internet a troll perse, let alone a Monsanto troll.

          • Arun

            Yes, farmers in India do not speak English. My village which is about 100 kilometers away from New Delhi, total population between 3000-3500, and considered a well developed village. I can tell you with 100% guaranty but no farmer speaks English or have access to computers. in-fact most of them do not even read Hindi news paper.

          • Chad

            And yet, here you are, speaking fluent English on a post located on the internet, so you’re also using a computer or smart phone. How is that possible if your village is as small as you say and so few speak English?

          • vesey

            methinks troll arun was caught in a lie, nice retort Chad….

          • Simply Saying

            Not really if you understand that many indians living in cities, New Delhi, in this case, are originally from a village and hence “my village”. Arun may have left his village many years ago.

          • Helena_Handbasket

            *Sigh* There are cell phones and computers in villages, he is saying the farmers in his area do not have them. This is quite possibly true. There are villages where the farmers don’t even speak HINDI, much less English.

          • Josh Mo

            And this is precisely why you should travel … otherwise that little noodle in your head you call a brain essentially shortcircuits and reverts back to a crude primal micro-organism.

          • BO_stinks

            Josh, Mo(ron), why all the personal insults? lol

          • Roger

            Things are different in the State of Tamil Nadu. MANY farmers DO have access to computers and the internet.

          • V.K.V.RAVICHANDRAN

            Camiel is right. According to Vandana Siva’s supporters, the farmer should not share his views in English and should not use computers. They expect us to remain mute and believe their myths and false hood. I use this platform to share my views to the people who can not understand Tamil. What is wrong in it? In Tamil Nadu, all the 12 th standard students studying in Govt Schools are given Lap Tops Free of Cost by our State Govt. More than 75% of these students are from villages and they use computers. They are the next generation farmers. Will the followers of Vandana Siva, disqualify the next generation farmers simply because they use computers and internet.
            Don’t think the science and technology are the exclusive rights of urbanites.

          • Josh Mo

            –“According to Vandana Siva’s supporters, the farmer should not share his views in English and should not use computers.”

            This is a gross misrepresentation of her supporters and essentially a strawman argument.

          • jbecket

            Such misinformation. Vandana Shiva never has said farmers should not use computers. She uses computers on her farm. Nor can imagine her supporters stating that,

          • Mamata

            Dear Sir: many years ago as a budding scientist, I used to be a follower of Vandana Shiva. But as I attended more of her seminars and read her blogs, I saw that she makes no scientific sense and relies on emotional phrases to peddle her nonsense. Slowly I understood that she is nothing but a fraud trying to peddle organic produce. I have nothing against organic farming, but her baseless demonization of GMOs is simply illogical.

            Your voice is greatly needed to preserve scientific logic and agricultural success for India’s food safety. We scientists who try to refute her claims logically are dismissed as “working for Monsanto” even when we have nothing to do with that organization. Personality wise also, we lack Shiva’s linguistic skills and charisma to attract attention like she does. She has infiltrated most universities and colleges in the West also.

            Please write more and expose such frauds who claim to work for your benefit.

          • gcooke777

            Funny but the new crop of Monsanto GMO’s were submitted to 39 countries and 38, all except China, accepted them for import. Last week a huge debate was held by intelligence squared in New York City. Going in about 30 percent liked GMO’s, 30 percent did not, and 40 percent were undecided. After the debate SIXTY percent were in favor, 31 percent against, and 9 percent undecided. So when the science is presented to people they then FAVOR GMO’s and reject your fear mongering and out right lies.

            No major food safety organization in the world, not ONE, is on your side. The science is settled and you lost. There have been over 100 TRILLION meals of GMO foods served with no harmful effects. How much more study do you need than a safety record of 35 years and trillions of safe meals? Your arguments are not grounded in reality.

          • Mamata

            Who are you addressing? In my comment I SUPPORTED GMOs and OPPOSED Shiva’s fear mongering against it.

            Did you read my comment at all?

          • anuses

            just answer the original question about your acreage, and who you sell to….

            judging by your picture alone you seem to be a larger scale industrialized farmer with monocrops…is this a correct assumption or no?

            i hate to assume…but you are avoiding answering this very fair question….

          • shyamal

            why rely on BT call Rajnikant, he can produce lakh tons in one acre. Whatever computer given free computers are used to see rajnikant vijaykant and “other” type of movies only.

          • John Russo

            That all depends on the manipulation of any content posted by the Farmers or their offspring. Monsanto has been known in a number of issues to be using unethical and untruthful practices throughout the world, so why would anyone be convinced that it is any different in india.

          • anuses

            camiel, someone called him the troll for shiva….such accusations on both fronts are fucking petty examples of avoidance. the first question asked to the original commenter is incredibly fair.

          • randakost

            “According to her speakers’ agency, the Evil Twin Booking Agency (we are
            not making this up), Shiva’s usual fee for an American university
            appearance is $40,000 plus a business class round-trip ticket from New

            I think she’s got plenty of money to pay trolls. I don’t think she is, and neither is Monsanto. This is just a pathetic attempt to shut down discussion without the use of any facts.

          • Gaurav Singh

            So go eat genetically modified stuff. Don’t shove it down our throats. Please get rid of the white man’s burden to ‘help the poor, downtrodden natives’.

            Go eat it yourself.

          • randakost

            You want me to eat cotton?

          • suzannelehman

            Monsanto does!

          • vesey

            please get rid of your bigotry………..

          • C G Flanders

            Me thinks the real problem here, Gaurav, is that you in no way, (shape or form), realize how really ignorant you sound to anyone with a modicum of experience……..(about pretty much anything)

          • Josh Mo

            Gaurav sounds perfectly rational to me. Unlike other idiots on this forum !!!

          • kellymbray

            “Not a farmer” and obviously no clue how farming works.

            Add in a racist and a religious bigot. You are quite special.

          • daws

            Now the anti-gmo activist’s burden…they know what’s best for those farmers better than the farmers do after all.

            It’s dangerous, you need to help protect them against their own free choices.

          • suzannelehman

            You can’t call this “their own free choices.” Because it is not.

          • suzannelehman

            I am white and I am so sick of this “white man’s burden” you talk about. It really is the patriarchy that wants control over anyone it can disempower. The poor, women, children. And the deception that they use, as can be seen with this GMO stuff is evil. They are evil incarnate. Nobody, nobody, I will say it again, should have the right to control anyone’s choice in what they want to eat. Or control seed. As I have said before, it is life, it is not some inanimate object like an iPhone or other technology. If people are making profits off these thing so be it. But to make profits off the manipulation of life or any elements in the cycle of life (this includes food and water) is immoral!!!! I am with you white men need to stay out of other people in other countries lives and stop acting like they know what is right for them. They also, use the argument that they are “feeding the world.” The wasting of food in the US is proof enough, that there is enough food alright. It just is not affordable for many people. Whole warehouses of food are destroyed in the US sometimes for various reasons.

          • dcoop

            Then how does she travel to Italy, Greece and Spain? How does she have the money to run her own website? And how Do you know she doesn’t have the money to pay for people to troll?

          • Martin

            Yeah sure…. because she’s an impoverished altruists, who just makes an incredible amount of money with her events…..

          • gcooke777

            Perhaps the reason that Shiva does not have the money to pay for trolls is that her science is JUNK science. Typically when science is correct it gains acceptance.
            In our world we are surrounded by GMO’s. Perhaps you own a pet? It is a GMO. Do you really think that your teacup dog was natural and not the outcome of genetic modification through gene manipulation also called BREEDING?
            Your “natural” farming can support 4 to 5 billion people on this planet. By 2050 we will have close to 9 billion. Would you “naturalists” like the other several billion to starve to death?
            Pharmacists manipulate the chemical structure of antibiotics to kill newer and more resistant bacteria. Monsanto manipulates the structure of plants to need LESS chemical pesticides and deliver larger crops that have both LESS environmental impact and lower the cost of food and other plants for the poorest of the poor to survive.
            What have you done for the poor?

          • chitral

            To add to your post. The World recently celebrated the anniversary of the Haber process i.e. the production of mass production of Ammonia (NH3). This alone is responsible for our ability to support one-third of our current population because of the fertilizer Industry that came from that. Science makes it possible for us to progress. Do fertilizers cause harm ? Yes they do sometimes but like everything else we then need to tweak it so that it does not get into run-offs etc impacting the ecosystem. GM is a more focused almost pinpoint solution.

          • suzannelehman

            There is a tipping point…..

          • Raj

            “Typically when science is correct it gains acceptance.” One good example where this theory fails is in the life of Nicola Tesla!!

          • suzannelehman

            What is gaining acceptance is more and more countries, all over the world that have independent studies on GMO. Not the studies that Monsanto does in the US on itself. Which are not independent nor are they long term studies. In places where independent studies are done more and more are rejecting GMO’s. Just look at Europe for example. And everyday more countries are rejecting GMO’s. Breeding is mixing dog genes with other dog genes and traits. Not mixing other species with totally unrelated species that would never mate or mix in any other environment than in a Petri dish in a lab where the genes are forced together. Breeding of dogs is not even remotely related to Genetic Engineering.

          • MJBinAL

            Oh contraire, the Enviro Wackos have lots of money. Much like other religions such as Scientology, money is seldom an issue.

            I suppose her globetrotting ways are paid for by cookie sales?


        Gauravji, from your reply it is clear that you have grossly mistaken our farmers to be rustic and uneducated lot.I suggest you to visit some villages and interact with farmers first. I am sure you will change your preconceived notion about our farmers.If you wish ,you are most welcome to our place and I will introduce you to lot of farmers who are well informed and knowledgeable. Please don’t trivialize our farmers.We support the technologies that benefit us in the farm front, no matter where it comes from. We the farmers sincerely wish indigenous GMO Technologies are developed by our Indian scientists.But the anti development activists side track the issue and veto the efforts of our own scientists through flimsy arguments and rumor mongering tactics.Sir please let me know whether you would refrain from using a technology including computer,cell phones etc simply because they originated in a foreign land? Why do you marginalize farmers alone?

        • Gaurav Singh

          Mr Ravichandran,

          Not being able to read and speak in english, or not reading uncle sam’s new yorker magazine is NOT equivalent to being rustic, ill-informed, or illiterate.

          This is exactly the kind of prejuidice, class distinction, and language apartheid a typical urban bred brahmin middle class person would be born and raised up with.

          I don’t need your invitation to do a ‘village tour’.I know and work with too many farmers whose land holding is the size of an ‘american home backyard’, as Specter put it condescendingly in his article, (and indirectly trying to indicate that Monsanto’s GMO stuff will help rescue them).

          • AtariBaby

            It seems you also have a great misunderstanding of American society, if you presume that “The New Yorker” is under the control of “Uncle Sam”.

          • chitral

            Oh that is a very common impression that most people living in India have. Having been fed the socialist mantra starting with the first PM and still continuing today, most Indians believe that the Govt. runs everything. This is because in India the Govt. does run many businesses (almost all running losses for decades) and has its hand in everything leading to widespread corruption.

          • Josh Mo

            Drop the hype. It may not be under the control of Uncle Sam but it definitely genuflects deeply to its corporate masters. In other words it is controlled by corporate media. Same thing different bosses.

          • maodeedee

            Who is Uncle Sam? The Obama administration? They are most definitely in bed with wall street, the banks, and those corporations who they favor.

          • bamboobob

            more bullshit

          • Larry Adams Jr.


          • mike t

            Monsanto is Canadian not American. how Obama or America enters the equation confuses me.

          • SKB

            Correction: Monsanto is not Canadian. The headquarters are in St Louis MO.

          • mike t

            Monsanto has research and distribution facilities in alberta, Saskatchewan, Edmonton, british Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba, Ottawa, winterpeg, and others throughout Canada.

          • SKB

            I’m not denying their presence in Canada. Monsanto is a multinational corporation, but it was founded and is still headquartered in the US.

          • mike t

            yes. st. Louis. thank you.

          • jack_sprat2

            Your confusion is something upon which it may profit you to ponder. It would seem that Monsanto has established itself in the Canadian mind as a “Canadian” company. One suspects that this is both because it affords protection against the typical reflexive Canadian hypersensitivity and paranoia about all things American and because it drapes the largely unacknowledged cloak of Canadian jingoistic self-regard over the company, so as to make it seem somehow “un-Canadian” to criticize it, or its actions or products.

            Note: Should your brain overheat trying to digest this, might I suggest a quick plunge in an ice bath?

          • MJBinAL

            Wow, that was an impressive, if meaningless string of psycobabble.

          • Dlehman

            By conducting its research outside of the U.S. Monsanto is not required by Federal laws to release unfavorable results.

