‘Science’ That’s on the Take vs. Science That Takes Them on
The New York Times, in an article published on December 31, 2016, documents how scientists are paid by agribusiness corporations for “science” that supports the companies’ agendas. Those of us working in this field of journalism have known about this for decades, but the scope of agribusiness’s propaganda campaigns seldom reaches the general public. The following three paragraphs are from the Times’ article.
“The corporate use of academia has been documented in fields like soft drinks and pharmaceuticals. But it is rare for an academic to provide an insider’s view of the relationships being forged with corporations, and the expectations that accompany them.
“A review of Syngenta’s strategy shows that Dr. Cresswell’s experience (Dr. James Cresswell of the University of Exeter in England) fits in with practices used by American competitors like Monsanto and across the agrochemical industry. Scientists deliver outcomes favorable to companies, while university research departments court corporate support. Universities and regulators sacrifice full autonomy by signing confidentiality agreements. And academics sometimes double as paid consultants.
“In Britain, Syngenta has built a network of academics and regulators, even recruiting the leading government scientist on the bee issue. In the United States, Syngenta pays academics like James W. Simpkins of West Virginia University, whose work has helped validate the safety of its products. Not only has Dr. Simpkins’s research been funded by Syngenta, he is also a $250-an-hour consultant for the company. And he partnered with a Syngenta executive in a consulting venture, emails obtained by The New York Times show.”
The article is a scathing indictment of corporate-scientific collusion to excuse corporate greed and excesses. To read the full article, visit the Times’ home page and search for the article headlined, Scientists Loved and Loathed by an Agrochemical Giant.
‘FREE TO PROSPER’ MEANS FREE TO LOOT AND EXPLOIT
The following link will take you to a report called “Free to Prosper,” written by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. It’s the Trumpist agenda for the next Congress, and if you read through it, you will be horrified. Read especially Section 8 on “Food, Drugs, and Consumer Freedom.” Thanks to Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association for bringing this to light. https://www.organicconsumers.org/sites/default/files/cei_agenda_for_congress_2017_-_final.pdf
SHAREHOLDERS APPROVE MERGER OF BAYER AND MONSANTO
Last month shareholders approved the merger of Bayer the Bee-Slayer and Monsanto the Butterfly-Killer. The pesticide giants are on track to merge into one mega-corporation. The merger still has to get through the Justice Department’s scrutiny. And state Attorneys General are pushing for an investigation, according to Friends of the Earth.
Senator Bernie Sanders, farmers across the country and people like you are already speaking out against the merger. If this merger goes through, it would be disastrous for pollinators, people and the planet. We could have even MORE crops soaked in dangerous pesticides like bee-killing neonics or glyphosate — key drivers of bee and monarch declines.
What’s more, the new corporation would be the biggest seed and pesticide company in the world — giving it unprecedented clout over our food supply.
This merger could also set a precedent for other mega-mergers, like Dow merging with Dupont and ChemChina merging with Syngenta. If these six companies consolidated into three, they would control nearly 70 percent of the global pesticide market. The good news is, cities and states across the country are passing laws to restrict bee-killing neonics.
Meanwhile, the FDA announced it will start testing for glyphosate in our food — which will shine a light on how much this hazardous pesticide is getting into our food supply and endangering our health. Senator Merkley introduced a bill in Congress to create more pesticide-free habitat for bees and butterflies. And garden retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s are helping rapidly shift the gardening industry away from neonics.
But if this merger goes through, Monsanto and Bayer combined will have even more power and money to block our efforts. The new corporation could put even more pressure on our government to