          • jack_sprat2

            Curious, that the Canadians so accommodate themselves to serving as Monsanto’s shield from environmental justice, as though they were some desperate 3rd world country, providing “safe” harbour for the dumping of dangerous electronics waste and moribund shipping tonnage.

          • MJBinAL

            Ah yes, those evil corporations. Increasing crop yields and reducing starvation, improving nutrition worldwide, introducing new products and technologies that provide the highest standards of living the world has ever seen. Damn Them!

            After all, the Enviro Wackos have been predicting we would run out of food for decades and those evil corporations and farmers worldwide keep growing more and more food! How are the Enviro Wackos EVER going to convince people it was better when half of them died young to reduce the burden on the earth if nobody starves?

          • joebud

            Monsanto has research and production facilities around the world.

          • SHYAMAL


          • jack_sprat2

            That’s ever the way with jingoists, isn’t it? So much easier to point the finger at some mythically powerful, or otherwise nefarious, “Other”, rather than cleaning up the messes for which one is oneself responsible. Particularly, when one isn’t nearly done looting one’s fellow citizens.

          • MJBinAL

            Finally something you know something about … being a “jingoist”.

          • Marice Nelson

            their world headquarters is located in st louis

          • bamboobob

            what bullshit

          • Wendy Barnes

            Assuming all 8-10 million NYCer’s even read The New Yorker, what do the other 322 million Americans think, Josh No? Can you speak for all of us?

          • johnb33

            I would also contend that the average reader of the New Yorker know little to nothing about farms, farming, or GMO’s (except what their hipster friends post on facebook)

          • Josh Mo

            If you think its not (despite occasional flurries of hand-wringing), then you have a deep misunderstanding of embedded media and its progeny.

          • Larry Adams Jr.

            SUUUURE Ataribaby…..
            Allow me to be clear, EVERTHING coming out of New York has to crawl out of Washingtons A$$ before they can print ANYTHING…
            So, don’t lie, its not becoming, nor are we changing our minds

          • MJBinAL

            you have a mind? Hey, we are starting to do brain transplants, and you might be a great donor .. I mean, everyone wants one that has never been used ….

          • chitral

            What a piece of crock. The last vestige of a person who cannot make a sensible argument – label the person ‘a brahmin’ if that is not apartheid (reverse may be) then what is. What relevance does his language have ? Bring up valid arguments before disputing science and progress. It is a well known fact that more farmers in India commit suicide because of crippling debt. That is a fact if you needed an example. The problem of GM seeds upsetting the current economic model (hardly discernible in the current mostly Govt. supported form) may be real but needs to be state such. But don’t blame the lamb sipping water downstream.

          • mike t

            but Monsanto’s product affecting the lamb sipping water down stream is.

          • Josh Mo

            Gaurav i fully agree with your characterization.

          • MJBinAL

            In other words, Mr Singh is a propagandist and is uninterested in actual evidence that would challenge his story.

          • Raman

            At last the secularist who suddenly brings in caste into the debate.

        • Sure, some farmers with large landholdings, or a few urban folk-turned farmers have computers and internet access. The majority do not. And I include dalits and tribals and poor folks as farmers. I am not against biotech, but against a few entities have control over seeds.

        • suzannelehman

          Why do you not answer the question???? How much acreage are you farming???? You state, “the fact that,more than 95% of the cotton grown in India are Bt cotton, stands as testimony to the robustness of the technology.” There is nothing scientific about a correlation like this, it does not prove anything. What I really want to know is the acreage that you farm, for how long you have been farming and who do you sell your product to???????

          • robinaltman

            We would NEED to know WHERE this GMO Cotton is being grown.

            Also, how are the crops being harvested? I keep finding reports of unprotected female children harvesting the cotton in India.

          • MJBinAL

            Protected from what?

          • MJBinAL

            He did not represent himself as a farmer, he is accessing freely available information.

            TRY READING

    • be

      For the sake of argument, could you than tell us, the acreage you have under your control? Keep in mind, that farmer suicides attributed to Bt cotton are highly prevalent among farmers of with smaller landholdings, who simply can neither afford the costs associated with keeping Bt cotton safe from other pests and weeds, nor do thy have alternatives to using any other form of seeds readily available to them.

      BTW incorporating desirable traits into various crops, is not the same as genetic engineering.

      Also, the issue here is as much about choice, as is of seed resilience. What might work for one (financially stable industrial size farms, who can afford pest resistant seed at high costs, but with substantial returns on investment) might not work for another (subsistence farmers with precarious financial background , with low costs input, selective indigenous seeds, that yield marginal profits but do not endanger their economic well-being).

      • Charles

        Incorporating desirable traits is, and always has been genetic engineering. Though your question seems to be posed as an unbiased one, your views are quite evident.

        a product is regulated as genetically modified if it carries some trait
        not previously found in the species whether it was generated using
        traditional breeding methods (e.g., selective breeding, cell fusion, mutation breeding) or genetic engineering.”

        Generally it costs less than 100$ USD more per acre of GMO corn compared to traditional seeds. That means on average 761$ Per acre of modified vs 680$ per acre of traditional.
        If as you say smaller farms would struggle more with this, so would their costs be substantially lower than larger farms, who would actually struggle more with the ever-increasing cost initiatives involved.

        Smaller farms would comprise of what, 10-20 acres, while the vast majority comprise of 50-60 acres, and “Industrial” farms comprise of 100+.
        Globally, 70 percent of all farms are less than 2.5 acres.
        That’s an investment of around 162$ on average for the difference in seeds.
        That’s nothing to commit suicide over, and to insinuate that is to fail to take a myriad of issues into account.
        Don’t blame a horrible thing like suicide on something that has, and will continue to feed millions for decades to come. That’s degrading to the people who lost their lives.

        • eimar clark

          Your first statement is untrue – so I didn’t bother reading on. Breeding in animals for desired traits has always been sexual through successive generations. This is also the case in plants using classic Mendelian genetic to breed successive generations.

          GMOs are modified artificially through direct interference with the organisms genome in the lab. Selective breeding it ain’t. What’s more, genes modified in this way are inherently unstable, making their behaviour a high risk ecological factor. Even worse, they are known to be capable of cross ing the species barrier. And this r instability leads to increased propensity mutations in much more dangerous ways than those that occur through natural selection. It also makes the very concept of patent redundant

          • Michael Adkisson

            Please explain ‘inherently unstable’ genes

          • Rajbir Sandhu

            “Inherently Unstable” A scientific theory projected as untrue by quacks and pseudo scientists who have sold their soul for a pay check from MONSANTO and the like!

          • Michael Adkisson


          • MJBinAL

            Ah, in other words, something the enviro wackos invented to support their new age religion.

          • Rajbir Sandhu

            “Inherently Unstable” A scientific theory projected as untrue by quacks and pseudo scientists who have sold their soul for a pay check from MONSANTO and the like!

          • Gene

            inserted genes are inherently unstable because they lack a network to keep them there. plants are very good at housecleaning and a single gene acting on its own may be evicted if it interferes with pathways

            for an example look at the transgenic trees from u.oregon.. after about 15 years the trait is lost

          • Michael Adkisson

            There is nothing even remotely true in the above word salad.

        • robinaltman

          Hybrid crops don’t have viable seeds for replanting. Your estimate of seed costs is bogus. Once a field has been planted with GMO Corn or Cotton, nothing else will grow in that field except weeds or the GMO Hybrids.

          • Charles

            That’s an extremely common myth. GMO seed germinates like any other. Please elaborate on why you believe the soil becomes magically infertile. That’s also a myth.

          • MJBinAL

            yet another enviro wacko invented theory invented to support their new age religion.

          • Farmer Sue

            That is utter nonsense. Farmers in my area rotate crops yearly between GE and conventional crops. Don’t know where you got your misinformation, and it’s a doozie, but you obviously did not talk to a farmer. Please do.

      • A.Kumar

        At the outset I must confess that I am a layman. However, in view of my own experience as Manager of a Bank in rural area, I had taken lot of interest to ascertain reasons for failure of cotton crop. For no cause, in spite of most reliable seeds, robust care, weeding, regular and required water flow, the budding plants would simply dry out resulting into huge loss and grief to farmers. Many experts from fertilizer industry, agro-techs etc. had visited farms and done experiments but no one came back with the possible causes. However, one agrotech explained to me that fertilizer industry would not say anything as it was a matter of their own intrests. In India most farmers combine natural and chemical fertilizers. Many farmers when plants are ready for cotton flower give chem.fertilizers. These chemicals have insoluble salts and they remained stored around roots of cotton plants that prevents breathability and abnsobtion from soil. In no time the plants die. As cotton plants roots do not grow much lower in the earth they die very fast. If this is being read by some expert, I would urge to give a thought to this and research the matter. Chemical fertilizers are no good for cotton plants after certasin stage, should be combined with manure that can dissolve salts.

        • MJBinAL

          yea right, and this magical process ONLY takes place in India. Here in the southern US where we also grow cotton, this magical process has never taken place.

          Voodoo from New Orleans preventing it ya think? Pffft.

    • 42apples

      I’m wondering what are you doing to minimize the spread of resistance? I know that Siva’s a crackhead, but there is a legitimate concern that pest-resistant GMOs won’t work in the long term without education about planting conventional buffers and other methods to make sure that the trait stays effective.

    • kumarswamy

      Your paragraph shows how ignorant you are on GM corps.

    • Kluyasufoya

      well said and good luck in your continued endeavours sir.

    • Corky

      And by the way, the Gene Revolution is not about ‘solving the world hunger problem’ as its advocates claim. It’s about handing over control of the seeds for mankind’s basic food supply—rice, corn, soybeans, wheat, even fruit, vegetables and cotton—to privately owned corporations. Once the seeds and their use are patented and controlled by one or several private agribusiness multinationals, it will be they who can decide whether or not a particular customer—let’s say for argument, China or Brazil or India or Japan—whether they will or won’t get the patented seeds from Monsanto, or from one of its licensee GMO partners like Bayer Crop Sciences, Syngenta or DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred International.

      • Big Steve

        I’ve grown things before, and the seeds didn’t come from Monsanto.

        Name the seeds you want. They are probably at Wal-Mart right now.

      • suzannelehman


    • Sunil Sakhalkar

      Please tell us how long you have used the BT Cotton. I will ask this question again to you in five years.

    • When I wore my India Organic Cotton vests and t-shirts, it feels so soft and nice.. The other cottons (Bt cotton? I don’t know) OTOH makes me feel irritated, rough and not smooth at all.

      I’m not saying Organic Cotton is better, but where is the soft texture gone? Am I right to ask this question?

  • Susanne Günther

    Thank you.

  • Rob

    Apply cold water to burned area

  • Brent BT

    Wonderful to see the skill of a seasoned journalist deftly applied.

  • Dhyan

    Awesome reply. Fear mongers like Vandhana Shiva are responsible for the sufferings of small house hold farmers who are not able to benefit from the modern technology in Agriculture,

  • GC

    which study are you citing David that Bt Cotton has been beneficial to indian farmers? shouldn’t we have visibility to that? what are these *recent studies* ? lets see who conducted them or paid for them.

  • Enthusiast

    Vandana Shiva and her genre must be tried for crimes against humantity! Good reply.

  • Jf_queeny

    *drops mic; walks away*

  • T R Shankar Raman

    Point taken: we need to go by the best science there is and not obfuscate or mislead based on recalcitrant ideology. Still, many questions remain open.

    In the editor’s reply, it would have been useful to include a response to Shiva’s point about the Monsanto-sponsored media promos that included New Yorker publisher Condé Nast (, which led some other reputed authors to back off. A clear statement that New Yorker and/or Specter was not paid by Monsanto for this story would have sufficed, but is missing.

    While Shiva’s intensely hardened stances seem to make no sense, there is merit in some considerations she and others have tried to bring into the reckoning: agroecological alternatives that may be as good or better but get little industry or state backing, crop diversity and seed freedom, long-term impacts on agro-ecosystems. I wonder if her rigid stance and the present focus of attacking her for the straw men she has raised, will both further weaken focus on these underlying issues that are far more important than this he said–she said argument.

    Also, the comparison, often made nowadays, that environmentalists often want people to believe in science when it concerns climate change, but not science when it concerns GMOs is a bit blinkered. Climate change science has matured with a much broader sweep of research in space and time, being truly inter-disciplinary, including very long-term data sets on climate, wild species and ecosystems, and human societies: very crucially including ecology and social sciences. The GMO-biotech and industrial agricultural sciences, while doing excellent science, no doubt, has been more narrowly focussed and reductionist in space, time, and research questions. It would help if these sciences, too, expanded into wider issues and incorporated long-term ecology and social science considerations.

    Still, as someone famously remarked about science: science has the first word on everything and the last word on nothing.

    • Pooks

      This is the most brilliant and well reasoned response I think I’ve ever read on internet. The world would be a better place if there were more like you.

      • Gaurav Singh

        I agree

    • Well, I would differentiate between science and tech. GMO right now is tech, with the science still unproven/partially understood. A lot of optimistic tech has bombed in the past (dozens of examples where the ill effects showed up in a generation), and science, in fact, would alert us to gain a seriously better understanding of things before meddling this seriously with natural processes and organisms.

      • AtariBaby

        So weird when people categorize “GMO” as some kind of new, barely understood science, when mankind’s genetic modification of food is its oldest scientific endeavor. And anti-GMO sentiment is nearly always just that, sentiment. Rarely is there anything but fear and emotion on that side.

        • scorpio

          probably ever increasing rate of cancer in US is also just that, a sentiment without any truth. hope you get peace of it someday soon

          • Actually, the rate of cancer has been steadily decreasing, and in particular stomach cancer–both corresponding with increased consumption of GMOs. Find another faux reason to oppose GMOs.

          • AtariBaby

            I imagine that scorpio now believes the American Cancer Society was bought off by Monsanto.

          • AtariBaby

            Also, scorpio recommend you google the phrase “correlation is not causation”. Not that you’ve established a correlation…

          • Pooks

            Oh Jon Entine, your ideological (and probably profit driven) support of GMOs is truly a thing of wonder. Your insinuation that GMO consumption has resulted in less cancer is as egregious an example of the violation of “correlation is not causation” as Dr. Shiva’s statements from the article. A bit ironic when you consider the “scientific” approach that you so loudly promulgate.

          • Jeff Leonard

            Pooks, irony is obviously not on your radar. Entine was poking fun at all the ridiculous correlations people have drawn between autism, alzheimer’s, whatever else and GMOs. In this case, the writer, scorpio, didn’t even have the direction of the rate change correct yet they were still trying to make that connection.

          • kellymbray

            Shill gambit anyone?

          • kellymbray

            Cancer is a disease of age. We have people living far longer than before.

          • Mlema

            We also have 2 year olds with cancer – so that kinda blows that one outta the water

            And, we have for the first time in memory a generation facing a shorter life expectancy than its parents. Not saying any of this has anything to do with GMOs. Just saying you’re wrong.

        • I’m not saying its barely understood. But that it’s partially understood – in its systemic implications. Purely from induction, it should be provable that the way industry constructs scientific “proof” for products is incomplete and tech has proven to be unreliable/unsafe/unusable in many instances after a few years of its usage with the belief otherwise. I’d really be wary of screwing around with natural processes on just that. Esp for biology, where the tech is already way behind the science, and the science barely understands natural systems as it is. There’s too much human conceit despite enough evidence to be cautious about playing God all the time. Yeah, it’s fear, but its founded in facts.

          • gcooke777

            As we wait for proof millions stave to death and die. We HAVE proof but to what degree? Do you require ABSOLUTE proof or a simple preponderance of evidence?

            To date there have been ZERO demonstrated ill effects of GMO’s. Is that not enough proof? Or do you require zero ill effects for 100 years to be satisfied?

            GMO’s are no more playing God then cross breeding dogs to create a new breed. The fear and restraint you refer to could be likened to limiting such breeding until it is proven that the new dog breed won’t give it’s human owners some new strain of flu.

          • jlock00

            Hmmm… or could a cross-bred dog become a danger to humans because of mixed instincts, such as the coy-dog? I think I understand your thought process but in this I think you are comparing apples to oranges.

          • gcooke777

            Crossbreed from a lab or a kennel. The difference is simply how the genes are altered. Comparing red delicious apples with Fuji apples.

          • gcooke777

            Actually I am comparing Fuji Apples with Red Delicious Apples. Both dog breads and GMO’s are created by MAN through genetic manipulation. The only difference is that with dogs it’s a crap shoot, with GMO’s it is intelligently done creating foods that grow with less fertilizer, less pesticides, and increase the amount of food produced per acre improving the worlds foods food supply.

            Then there is the FURTHER improvement of the environment by decreasing the pollution created by farmers chemical use.

          • Mlema

            “dog breads” Yum. GMOs can cross-breed ANYTHING! :)

          • gcooke777

            I’m 53 years old and wear bifocals. You try typing on an iPhone and see if you have an error or two!!!

          • Mlema

            Sorry man, I can empathize. I was just trying to be funny. But the comparison between transgenics and dog breeding is scientifically technically inaccurate.

          • gcooke777

            Both are genetic manipulation. The only difference is the gene manipulation method, yeah?

          • Mlema

            Yes. But the method is the key to their difference. And I just wrote and then deleted a small textbook to try to explain how that is – but – it’s not something that can be succinctly described in a blog comment. And it certainly wouldn’t be fun to try to read on an iPhone.

            Suffice it to say: when you get past the fact that they both create new plants, they are not the same. And transgenics are prone to changes in gene expression, as well as in their secondary metabolism. Not all GE techniques are equally disruptive to the plant. And I think we need to keep this technology viable for many reasons. But pesticide-tolerant and insect-resistant commodity crops aren’t doing much to help that goal. In fact, it’s my opinion that biotech corporations like Monsanto are bad for transgenic science.

            Thank you

          • gcooke777

            One cannot argue with perhaps or with gut feelings. I have a gut feeling that Monsanto having no altruistic motivation might be not as good a choice as perhaps a university. Perhaps if our government would spend more time fighting hunger and disease and less fighting wars that option might be more available. Alas at this moment the politics of fear prevails and all we have left are corporations like Monsanto. A real pity.

          • Mlema

            I think it’s a symptom of the economic changes that have happened over the last 30 years. And I can tell you there are farmers here in Indiana, as well as disenfranchised and disillusioned scientists who would like to see a return to a more public and community-based approach to seed development.

          • suzannelehman

            If Monsanto were truly fighting hunger. They would not monopolize seed. Once they have control of seed. They will have control of price and distribution. They aren’t going to and aren’t now feeding people for free, they aren’t going to give an endless supply of seed and fertilizer to anyone. There is another problem I have not seen talked about here and it is the effective of pesticides on bees. The bee population is at great risk and much of our food is dependent on bees for cross pollination (at least a third of our food supply). If we lose the bees we lose a large amt. of our food supply.

          • gcooke777

            Monsanto is here to make money. They MAKE that money by designing seeds and plants that make FARMERS more money by needing less pesticides and larger crop yields. If you like bees you should LOVE GMO’s as they require less of the stuff that is killing the bees. You argue in circles that make no sense. You want to back to plants that need more pesticides, more fertilizer, create 70 percent more greenhouse gasses per bushel, and give us 1/3 less food per acre???

            Exactly how is that a good thing? I’ll bet your parents were scared that cars would make horses less useful too.

          • sderax456 .

            we have 7 billion people. 1 billion are starving. half of the world’s cultivated food goes to waste, and the u.s. gov. pays farmers to leave thier fields fallow, and destroy crops, to up the price. we can already feed the world, but companies like onsanto will never let us.

        • bewing

          GMO and thousands of years of selecitve breeding (what you are referring to) are completely seperate. Please get learn the science of GMO before commenting so ignorantly.

        • sderax456 .

          i don’t remember reading about man mixing flesh eating bactieria with ebola fish and corn in the past, but if you say so……

          • AtariBaby

            Yes and we also now use strange mechanical beasts instead of oxen and stone plows.

    • AtariBaby

      That was Victor Hugo. You appear to be lumping in activists and left-leaning Huffington Post readers with actual scientists. Liberal groupthink might be right about climate change and wrong about GMO’s and wrong on vaccinations. Your statements on the quality and quantity of the two scientific fields is interesting, but certainly not established as reasonable, much less sourced.

    • Country

      You make it sound as if everyone accepts climate change as ‘science’.

      In reality “Myth of Arctic meltdown: Stunning satellite images
      show summer ice cap is thicker and covers 1.7million square kilometres. MORE than 2 years ago…despite Al Gore’s prediction it would be. ICE-FREE by now”

      • RS

        I want to know what they are going to do about those dam volcanoes spewing all that bad CO2. If we shove Al Gore in one it may help.

        Over the past 250 years, humans have added just one part of CO2 in 10,000 to theatmosphere. One volcanic cough can do this in a day.” (Ian Plimer)

        • gcooke777

          Imagine a 100 gallon tub that has 1 gallon a minute leaking out the drain and one gallon a minute coming from the faucet. If you ADD one once an hour does the tub overflow???

          Nature has a CO2 balance when it creates a certain amount of CO2 and absorbs the same amount leaving about 150 to 200 PPM in the atmosphere.

          Humans add about 3% to the annual CO2 creation on our planet. Over the last 200 years that has increased atmospheric CO2 from 200 PPM to 400 PPM. Just as the tub overflowed from a small amount of water so has our planet overflowed with CO2.

          Virtually ALL scientists, even climate change critics, accept that conclusion. The argument for or against climate change is not CO2 increase but what that CO2 increase does.

          Please feel free to argue climate change but do so with correct facts.

      • Hazel Motes

        The “Daily Mail” is barely one step above the “National Enquirer.” A temporary blip in a long term trend does not mean that the trend is an illusion. If the ice cap is smaller next year, will the climate change denialists reverse course and admit they were wrong? Of course not – they will either claim that the shrinkage is “normal,” or they will point out that Al Gore lives in a big house and flies around in a private jet.

    • vesey

      your assuming everyone believes AGW is valid let alone proven science……….if she uses AGW as a pillar for her agricultural views then she’s on very shaky ground indeed…

    • gcooke777

      Based on your response using the microscope of other comments you sir are a charlatan (please note that is sarcasm). You write in clear and concise English, you are obviously educated (either self or university), and you are pragmatic and fair. How could you therefore be Indian???

      Your comparisons of GMO’s to Climate change is quite deft. I would put it this way… People take science and decide to believe it or not based on preconceived notions. After you come to your conclusions those you speak with determine if your opinion deserves respect based on their preconceived notions.

      “Environmentalists” believe in climate change and the danger of GMO’s. More centered people believe in climate change and that GMO’s are safe. More extreme people think everything is a conspiracy and deny climate change and think GMO’s are a plot to kill the masses.

      When Indian farmers leave suicide notes saying they killed themselves because of GMO’s I might take Dr. Shiva’s opinions more seriously. Until then I will stick with most suicides are due to either mental illness or great loss, financial or personal, or a combination of both.

      As some advice to Dr. Shiva I suggest that she takes her HUGE speaking fee’s and international connections to fund some independent studies of GMO’s demonstrating their danger or find a cause she more skilled at championing. Simply twisting existing studies to support her preconceived conclusions is maddeningly inane.

      Great post Mr. Raman.

      • chitral

        Most farmer suicides are because of crippling debt. Three digit interests rate charged by money lenders is not uncommon. The Govt. agencies continue to apply bandage by keeping them on the dole rather than teaching them to lift themselves up.

        • gcooke777

          Agreed as I stated above in my comment.

  • Michelle

    Simply an awesome, fact-driven and direct response! Apt for Vandana Shiva and her croonies. Having worked in India, I can tell you that she and her circle of friends are extremely rude, have done a phd in yelling and drowning voices of truth, but excel in bringing visibility to their inventions based on malicious information. Recall how she compared biotech to rape! Ridiculous! it is a well know fact among the media too, on how Vandana and other anti=GMO activists pay construction workers to pose as farmers at their famous dharnas in Delhi. Heartfelt gratitude and thank you to Michael and you David. Bravo!

    • Gaurav Singh

      Ha ha. ‘Having lived and worked in India’. I know what that means- expat communities, evenings in bars and restaurants, and living in isolated cocoons, interacting with a bunch of foreign educated indians and NRIs.

      God- will we now have to bear the opinions of the ‘having lived there so know them’ american whites!

      • chitral

        You don’t get out much do you !

      • Hiten Vasa

        You really take the cake . . . . You argue any and every point, immaterial if it relates to main topic.

        It only reflects on shallowness of your mind / thoughts . . . .

    • Shiva might be rude, but the point is that its dangerous to let a few corporations and their government lackeys control seeds of the world’s food supply

      • suresh

        So what is Vandana’s and your proposal? To let a few governments (meaning a few bureaucrats and politicians) and a few hand-picked non-governmental organisations (no doubt, Vandana’s own among them) be in control? Now remind me: who chose to implement the now criticized “green revolution” in India in the 1960s and 1970s? Monsanto? In case you didn’t know, it was done by the Indira Gandhi government with a pivotal role played by C. Subramanian.

        Do wake up: governments are as capable of private companies in doing harm. Just to remind you, there is still no proper accounting of the environmental damage inflicted by the goverrnment of India and the various state governments since Independence. A partial list includes the environmental damage on account of the various dams, the damage inflicted by our badly designed and run nuclear plants (incredibly both run and monitored by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board), the pollution of major rivers (I cannot forget the awful sight of chemicals from tanneries going untreated into the Ganga at Kanpur!), the damage to soil resulting from subsidizing fertilizer which results in its overuse (there are increasing health problems due to this)…..I am sorry but none of these can be traced to the evil multinational corporations or even the evil domestic private companies. It’s our elected governments which are responsible for them.

        There is no doubt we need proper environmental regulation (which includes policies on GM crops) both at a national and international level. But I doubt Vandana Shiva will deliver it. As an Indian, I am happy she spends her time moving and lecturing in the West. The West can tolerate her nonsense, we certainly cannot.

        For those fanatical supporters of Vandana Shiva, spare me your bile: I already know how bad I am.

        • HI Suresh, I fully agree with you on the Govt’s apathy to the environment and involvement in harmful projects, from mining in forested Orissa to rampant dams in the Himalayas to the proposed river inter-linking. However, this is a different topic from seeds, agrobusiness and MNCs. There are many threats, and players in environmental and social destruction. The green revolution was implemented by the Indian Govt, by lackeys bankrolled by big money from western MNCs.For instance, the International Rice Research Institute, based in Manila and funded by the WB, approached IARI in Delhi to access India’s collection of rice genetic diversity. Dr Riccharia, the then director, refused,. He subsequently got transferred by the govt to a place where he was powerless…

          • suresh

            Dear Amartya:

            Some responses:

            1. The green revolution was implemented to overcome a severe food shortage problem in the 1960s. To an extent, it did solve that problem. The environmental problems that resulted were not seen by anyone at that time, and so one can argue that from the perspective of the time, it was the “right” policy.

            2. Calling everyone who advocates a different policy from what you advocate, a “lackey” is a cheap tactic. Not just that, it doesn’t help.

            3. If the problem is government corruption, then this will affect all policies (including those advocated by you or Vandana). Do you have a way of miraculously rendering your policy immune from Indian government corruption? Or a policy which will make the government corruption-free?

            4. I am afraid we are stuck with a corrupt society and government for the time being. We have to design policies recognizing that. However, so far as I can see, while Vandana screams against the MNCs, the World Bank etc., she seems to let the local institutions which encourage and foster corruption off the hook. That is not useful.

            5. Finally, in my view, policies on GM food, agribusiness and the environment are all related.

      • RS

        So company’s spend billions to develop a product but are not allowed to own it? They (farmers) are free to plant anything from anyone. If their products have no advantage why do they want them?

        I think it is dangerous to let a few record companies and their lackey musicians control the worlds music too….

        • Well, its not that simple, The companies get free access to hundreds of varieties of crop cultivars that have been bred for thousands of years by countless peasants, then obtain patents on their own crossbred versions, and would like to charge the world for those. This has been an issue for the past several decades. Its true that farmers can choose not to plant, the thing is that they were offered subsidies by the government back in the late 60s to switch to high yielding seeds with accompanying chemical packages. 20 years later, the world bank and IMF forced the govt to remove subsidies, forcing farmers in a bind to buy the package at higher prices, because after 20 years of using fertilizers, the soils were depleted of micronutrients, and nothing woyld grow unless more NPK was applied. I’m talking specifically abt India. There are some small farmers in remote areas who are stil growing their traditional varieties.
          As to music control by a few record companies, i’m totally with you there..

    • MarkDonners

      A little reality for you, Biotech is no different than rape. That is actually putting it mildly, genocide pales in comparison to the criminal activities of the Biotech gangs. The Biotech thugs make what Hitler or Stalin did look like a walk in the park. And you’ll have to do better than “she’s rude” as an attempt at slander.

      • TheNuszAbides

        hello, Mike Adams.
        please elaborate in quantitative detail as to how “genocide pales in comparison”. you certainly seem to have absolute righteousness on your side – how difficult could it be to accompany that with actual information?

  • Prism

    A great reply. Hats off to then new york times. We need to dismiss these fake reformers for what they are. Shiva probably does not even have a PhD, because there is hardly any worthwhile publications with her name on it.

  • Pamelabanana Jean

    How does Agent Orange 24D fit into this equation? Are crops really
    becoming tolerant to such a substance? Isn’t that harmful to the
    environment? There are many very good qualities about biotechnology, don’t get me wrong, but still finding myself concerned. Can someone ease my mind here? Why are bees dying at alarming rates? A person can’t have be progmo without others bringing up these points. I then feel foolish, because I don’t understand any of it.

    • Loren Eaton

      You need to do some reading on Agent Orange. First, 2,4-D is only one part of the mixture along with 2,4,5-T. The toxic component of AO when it was sprayed all over Vietnam, was dioxin. This compound was a by product of the process used to make 2,4,5-T and current processes don’t produce dioxin.

      • MarkDonners

        Don’t start prancing around with words, 2,4-D is an Agent Orange toxin, and like the other Mosanto atrocities, is a lethal poison peddled by a criminal company that should be crushed and bankrupted for its assault on humanity and on the future of the earth.

        • TheNuszAbides

          if only factual detail were as effective as emotional rhetoric, would your incisive one-liners help you feel better or worse?

  • Schratboy

    Praise be to god of biotech.

  • Dave Wood

    The New Yorker should not be so hard on Vandana Shiva. If she is to be believed, her activities could be helping US crop exports. One
    example (of many) is the earnings of US farmers from the export of Bt genetically modified cotton (where there is competition between the USA and India in global trade).

    Following the introduction of Bt cotton in India production shot up. Cotton (lint) production in 1995 was 2,188,370 tonnes, rising to 5,321,000 tonnes in 2012. This increase in production of over 3 million tonnes at a value of $1600 a tonne was worth nearly $5 billion a year.

    Yet Vandana Shiva claims that her court action against the genetically-modified seed company Monsanto delayed its plans to cultivate Bt Cotton in India for four years. If her claim is to be believed, she could have cost Indian farmers the value of four years increased production – almost $20 billion. The USA, where cotton production was almost static over the period, would have benefitted from reduced competition in global cotton trade, with USA farmers and cotton exporters pocketing probably several billion dollars.

    However, Shiva’s claims may not be true. Her operation “Cremate Monsanto” failed. In fact it was the rapid spread and success of illegal Bt cotton, first in Gujarat, that forced the hand of the Government of India approvals process in favour of legal Monsanto cotton seed. Vandana Shiva could not hold back the spread of Bt cotton in India – liked and grown illegally by farmers, despite Monsanto.

    There is also no evidence that her other targets have been a success: slowing the “Green Revolution” in India; preventing India from importing palm oil; preventing Brazil from growing GM soybean; or preventing Europe from growing GM soybean (needed for Europe to reduce imports from the USA – Europe had long ago decided this itself).

    • Anne

      David Remnick’s reply is praiseworthy. He has taken many things into account before writing this letter like the fact that Vandana is an educated female hailing from a 3rd world country and may lack the skills to assimilate into the global literary world and global business community. Fact that the population of India has doubled in the last two decades even though the country is facing drought and many other things. What India fails to teach their masses is have a meaningful debate. They fail miserably at inclusive conversatiions and instead encourage one to merely speaking their mind in public. This works in India where only a quarter of the population know how to read and write. But when one uses the same tactics in the west, they can’t manage the criticism and so resort to humiliating the critique. The west’s expertise is in managing criticism. They prepare students(99.9% of the population) at grassroots level to handle criticism. They require their masses to be good at this for wealth building and management. I was so impressed with this article that I made my children read it. Gandhi won freedom movement because he was a educated and Humble. Other India freedom fighters before him failed to move the masses because they were all educated but arrogant because they came from wealthy families and the Indian Classes system was drilled down in their heads and they couldn’t see all men as equals. Lets learn together from our past mistakes for a brighter future.

      • MarkDonners

        GMO is poison, and anybody supporting or peddling it is on the side of criminals. There is no debate about that for anyone who wants a clean and healthy and surviving world.

        • nardone

          Great argument1 i’m right and anyone who dares disagree is practically a criminal. Did you pick this up from your spouse?

          • kellymbray

            I think he was smoking weed and watching Alex Jones.

        • mick

          Mrk donners Your opinion is worthless without facts , there is no debate about that.

      • chitral

        You are right on. There is no better example than Gandhi on one side and Nehru on the other. The latter an elitist was arrogant and sadly responsible for the socialist morass he and those who followed him turned India into. Though India is at dawn of a new period now.

  • Loren Eaton

    Have you ever worked with someone who constantly shoved their credentials down your throat? I thought it was my imagination, but Shiva is extraordinarily pleased with herself. I mean “International Solidarity Caravan with Vandana Shiva”. How do you spell pretentious? Her writing is filled with self-serving nonsense just like that.

    I also thought it extremely odd that she got so hung up on where she and Specter met. Who cares? The point is that they had a face to face conversation. I think she was deflecting just a bit.

    “Part of the problem is that after encouraging Mr. Specter to travel with you both in Italy and India, you apparently changed your mind, and stopped replying to his interview requests (or emails.)” Really…bad…form. Totally unprofessional. I think after a while she probably began to realize that he wasn’t just going buy into her BS like some naïve millennial. A common tactic of anti-GM types who can do very little unless they’re preaching to their own choir.

    • MarkDonners

      Jealous? Vandana Shiva is right, and the criminals in politics and corporations that are committing massive crimes are wrong. You know the GMO criminals are on their last legs when they practically go psychotic attacking the messenger, especially when the messenger speaks the truth.

      • gcooke777

        The truth? The truth is your DOG is a GMO. The truth is all humans are GMO’s. The truth is ALL food and all plants and all animals are GMO’s. The question is HOW they were modified.

        • Warren Lauzon

          I named my dog Frankenhound.

          • gcooke777

            Does he have bolts in his neck???

        • Mlema

          that’s right – it’s how they were modified. We don’t have any transgenic dogs. If we did, people might be more aware of how messed up these organisms can be. It depends on many many things and it’s unwise to talk about GMOs as if they are one homogeneous issue.

          • gcooke777

            Spoken like a true non scientist. An article from earlier today said the argument against GMO’s is DEAD. Farm animals have been served the equivalent of 1 TRILLION meals since 1996. The outcome??? ZERO increase in ANY disease. Let me repeat ZERO. If you don’t LIKE GMO’s that great. But it is NOT science.

            Here is a link that will take you to the studies.


            PS MOST organic foods are NOT organic, they just cost more and are worse for the environment, and are MORE likely to make you sick than GMO’s.

          • Mlema

            I’ve already read them my friend.

          • gcooke777

            Wonderful. Then you realize you were mistaken and we can now be on the same side!!!

          • Mlema

            After you read them, we’ll talk.

          • Corky

            You sound like a passionate 24 year old that is on the wrong path. You are being duped by your own articles that you quote. The abstract said that historically to date, GMO feed with regard to livestock animals is COMPARABLE! to non GMO (including other commercial feeds). That does not explicitly translate to safe. Even thought the author says so, Sorry. What they do with GMO’s is constantly evolving so what was alledgedly safe yesterday is not necessarily safe tomorrow. And thats a big point. GMO corn that produces BT toxin to keep worms from eating crops might sound like a good idea until you realize YOU are eating BT. And more importantly once a strain like this is grown in mass, the wind blown pollen mixes with other corn and then the genie is out of the bottle. Can’t undo. And believe me, what BT does to insects, you don’t want it to do to you. But it’s safe, we are humans, we are different, that won’t happen. Are you really willing to bet on that.
            Next corn issue, terminator corn. Corn that is sterile and must be grown from seeds that are purchased each year. Gone is the traditional “save your seed” that has existed for a very long time. What about the poor farmers whose corn is pollinated with terminator corn and can no longer grow from seed? Is that not the shittiest thing you could imagine? Well it is.
            How about being sued for growing a patented strain that showed up by accident and losing everything because you won’t buy from the Syngenta or Monsanto etc. ? Still loving them? Still think it’s all about feeding the world? It’s about controlling the world’s seeds and making a ton of money. wake up.

          • gcooke777

            How about spoken like a 53 year old physician with an undergraduate degree in physics from an Ivy League university? I couldn’t think as slow as an environmentalist if I tried…

          • myastromails myastromails

            you didnt really reply to his questions and btw your usage of your undergraduate degree in physics sounds a lot like Shiva’s usage of her degree which the article above criticized!

          • sderax456 .


          • sderax456 .

            most of the people who fervently ddefend gmo’s aren’t consumers, thy’re industry insiders, or gmo farmers, who are stuck on the gmo train. they are not worth argueing with anyway.

          • Yep, you nailed it. The 88% of the top scientists in the US–all members of the American Association for the Advancement of Medicine–who believe that GMOs are safe are all industry insiders and GMO farmers. Good analysis on your part.

          • sderax456 .

            you are so full of shit, i could grow organic corn out of your mouth

      • kellymbray

        You must be an Alex Jones fan.

        • sderax456 .

          you must be growing cancer in your rectum, from all of the gmo’s you eat!!

      • BO_stinks

        how could anyone be jealous? jealous of a liar? lol. To frame your weak argument on jealousy is…. weak.

  • Kevin Costa

    Very well said. Thank you for this firm and clear response to Shiva’s shameless and baseless fear mongering.

  • Codie Petersen

    Oh wow, dude kicked out the two stilts she used to look down on people and then offered his hand and asked, “Now, do you want a civilized debate?”.

    Good shit.

  • MountainView

    Conde Nast publishes The New Yorker. Conde Nast has been in league with Monsanto to promote GMOs. Do your research, people.

    • FosterBoondoggle

      I think you meant “sheeple”. And you forgot to mention how we’re all being turned into zombie slaves by the chemtrails.

      • Super guest

        I thought marijuana legalization was the method of turning us in to zombies.

    • charles davenport

      Sent to the Editorial Board of the New Yorker:
      my August 25 issue, I find apparent Monsanto/GMO apologist Michael
      Spector’s Seeds of Doubt throwing out an array of specious arguments for
      GMOs, among them:

      a) equating genetically modified cotton crops to cross bred food crops.

      not presenting all negatives of the GMO cotton experiment in
      India–twice the water usage of conventional crops, seeds must be
      repurchased yearly at a cost up to 1,000 times conventional seeds…

      Naming organizations certifying unnamed GMO “foods” as “safe”, while
      declining to mention countries (and provinces of countries) that have
      banned GMOs; including most of France, despite the assertion of the
      French Academy of Sciences (listed by Spector).

      Debunking a scientific study against GMOs; of course, no studies were
      taken by Monsanto prior to unleashing GMOs upon the world in 1996.

      suspect there exists evidence pointing to ill effects of GMOs, but in
      an obvious hatchet job, the author would scarcely be expected to mention

      wondering whether The New Yorker’s readership feels principally
      insulted, astounded, or alarmed, by The New Yorker’s publication of this
      intellectually shoddy article.

  • Genesis 11:9

    Arrogance, delusions and moral certitude in combination is a very dangerous brew. This lady has the recipe.

  • Ken Burch

    Not really sure the response “destroys” Dr. Shiva’s points.

  • suresh

    The problem is not so much Vandana Shiva’s “critique” of genetically modified crops but rather her position (on everything!) that anyone who disagrees with her is absolutely wrong. As Michael Specter notes, it is difficult, if not impossible, to argue with her, or for that matter, with her supporters. You can argue with someone about evidence but not about ideology.

    It is tempting to simply ignore her but that only risks reinforcing her and adding to her legion of supporters. It is a thankless job that Michael has undertaken, for which, he deserves our thanks. It would be nice if Indians (I am one myself) challenged her more and it is a pity that this has not been the case so far.

    • MarkDonners

      So according to you, there are two arguments for Ted Bundy or Hitler, let’s all be fair and hear both sides. I don’t consider it a “job” for the pro Hitler crowd, no matter how you portray it as “thankless”

      • gcooke777

        What do GMO’s and Hitler have in common? This is about SCIENCE and not about politics. I find it very revealing that you have associated politics and science. It clearly demonstrates that you see science as political in nature. Is that why you pontificate about the subject instead of looking at the facts?

        Let’s make this fair and avoid the name calling. Please tell me SPECIFICALLY what leads you to believe that GMO’s are dangerous/ unhealthy?

  • Michaelj

    Thank you for calling out this charlatan, it needs to happen more often.

  • Charles Glasgow

    I can see someone in Asia or South America or even Mexico putting Elephant D N A into corn or wheat grain to help fight dementia or Alzheimer’s. But I also see the nightmare in marketing it. If the label is a fake, you suddenly have the elderly in the U.S. France, China walking around with tusks and nasal cavities that NEED to suck up water. Wow, what thought Almost comical if it weren’t so realistic.

  • oldoldtimer

    If GMO crops are so safe then why did Monsanto find it necessary to get a bill passed protecting them from suit if their GMO’s sicken or kill? Monsanto Protection Act. Bing it.

    • That’s not what the bill says and it has nothing to do with Monsanto. Here are the facts:

    • RS

      Another baseless accusation. Come on we are not low information Eco-terrorists like you.
      The provision ( Farmer Assurance Provision refers to Section 735 (formerly Section 733) of US H.R. 933) was a response to frivolous procedural lawsuits against the USDA which were attempting to “disrupt the regulatory process and undermine the science-based regulation of agricultural biotechnology.
      A necessary thing these days where crazed Eco groups sue endlessly to promote their agenda.

      • MarkDonners

        The provision was for one thing, to protect themselves from being indicted for their own crimes. And part of covering up their criminal activity is of to course to label any critic of them a “crazed eco” as you are doing.

  • BulletBoysTour Manager (Iwish)

    Sorry toots, that caste system response don’t work here. You’ll get called out quick when you try this dumb sheet.

  • ag

    Whatever Remnick says, it turns out that the publisher of the New Yorker, Condé Nast, is rolling out a promotional plan in partnership with Monsanto.

    • RS

      I guess you have indisputable evidence of you accusation? I must have missed it.

  • TPMelbourne

    Never let the facts get in the way is the activist creed. If you are twisting and or distorting facts to make your point, the reality is you do not have a point.
    All should be free to express their opinions but when the facts stand in opposition to the expressed opinion it needs to be pointed out that the view is at last merely an opinion.

  • clernfimmel891

    Is Monsanto still pushing BST in milk products? Why not label GMOs?

    • bobito

      Why label them? Every major world health organization says they are just as safe as conventionally farmed food.

      • clernfimmel891

        Does every major world health organization have a problem with labeling them?
        I don’t. Why do you? An informed public, what’s the harm in that?

        • bobito

          I have a problem with doing something for no other reason that some fringe group wants it done. If I said that I don’t like New Jersey, so I want all food to be labeled if it’s farmed there would you have a problem with it? If yes, why? An informed public? What’s the harm in that?

          Also, you are already informed on GMOs. If it doesn’t say organic on it there is a high probability that it contains GMO.

          • clernfimmel891

            Your opinion. Mine is label them.

          • mick

            I want to know food is from. I also want to know what is in it. Labels showing CHINA as source (especially in raw foods) allow me to decide to buy or pass.

        • agscienceliterate

          Look at all the labeling bills in the US that have failed. They’d mislabel foods that aren’t gmos (like sugar; once gmo sugarbeets are processed into sugar, there’s no protein. Thus no gmo DNA), and exempting tons of foods that are gmo (like most cheese, made with gmo chymosins.) Every labeling bill has been sloppy and inaccurate, and would give consumers zero additional information about nutrition and safety.
          Do you support labeling for foods produced by mutagenesis? (including lots of organic) Really? why not?

  • SGT Rock

    It appears that Vandana Siva, and Mike Adams use pseudo-science to justify an opinion as fact. Whether it is genetically altered seeds or fluoride in drinking water or irradiated foods means nothing to these people, the cause against science is everything to them. My guess is they would rather see millions starve or relegated to extreme poverty than see science as a savior. Go to their websites and see they postulate opinion as fact with no genuine scientific research to back up their drivel.

    • MarkDonners

      Don’t even try to convince people that the likes of Monsanto are in this for altruism. They history reads like a terrorist group, and everything they do is for their own profit. There’s no “science” involved except the “science” that makes the most money no matter how many die, no matter how much the future of the earth is destroyed in the process. You don’t even have pseudo science to fall back on go back to high school and finish your education instead of boasting you are GI Joe the scientist grunt.

      • paganpink

        Whatever. WAKE UP!

      • gcooke777

        Yes Monsanto makes money. So what? IF in the process of making money they DOUBLE the worlds food supply and cut in HALF the pesticides needed to bring those foods to market what is the problem with that? In the case of bt-cotton it doubles the cotton output of the farmer and cuts the need for fertilizer and pesticides dramatically. THE HORROR!!!!

      • chitral

        Is that not the very definition of a Company ? To create shareholder value ? It is up to the regulatory agencies and vigilant society that they do so in an acceptable manner i.e. within the law. Private enterprise has resulted in most of the progress humans have made. Governments esp. the socialist and corrupt Govt. of countries like India (under discussion here) with their bloated apparatus have kept the people poor.

      • bobito

        If it weren’t for people like Shiva selling unfounded doubts about GMOs there wouldn’t be all the barriers to market that prevent small operations from developing and selling GMOs. If you hate big old Monsanto, fight to remove the restrictions on GMOs so that others can get into the market and give them competition…

      • agscienceliterate

        Monsanto is in it for the money.
        Starbucks is in it for the money.
        Microsoft is in it for the money.
        Apple is in it for the money.
        Suburu is in it for the money.
        What the H is your point?

  • Markus

    Lets see it from a totally different perspective. Where in the world are dying humans of hunger? Not hunger because of natural catastrophes, but because of systematic failure to care for their own people. There are only a few countries in the world where this happens, and one of it is India, over decades the Indian society just accepts it and the world too. This women is the voice of all green fascist ideology who does not care about people, but well being of nature without people. Can anyone explain how green technology shall be environmental friendly if it needs double the amount of arable land too feed the population of the earth? Can anyone explain, why ecological labeled products use more dangerous chemicals like sulfur and copper then any conventional product? Can anyone explain why an ecological produced meat should
    be beneficial for sick cows, swine and poultry is better because the farmer is not allowed to give them antibiotics, vermicides and other modern medicines? This ideology is not only dihonest to its opponents, its lacks respect to nature in its basics. Just look at green ideology in ‘Mein Kampf’ and you find it all, starting in German romatyicism up to genocide-it will never stop as long as men does not accept that nature can only function if he is part of it and not the enemy of of a wonderland for a few privileged.

  • jarold henderson

    hey singh……….your an asshole, and a moron. no bigotry here, i just call it as i see it. your a waste of space.

  • Jodi Koberinski

    Specter’s piece was simply sloppy- and not because Dr. Shiva finally stopped engaging as the New Yorker’s editor points out… Blinded by his own world view and assumptions – including this religion of deterministic genes at the expense of real, modern science which sees soil as an intelligence, seed as an intelligence, and context as everything – Specter seems to have set out to do an attack piece. Movements are not so easily shaken, no matter how many millions are spent to convince the world that the excesses of monoculture are good for us, there is no putting people back to sleep….

  • Pieareround

    I hear that quality soil in India has gotten so expensive the poor can no longer afford to eat dirt. Curse you Monsanto. And cell phones too.

    • agscienceliterate

      And computers. And cars. And electricity. And literacy.

  • Conor Flynn

    One problem here is poor journalism, and especially poor science journalism. There are valid positions on both sides of the GMO debate, and moderates would even say that maybe both GMO and organic agriculture are important, but name-calling and one-sided debate doesn’t help.

    For me, the real issue is a scientific question: can GMO crops sustainably out-produce other alternatives, particularly the organic small landholder polyculture that Shiva champions? Shiva claims that local, diverse agricultural systems can produce more and healthier food per acre than green revolution mass monocultures, especially in the long run.

    Unfortunately, while Specter’s article questions some of Shiva’s claims, it does little to fill this crucial knowledge gap.

    I’ve reviewed some of Specter’s other “science” journalism here:

    • Loren Eaton

      Conor, first of all, Shiva isn’t qualified to make these determinations one way or another. Second, in North America organic yields lag behind conventional (and GMO) yields by 10-20 years depending on the crop.

      • pignut

        A sweeping generalisation. Organic cereal yields are lower. Yields fromorganic pasture fed meat and milk about the same or greater (and costs reduced). However there are caveats with the cereal yields. Organic farms are typically small, in less than perfect land (marginal hill country a lot of the time), and often managed by less experienced farmers. Conventional cereal farms are typically on top quality flat land and managed by people who have spent their whole lives calculating the price of fertiliser, tractor fuel, state subsidies and grain. When cereal yields from organic farms on good flat land are compared to conventional cereal yields on good flat land the gap in yield narrows considerably

      • agscienceliterate

        Totally wrong, Loren. In my area, gmo sugarbeet farmers make 40% more.
        (Do you just make this crap up?)

        • hyperzombie

          n my area, gmo sugarbeet farmers make 40% more.

          and folks wonder why sugar beet farmers went from 0% to 99% in less than 6 years. HT sugar beets are a no brainer for sugar beet farmers.

        • Loren Eaton

          I think we’re on the same side, dude!! Conor’s the one you need to yell at;-)

  • MarkDonners

    The guilty always shriek the loudest and try to kill the messenger when their profits are being attacked. The Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Dupont, Sygenta criminal corporate group, have enough money to keep shrieking until the snowballing process of people waking up their criminality eventually drives them bankrupt. Here’s the message for the Monsanto may fool some of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time. The biotech “industry” just like the drug cartels are arranging their own suicide, which will be a welcome relief to a viciously abused world.

    • paganpink

      Yet here is this wealthy woman, who although she never worked as a physicist describes herself on book jackets as “one of India’s leading physicists” who is now manufacturing out of whole cloth claims that modified cotton hurts farmers financially- which it does not, it helps them in every survey done- and expects anyone familiar with the science to not disagree with her. She is a fraud.

    • agscienceliterate

      Anti-corporate rants instead of science aboout biotechnology. Sooooo boring.

  • MarkDonners

    GMO is a dangerous poison. Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto’s Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, “developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females.” The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. Everywhere GMO is being grown, food allergies, disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others have been skyrocketing in the human populations.

    There has been a drastic decline of crop-pollinating insects all over the world, and what this means for the future of the world’s food supply. Wild pollinators like bumblebees, butterflies, and beetles are basically disappearing. GMO industrial agricultural practices are causing this insect genocide. Pollinating insects in general, which include a wide range of insects and other animals, are simply vanishing from their normal habitats and foraging areas. That lower diversity and lower abundance of wild insects means less fruits and destruction of the diversity of plants and their fruits worldwide.

    GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.

    GMOs increase herbicide use. Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant”―surviving deadly weed killers. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide. Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.

    GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.

    By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.

    GMOs do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world.

    Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report Failure to Yield―the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield.

    The toxins associated with GMO should never be tolerated. NEONICOTINOID PESTICIDE neurotoxins are absolutely the main factor causing the collapse of bee and pollinator populations along with other lethal chemicals, glysophate, etc. When these poisons are banned as they were in Europe the bee populations start to recover. GMO neonicotinoids, roundup etc. MUST BE BANNED OUTRIGHT and all the farmers along with USDA, Biotech and chemical companies told to cease and desist from what they are doing.

    An even scarier prospect: the “BT” version of GMO soybeans and corn, (basically pesticides engineered directly into the plant )

    The “BT toxin” gene is put into the DNA of the corn in order for it to manufacture its own toxins that kill pests. The BT gene originated from a soil bacteria that also infiltrates the microflora (friendly digestive bacteria) in your gut. The Bt gene converts the microflora in your intestine into toxin-manufacturing machines.

    So, to be clear, eating GMO corn products can cause your gut (which is primarily responsible for keeping you healthy) to turn into a breeding ground for tiny little pesticide factories inside your body, actively creating toxins which are designed to kill living things. These toxins are found in the blood and are readily transferred across the placenta to developing babies in the womb.

    • paganpink

      nonsense. sheer nonsense.

    • agscienceliterate

      You don’t mean the widely discredited Seralini rat study, do you? Why don’t you read real science?

  • muslimdog

    Environmentalists are by nature whack jobs.

    • Hal


      • muslimdog


  • Stephen Morrow

    And who are the shills behind the GLP promoting their own agenda ? Clearly the project has nothing to do with literacy. This doesn’t say much for the New Yorker either…propaganda and disinformation abound…

    • TheNuszAbides

      assertion without… anything?

    • agscienceliterate

      Shills, shills, shills. You guys always fall back on “shills” when you can’t think of anything else to say. Is that the best you can do?

  • Hazel Motes

    Shiva falls into the same camp of conspiracy-mongers who ignore mountains of evidence, while generalizing from minutiae or bad science. Anti-GMO activism contains elements of the same hysteria that can be found among 9/11 truthers, climate change denialists, Biblical creationists, and people who think “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” is accurate. Shiva’s kind of activism is unfortunate in that it quells meaningful debate, and forces the discussion into a dispute between “all GMOs are always good, all the time” and “all GMOs are the work of Satan.”

  • DrColostomy

    She reminds me of Al Gore…..unqualified, lying hatemonger!

    • agscienceliterate

      Oh, poor baby … did you get colon cancer from gmos?
      Al Gore lying about climate change, you mean? Ain’t it a BITCH when science shows stuff to be likely true?

  • buzz

    Seems the Indian witch just wants to have a one sided story and lies to go a long with it…seems like she does what all libs do…one sided stories and nobdy needs to have a different real side of issues…just if they agree with liars like her…it sucks to be a lib…no cure for it…always fatal..

  • ZenBubba

    While Vandana Shiva may be right on just about everything, it’s the attitude and whole self-promotion thing that many find so odious.

    • bobito

      This sounds like classic cognitive dissonance to me. You first assert your position (Shiva is right on just about everything), then come up with a reason why reasonable people differ from your opinion (finding attitude and self-promotion odious).

      I can assure you, the reason people have a problem with Shiva is that she is wrong on just about everything when it comes to GMOs…

      • ZenBubba

        What I said was, “…..may be right…”. I did not wish to assert that Miss Shiva was right in this instance, or any other for that matter,, but only to suggest that perhaps her attitude needed some adjustments.
        Furthermore, since I do not now, nor have I ever held two contrary opinions simultaneously, I guess your whole cognitive dissonance theory is also in error. Also just as a little heads up! Being snide and condescending diminishes your credibility.
        Also, please be absolutely certain that I shall not require any assurances from anyone in the comments section henceforward

        • agscienceliterate

          Her attitude ? Yeah, she’s a narcissist. No prob whatsoever manipulating truth and making piles of money from fearmongering.

    • Warren Lauzon

      She is right about almost nothing, that is the problem. She even lies about her qualifications and background, then starts spewing all sorts of anti-science baloney. And if anyone thinks that she is loved and admired in India, just look over some of the many articles about her, such as this one–-and-getting-rational-people-to-believe-her

    • agscienceliterate

      She’s right about nothing, from a science point of view.
      She’s right on about how to make tons and tons of money from peddling fear.

  • Steve Iversen

    I appreciate this response very much.

  • nykbbl

    The fourth point is still wrong, though not necessarily deeply racist. The writer does describe the Indian farmer in a condescending and disparaging manner. The first part of the descriptions, describe the Indian farmer as ‘burnt molasses,’ burnt generally conjures somewhat more negative connotations. Burnt body, burnt food, burnt forest. Valentino, who has a name, is described as melted caramel. Melted caramel sounds pleasant and is the basis of many desserts. The American farmer was described as tan, an actual Crayola color.

    Two, the second halves of the descriptions also possess a similar tinge. The Indian once again gets the shabbiest treatment. Velentino is described as an ‘Etruscan antiquity,’ something of great value and beauty. The American farmer has a ‘weather beaten face.’ Not very positive, but within the American mindframe brings up notions of hardworking sons of the soil imagery. Even if you disagree it beats the poor ‘worn saddle’ our Indian farmer is described as. A saddle, a utilitarian object placed upon an animal, which you’d place your rear upon.
    Possibly your writer has come to hate all Indians in the process of hating Vandana Shiva, or maybe he is a racist, or just some yuppy hack shill who gets a thrill out of bullying and spitting upon the most unfortunate and non-white of us.

  • nykbbl

    The fourth point is still wrong, though not necessarily deeply racist. The writer does describe the Indian farmer in a condescending and disparaging manner. The first part of the descriptions, describe the Indian farmer as ‘burnt molasses,’ burnt generally conjures somewhat more negative connotations. Burnt body, burnt food, burnt forest. Valentino, who has a name, is described as melted caramel. Melted caramel sounds pleasant and is the basis of many
    desserts. The American farmer was described as tan, an actual Crayola color.
    Two, the second halves of the descriptions also possess a similar tinge. The Indian once again gets the shabbiest treatment. Velentino is described as an ‘Etruscan antiquity,’ something of great value and beauty. The American farmer has a ‘weather beaten face.’ Not very positive, but within the American mindframe brings up notions of
    hardworking sons of the soil imagery. Even if you disagree it beats the poor ‘worn saddle’ our Indian farmer is described as. A saddle, a utilitarian object placed upon an animal, which you’d place your rear
    Possibly your writer has come to hate all Indians in the process of hating Vandana Shiva, or maybe he is a racist, or just some yuppy hack shill who gets a thrill out of bullying and spitting upon the most unfortunate and non-white of us.

  • Bob

    Yeah, I’ve lived with a farm for 7 decades. Serious about this. Without good outside support, it really can be enough to drive ANYone to suicide.

  • Ronnie Alonso

    1. Once you buy seeds from Monsanto and harvest the crop, the resulting seeds cannot be used for replanting or Monsanto will sue your pants off.
    2. If your neighboring field has non-Monsanto crop and your Monsanto crop cross-polinates with non-GMO crop, you may not be permitted to use those seeds since it has Monsanto crop gene. Monsanto will sue your pants off.
    3. GMO crops and nicotinate based pesticides are responsible for declining bee populations. Bees are responsible for crop pollination – remove them and there is a significant drop in crop output – with or without Monsanto seeds.
    Monsanto is in India to make money – you wont find them in Ethiopia or Africa where there is not much money to be made. So let’s keep that in mind – they are not in India for charity. They make decent profits which keeps them there.

    • agscienceliterate

      1. Of course they can’t. Nor can many hybrid and/or organic seeds. Seeds have been patented since 1930.
      2. Of course you can’t; it’s misuse of a patented seed. Big Org will also sue your pants off if you steal their patented seeds.
      3. Nope.

      • Mlema

        There’s no proscription against re-using patented seeds, one may not use them to develop their own. This is the difference between GMO traited seeds and patented hybrids. There’s no law against me planting seeds that were pollinated by my neighbors patented hybrids – unless those were patented GMO traits and I use them as such. Likewise, there’s no protection for me if I don’t want those genes in my crop but I get them anyway. So, again, there’s no law against planting seeds from patented plants, organic or otherwise. There is a law against planting seeds from GE crops.

  • sray

    Well, but I still undersand the rebuttal. I thought it would contain some scientific facts to prove Dr. Siva is wrong in her quest against Bt crops. My impression is that since David does not have a good answer to that , so, he started attacking her educational background. Dr. Siva is foolish is to run away from the conversation. Having Physics background says her logical reasoning which is the base for research is rock solid. She should flaunt it not hide it. There are many physicists in biological sciences and all structure function studies are done by biophysicists without whom no drug designing would have been possible. Many people do not understand that BT is good for crops grown for commercial purposes such as cotton for clothes or maie for fuel in USA. But what has David to say that wole organic food market industry has emerged and flourishing since BT food is not getting accepted by people. India cannot sell BT fruits in Europe. If you let BT crops in……it will be in all crops not one. Hence they are being banned as a whole. So, why such animosity if India is rejecting it. If the reason is not moolahs then what it is. Since when corporates started thinking of social service that too in India.

    • agscienceliterate

      She runs away from ALL questions that go deeper than the shallow pithy stuff she makes money from. She doesn’t care about asking questions.
      India grows Bt Cotton. Last I heard, people aren’t eating cotton. What’s your point?

  • Bingo

    BORRRINNGGGGG. who cares.

  • G-Wiz

    Yes, yes, so love exposure of those tragic, narcissistic figurines filled with Self-serving hypocrisy. Why does Ward Churchill, another psuedo-activist/dilettante come to mind?

  • kumarswamy

    I don’t buy The New Yorker either. While her work is commendable, she should be answerable to some of the questions raised. However, it is in individual choice to engage a for profile news media such as the new Yorker.
    In my view, there is no question about the yield or the effects against disease causing insects and fungus. But there is not yet a single major study on humans that these genetically modified food corps cause. From the obese to Allergies. One of my Indian friends tested this on his kids after he found out that one of his kids is severely allergic to various nuts. He for a change, changed the food to non-GM food and organic, I am sure he had to go through his own trouble finding what is GM and what is NOT GM because of no label what so ever (cronies like New Yorker sure might help Monsonto for sure). He found that the kid did not have allergies after 6 months of gradual use of non gm foods that he exclusively imported and grown in his yard. but the same returned within 2 months after the use of GM foods.
    So in that respect, I have one and only question. Why is that Monsonto resisting labeling their food as GM food ? Given that I am not against GM food, but simply why is that they are screwing up the food supply chain in America. Why is that Canada and European union effectively banned GM food, but only in America and in third world countries ?

    • There are no GM nuts. There are also no GM foods of any kind in India–only GM cotton, obviously your friend is mistakenly blaming genetic engineering for problems caused by other things.

      • agscienceliterate

        Confusion about other issues has never stopped these anti-gmo ignoramuses from bloviating.

  • Highridge Baxter

    I guess lying liberals can be found all over the globe. She reminds me of al bore and his son barack Obama.

    • FR4321

      And you remind me of your close friend Adolf.

  • FR4321

    Looks like she hit the nail on the head. It is time someone stood up to mon-the-friggin-santo.

  • TheTranslator

    Food for thought:
    What percentage of the world’s plant produce production is used for animal feed?

    To what percentage the meat and dairy consumption in the world would have to drop to be able to feed 20 billion human beings on this planet (with plant food from the arable land thus freed combined with the already existing arable land)?

    To what percentage the meat and dairy consumption in the world would have to drop to be able to feed 20 billion human beings on this planet, if we want the crops coming solely from “organic farming”, i.e. humane farming which provides real nutrition?
    Just asking…

    Personally I have cancelled my New Yorker subscription. We HAVE some degree of free choice when it comes to living as a guinea pig for the many sorcerer’s apprentices out there.

  • pignut

    I have an Agricultural science PhD. Here’s the straight dope: The green revolution increased crop yields by unsustainable methods, primarily massive increase in fertilizers and energy use. Unsustainable means: “something you can’t go on doing in the future” Norman borlaug’s crop breeding was different from traditional crop breeding (which was IMO largely crops evolving themselves to fit agricultural environments), and from GM technology. Borlaug’s new crop varieties weren’t anything like as “superior” as is often claimed. Experiments have shown that nowadays green revolution crops often perform less well than the varieties they replaced. It’s the fertilisers stupid! The hype around green revolution crops caused them to be grown to the exclusion of everything else, causing a serious loss of biodiversity. Breeders need diversity. “Crop improvement” is IMO a myth. The bugs don’t stop evolving and evolution of disease resistance is an arms race. Running just to stand still. Not really progress most of the time just change and diversification. So how is the plant breeding industry responding to this loss of diversity? by apologising? Of course not. By declaring that the solution is to stick a new foreign gene or two into the golden delicious apple or the desiree red potato and encourage/force every farm on the planet to grow it. The hype around GM is causing all the remaining collections of crop varieties to get bought up by a new breed of investors, who don’t seem to get the above facts. When they discover that the 300 heritage varieties of cabbage in the seedbank require skilled gardeners to grow them and collect the seeds every year, they decide to cut costs, send 299 cabbage varieties to extinction and focus on GM because its the future. Will GM crops harm your health? Maybe….but I’ll let you in on a secret here: environmentalists have found that the best way to stop selfish, stupid people threatening the future well being of people and planet….is to tell them they might get cancer if they don’t stop being stupid and selfish. GM crops may or may not harm your health (although as someone in the know, I can assure you that Arpad Puzstai’s research was very sound, and consequently buried under a deluge of character assassination and misinformation to give Monsanto time to destroy the evidence). There may even be benefits to the application of transgenic technology. But we need to put the brakes on it until the investment bubble has subsided (which would also give everyone in the biotech industry time to learn a bit of evolutionary biology, as their minds seem to be stuck in the same paradigm as the (inbred) aristocratic stock breeders of the 18th century. There are better, cheaper ways to improve diet than golden rice, and if that is the best the biotech industry can come up with they need to go back to the lab for a few more years. The legal framework (National seed lists etc.) needs major reform. We hear the debate about whether new GM crops should be legalised, but few people realise that all but a handful of the thousands of non-GM crop varieties (many of them facing extinction) are effectively illegal! Sort this nonsense out and we can start to debate GM crops.

  • Angelica Zamudio
  • Corky

    the Gene Revolution is not about ‘solving the world hunger problem’ as its advocates claim. It’s about handing over control of the seeds for mankind’s basic food supply—rice, corn, soybeans, wheat, even fruit, vegetables and cotton—to privately owned corporations. Once the seeds and their use are patented and controlled by one or several private agribusiness multinationals, it will be they who can decide whether or not a particular customer—let’s say for argument, China or Brazil or India or Japan—whether they will or won’t get the patented seeds from Monsanto, or from one of its licensee GMO partners like Bayer Crop Sciences, Syngenta or DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred International.

    • agscienceliterate

      Uh, Corky …. please read up. Patents on foods have been around since 1930. On conventional and organic also.
      Please educate yourself.

  • Anti-Unamerican

    Mr. Harvey could have named this speech ” If I were a Liberal”

    Here’s the transcript of Paul Harvey’s “If I were the Devil” speech that was broadcast on April 3, 1965:

    If I were the Devil, I would not be happy until I had
    seized the ripest apple on the tree. So I’d set about however necessary
    to take over the United States.

    I’d submit the churches first. I’d begin with a campaign of whispers.
    With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to
    Eve: “Do as you please.” To the young, I would whisper, “The Bible is a
    myth.” I would convince them that man created God instead of the other
    way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is
    “square.” And the old I would teach to pray after me, “Our Father, which
    art in Washington…”

    And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors in how to make lurid
    literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and
    uninteresting. I’d threaten T.V. with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d
    pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and
    gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.

    If I were the Devil, I’d soon have families at war with themselves,
    churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves
    until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher
    ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.

    If I were the Devil, I would encourage schools to refine young
    intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions, just let those run wild,
    until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug-sniffing dogs and
    metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.

    Within the decade, I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges
    promoting pornography, soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then
    from the schoolhouse, then from the houses of Congress.

    And in His own Churches, I would substitute psychology for religion
    and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys
    and girls and church money.

    If I were the Devil, I’d make the symbol of Easter, an egg, and the symbol of Christmas, a bottle.

    If I were the devil, I would take from those who have and I would
    give to those who want it until I had killed the incentive of the

    And wouldn’t you bet I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich.

    I would caution against extremes and hard work and patriotism and
    moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is
    old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on TV is the
    way to be. And thus I could undress you in public and I could lure you
    into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.

    In other words, if I were the Devil, I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing.

    Paul Harvey, Good Day.

  • justmaragain

    I am simply a humble citizen of the U.S.A. I have NO AGENDA except for THE TRUTH!! If you do not believe that MONSANTO/CON-AGRA is responsible for ALL of the GMOs and problems stemming from them, then YOU NEED to watch documentaries from CANADA, the U.S.A., MEXICO, JAPAN, etc…..
    Who do you think payed for and had passed the legislation that enabled the PATENTING OF A LIVING ORGANISM? GUESS IF YOU DARE! After this feat was accomplished, who do you imagine APPLIED for and was GRANTED THE PATENT FOR THE GMOs?
    Do you even CARE TO FIND OUT HOW SO VERY MANY FAMILY FARMS succumbed to the THREATS of LEGAL ACTIONS because MONSANTO’s ‘ ROUND-UP READY (GMO) SEEDS ‘ were blown by the winds into those neighboring farmers’ CROPS??? MONSANTO ATTORNEYS were able to plead that those FARMERS WERE INFRINGING UPON MONSANTO’s TECHNOLOGY. The Courts almost always FOUND IN FAVOR OF MONSANTO!!! Even when the court FOUND IN FAVOR OF THE FARMER; Their FAMILY-OWNED FARMS had to be SOLD TO PAY THEIR LEGAL FEES!!! I ask you, IS THAT FAIR, OR JUST, OR RIGHT???
    I could go on and on about what I’ve FOUND OUT SO FAR, but I won’t.

    Too many of us in this world are ‘BOUGHT AND PAID FOR’!!! ARE YOU ONE OF THOSE???….. OR…….. ARE YOU WILLING TO SEARCH FOR ‘ THE REAL TRUTH ‘!
    It’s up to YOU to DECIDE!!!

  • Mlema

    Shiva’s response does kinda make Specter look like a tool. That e-mail was so fawning and deceptive.

  • Mlema

    The idea that 1.4 million “life-years” have been lost because any country won’t approve Golden Rice is seriously flawed. The paper that idea came out of was by two economists who based their calculations on the belief that Golden Rice would be approved in 2002. It wasn’t even completed at that time. We are still attempting to develop suitable cultivars with sufficient yield to attract farmers to plant it.

    This “life years lost” is propaganda. No factual basis – just meant to inflame people. More life years have been lost because of all the money you haven’t donated to Helen Keller International – which is using tried and true methods to fight Vit A deficiency, and developing new ones, AND supporting Golden Rice.

    We need to shut our yaps and open our wallets.

  • Josh Mo

    Remnick’s attempt at a comeback, after getting smacked around like a rag doll by Shiva, is pathetic. His (and the New Yorkers) aim has been to tarnish Shiva’s reputation by any means possible. The New Yorker’s hit piece against Shiva is fundamentally a shot in the arm to his corporate sponsors.

    • agscienceliterate

      Oh, she tarnishes her own reputation perfectly well every time she opens her mouth. Fearmongering, made-up “statistics.” She gets paid very well for her fearmongering. Meanwhile, she does enormous harm to farmers around the world who are clamoring for biotech crops.

      • Josh Mo

        Clamoring ?!!! Seriously ? You should come and visit my country.

  • Highridge Baxter

    She is al bore’s bastard daughter.

  • maodeedee

    Sounds to me like to good “doctor” has numerous credibility issues.

    David Remnick may not hold a Ph.D but he most certainly has done his homework.

  • dumpsterdog

    Seeds of truth are never sewn by environmentalists.

  • Cletis

    That’s gotta hurt.

  • whats s

    Whoever formatted this page: NEVER format long blocks in Italics. It’s practically unreadable.

  • Gulia Mendez

    Wouldn’t it be useful to know who Dr. Shiva’ monetary sponsors are and what her income is primarily based on.

  • Tom

    As my father use to tell us “beware the wily Hindu” I guess they uncovered one with dubious credentials!!!

  • JV

    Rather an unfair exchange in that Specter and Remnick have the benefit of the New Yorker’s platform and Vandana has to respond through her website. And then to point people to the extremely biased and rigidly pro-GMO Genetic Literacy Project for more info is so one-sided.

  • fredbailey

    There is nothing new about “environmentalists” distorting the truth.

  • think1

    Foreign trash should be terminated and never allowed in the US OBAMA has enough of his own scummy family here already.Think of all the terrorists he let in while he said it was just children,just like China sneaked in hundreds of millions of tons of steal in,RIGHT as if someone in the government did not receive a small bribe,crooked moron are all liars what happens when bridges fall,is your family on them Union says all American steal,inspectors are honest like Obama.

  • Clif Gregory Od

    The Indian Al Sharptton everyone. Let’s give her a big hand!

  • james white

    we always serve genetically mod. foods! we’re alittle more advanced than the feeding “slop” to the hogs days.

    • agscienceliterate

      And I always eat genetically modified foods. Much better for the environment (no-till), less pesticides, less toxicity of pesticides.

  • Larry Adams Jr.

    What a crock of Bullshite….
    EVERYONE knows Monsanto OWNS the seed and grain business WORLDWIDE.
    To suggest otherwise is an insult to Dr Shiva, as well as ANYONE with common sense.
    Talk all you want New Yorker, and the other liberal rags, twist words around so u feel better, but you know the truth as well as we do.

    • Sterling Ericsson

      Even just in GM crops, Monsanto only makes up 40% of the market. You do know there are dozens of other companies involved in the field, right?

  • Wendy Barnes

    Does she live in India? Where ever she resides, she is getting plenty of food. Does she test each dish in every restaurant she frequents to make sure no GMO’ s are in it? I doubt it.

    • agscienceliterate

      Wendy, she also flies first class and gets $40k for each of her rant speeches. A cool deal, eh?

  • Wendy Barnes

    Fortunately only 2% of the American population live in NYC and DC, Larry.

  • mike t

    new Yorkers condescention to vandava siva is to confuse the real issue
    of monsantos economics and control. their genetically engineered
    products are being challenged wherever they are. they are high priced,
    Monsanto wants absolute control over the consumer who according to
    their binding contracts must buy Monsanto additive or sued for violation
    of their wordy contract. their beast (BST) chemical additive in cows food
    supply is bad for cow and human consumption. their gasoline additive
    is carcinogenic and can cause cancer as stated on the pumps at all U.S.
    gas stations. Monsanto’s business is to engineer products and sell
    them to the consumer. the real issue is the safety of their scientifically
    engineered product. whether ms. siva has correct pedigree may be at
    stake, but her assertion that Monsanto’s product is undesireable is the
    real issue. not the new Yorkers rhetoric about ms. siva’s credibility.
    mike t.

  • Charles

    Keep your politics out of science, people. The two do not, and should not mix.
    Either present peer-reviewed scientific facts, or silence your uneducated regurgitation of fearmongering charlatans.

    It’s exactly like the anti-vaccine movement. Misguided, but well-meaning.
    Nothing against it, but hey, do some legitimate research.

    “We might as well be ten minutes back in time ; for all the chance I’ve changed your mind” – Tim Minchin –Storm

  • John Smith

    when you go against nature some how somewhere there is a price to pay

    • agscienceliterate

      “Nature.” Going against “nature.”
      What does that mean, exactly?
      What do you eat, Mr. Smith? If organic, are you okay with organic foods produced by mutagenesis? Why?
      Do you support birth control? (“going against nature”)
      Do you support gay rights? (“going against nature”)
      Define what you mean.

  • sapper740

    Two teenagers committed suicide in Canada after Kurt Cobain’s death. Do we attribute all teen suicide to Alternative music? Of course not! The complex, manifold, and baffling urge to end one’s one life is the result of a pantheon of mental, environmental, religious, psychological, and individual melange of pressures and decisions, not the price of doing business.

  • sderax456 .

    f the new york propaghanda rag, vandana shiva is the real thing, and anyone who knows anything about real health eats non-gmo, especially the “elites”, they never eat gmo’s.

    • agscienceliterate

      Elites never eat gmos.
      Vandana Shiva is the real thing, alright; an immoral fearmonger who profits from spectacular hype.

      • sderax456 .

        monsanto is the definition of oimmoral. any consumer who genuinly researchs gmo’s comes to the same conclusion, so seeing as you know who she is, and are against her grassroots efforts to protect our foodchain, you must work for the bad guys( corporate agro-chem) your name is ag science literate, so you are obviously involved with this franken food somehow on a proffessional level. seeing as how i’m only a consumer, and you are on the dole, i’d have to say your opinion is biased. i came to my conclusions after much digging, not after a sweet pay-off.

      • sderax456 .

        trolly troll troll! your a corporate troll, be gone!!! your name says it all, your bought and paid for.

      • sderax456 .

        the employees of monsanto requested all non-gmo food for thier company break area, but you would know that, because you work there:)

      • sderax456 .

        everything i say can be verified, with a quick search on yahoo.

  • sderax456 .

    gmo’s cause rectal cancer, and sterility. this is what european scientists already know, htat why they are banned in half of europe!!

    • agscienceliterate

      Oh, is THAT why I don’t have children!
      Funny, I thought gmos resulted in autism, allergies, and rat tumors.
      Sterility, too! Who woulda thought.

      • sderax456 .

        thats just the tip of the iceberg. after 3 generations of mice eating nothing but gmo’s, they are small, sickly tumorous, and sterile. allergies are just the begining. autism is quite predictable, for something soaking in glyphosphates, and neuro-pesticides

  • Tom Klammer

    I wonder if Mr. Remnick would comment on how the Specter (hit piece?) article on Dr. Shiva happened to come out after Conde’ Nast, corporate parent of The New Yorker, entered into a relationship with Monsanto?

    • AtariBaby

      Advertising medium works with one of the biggest corporations in the world. Big surprise there. You still need to point out what’s untrue about this article, with facts.

  • robinaltman

    The US Government has now made it illegal to sue Monsanto. If the US Government is protecting a private business, then I am against it.

    Gmo production is poisioning our farmland, waterways, and fresh water supplies.

    Now, in the US, there are pest’s that are immune to Roundup.

    Monsanto dictates policy to the FDA.

    • Jackson

      The US Government has now made it illegal to sue Monsanto.

      Woah, that seems incredibly unlikely, and very unconstitutional. Do you have a source?

      Now, in the US, there are pest’s that are immune to Roundup.

      If you think roundup is poisoning the earth, don’t you think it is a good thing that organisms are becoming resistant to roundup?

  • robinaltman

    The New Yorker is just a rag – like the many in England. Normal people are not expecting real news stories to be in rags.

  • agscienceliterate

    Kudos to David Remnick for taking on this sham who profits (at $40,000 a pop for her “speeches”) by spreading misleading lies and by peddling fear.

  • First Officer

    You can feed a village on what Vandana Shiva charges for a lecture.

  • CSMOccupiedNorthernVA

    One only needs to look at the data manipulation behind the global warming hockey stick to understand that ‘warmists’ and environmentalists are zealots–fundamentalist adherents to a belief system that has more to do with faith in dogma and their ends justifying the means than with science, research, or linear reasoning. They ‘KNOW” and therefore have no use for inconvenient facts or scientific inquiry (unless they can subvert it to their personal profit, or advancement and forcible imposition of their belief system on others, usually through government regulatory abuse–tyranny in short).

  • Arohtak

    As a lay man I look at the fact of farmer suicides. No body wants to go the extremes and kill himself especially being the head of a family. The utter callousness with which the farmer suicides have been dealt with over the years – by all vociferous (including the motor mouth mainstream media) quarters is appalling. Some global experts dismiss the whole thing as part “global” phenomena. The farmers cannot go on strike like the bank employees or airline pilots do from time to time.!!

  • westword6

    If there is a subject about which there is general agreement, I have yet to see it. Humans are the most opinionated, contrary creatures on the planet.

  • Johnathan Huntington

    Genetically modified seeds are quite safe to the environment. However, the argument that farmers may get into too much debt is valid in my opinion. Americans have access to lower interest loans and make a bigger income than the farmers in India. Many farmers in India are poor and should keep buying new seed to a minimum. Non-modified seed create plants that make more seed and therefore, can be harvested at a lower over-all cost than genetically modified seed that has to be purchased every season. Non-modified seed is renewable and will make a supply of new seed for the next season to be used again. This is cheaper and better for a farmer who is poor and needs to feed a family.

  • DDofAL


  • mike t

    I haven’t heard how bt cotton is received in the market. any negative effects
    to the consumer. does it benefit the grower and india’s economy.

  • Judith

    I would like to ask Mr Remnick, just one question. If not glyphosate and it’s damaging effects on our gut flora, among other things, then WHAT exactly is brain damaging our children? Autism is just an euphemism for varying degrees of brain damage; how do you explain the astounding rise in brain damage that will affect HALF OF OUR CHILDREN by 2025? Just curious. If you think it’s so safe. And GMO’s are so safe.

  • James Madison

    Seems Mr. Specter is racist. He only comments on darker skin tones. Does he ever use “pasty white” or “approaching albino” to describe a white person? Odd defense that one would post more racist comments as justifying the racism in the subject article.

  • sky35

    Go to the website “alteredgenestwistedtruth” for information on what the FDA’s own scientists said about the dangers inherent in genetically engineered “food” .

    You can protect yourself now and eat organic food, or you can be a “lab rat” in Monsanto’s uncontrolled experiment …keeping in mind that real lab rats have one advantage over you, as they do not have to PAY to be experimented on.

    I do not know if the New Yorker is pro-glyphosate or not, but if they are then they are at best utter fools, and at worst they are aiding and abetting crimes against humanity, especially against infants and honeybees.

  • KS Subramanian

    Please genetically motivate the people all over the world instead of other things where we have a society full of all talents and no threats.

  • Eddy

    I have seen Vandana Shiva in action at a conference on Indigenous Knowledge of Medicinal Plants in Bangalore many years ago. She is a jingoist at best and can arouse a crowd of cheering pseudo-scientists with anti-West speeches that have no scientific basis. As a crop plant scientist with over 150 scientific publications in refereed international journals I can say the following: 1) Most research on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) has NOT been done by seed companies themselves but by over 2,000 peer-reviewed studies; 2) Over 88% of eminent scientists in America have reached a consensus that GMOs are safe to eat; 3) It is a fact that GMOs result in significantly higher yields and contribute to decreased soil erosion, decreased insecticide, and pesticide use; 4) The global population is projected to reach 11 billion by 2099. The yields from our major crops like wheat, rice and maize have reached a plateau with conventional breeding practices, and so new technologies are needed to boost agricultural production which could only come with the use of biotechnology such as, genetic engineering and genetic modifications (note:- two different things).5) Ingredients from GMO plants (e.g., corn syrup, tomato ketchup, etc) are now in almost 99% of the foods and non-alcoholic drinks on the shelves in supermarkets in USA for over a decade, and yet there is no proof that even a single person has been adversely affected by consuming these products. 6) Monsanto is un-fairly targeted; it is NOT the only seed company or institution in the world that is working on GMOs. Other seed companies the world over are using the same techniques. 7) For research on genetic engineering very heavy investments on personnel, apparatus, and machines is required. Few public institutions can afford them, and hence this research has moved in to the private sector. Private companies are answerable to shareholders and hence there is a logical need to make profits. The products of these companies are therefore high. And BTW, it is not correct to blame America for “stealing” genetic resources from India, as Vandana Shiva and others often says. Two of the first and foremost institutions for agricultural research in India, viz, the Pusa Institute (later the IARI) and the Allahabad Agricultural College were both started with the initial financial aid from Americans and NOT the Britishers.

  • GopalB

    There are many so called over-zealous self-appointed, self-serving crusadors there who thrive by sensaltionalising .They are just pretenders of serving a noble cause, but in actuality they dont really benefit any one except themselves.Many a time their zeal and overblown claims cause more damage to the real cause they claim to work. It is time they stand exposed by journalists in west who do a good job searching for truth. If only our media here worked with such zeal to search for truth all the way like NY Times columnist did ,many of of corrupt and wrong doers in politics and public office would not have any place to hide.

  • Rasu Kutti

    The name genetic literacy project itself tells me a lot. You are a profit driven err greed driven project that makes a lot of unverified claims about your ge products and will go to any extent to skewer people that shine light on the truth. You will definitely find some greed driven ppl in india to support you. But india us not open for business of your kind.

  • Chad

    @Rasu – perhaps you should read V. Ravichandran’s post below yours; Bt cotton and other GE/GM products are the safest and most effective ways to deal with the needs of society. There is nothing I see on this site which is greed or profit-driven. All it’s doing is showing that fear and fear-mongering in the general uneducated public sways a lot of people to think GMOs are bad… and they’re not.

  • Raj Mehta

    We all know GM food is not good for health. That was a reason India did not want to allow Monsanto to do business in India. To get the nutrition of 1 organic fruit/vegetable you havee to eat 3 GM fruit/vegetable. Have you seen changes in America? Now many people are buying organic food. They are not stupid.

  • I wish to say that there is a mistake in this open letter. Her MA (as well as her PhD) was in Philosophy of Science, not Physics. This datum makes it perfectly clear: Note that she presented her thesis in the Philosophy Dept. of the University of Guelph. I wanted to leave that for the record.

  • J S

    Amazing ! Co-opting the very people that you are about to destroy is an even greater sin than murder !! Monsanto is just plain evil and Remnick is just a small sharp tool employed to cause maximum damage. Pathetic. How the hell does the NewYorker get away with this … pretending to be a liberal-progressive rag while carrying out Empires hatchet-job !!

  • neal wagley, ex farmer and MS

    What few people understand is bee’s have been GMOing crops for thousands of years–with no complaints except bee stings. e.g. I have white and pink crepe myrtle outside my window; With the help of bees I now have a new beautiful fuchia plant. It’s time for this scientist to grow up and stop making money off activist.

  • mike t

    your description of Canadians is correct.

  • Rajbir Sandhu

    Just one question Mr. Rennick, who are the people behind the financing this “Genetic Literacy Project”?

    • There is no person behind financing GLP. It’s funded by three independent foundations, as disclosed.

    • There is no person behind financing GLP. It’s funded by three independent foundations, as disclosed.

  • Rajbir Sandhu

    Just one question Mr. Rennick, who are the people behind the financing this “Genetic Literacy Project”?

  • Sunil Sakhalkar

    Not a good response by New Yorker. Very disappointed. Yes, GMO has intentions to feed larger population while the farming land s decreasing at an alarming rate. There is reason why many first world countries have banned GMO in their countries, mainly because the corporations have tried to take control of the product. In the beginning production is high but over the long term, many farmers have lost their land as they can no longer go back to natural seeds. The lands have become barren due to depleted natural resources. GMO may have good intentions, but at the hands of corrupt corporations it’s an evil. Your article asks for less corruption in the third world countries while ignoring the fact that the same third-world politicians are being bribed by corrupt rich multi-nationals, not by poor farmers. In US these multi-nationals are bribing politicians under legal term “lobbying”. If you can’t address all this in your article then you have failed to address the issue besides simply answering to Dr. Shiva’s claims. There is a line between being legally correct and being morally responsible.

    • Sunil, A few misconceptions I think. “many first world countries” have not banned GMOs. Not one has. Europe is the second largest importer of GM crops in the world, and GMO crops are grown throughout Europe. Opposition to GMO crops is politically based, as the entire science establishment in Europe, all independent, has endorsed the safety of GM crops. Please cite even ONE independent study that suggests that yields have decreased over time with the use of GM crops (hint: there is not one). That’s a Vandana Shiva urban myth (aka: lie). Please explain to me your documentation of how GMO corporations are “corrupt” and “evil”. It’s easy for rich activists like Shiva who fly around the world first class and get $40,000 an appearance to play demagogue; it’s much harder to be a productive participant in modern agriculture.

  • Ram

    The fact that this story has been up prominently this long gives an impression that it is paid for by somebody. Can The Hindu clarify please?

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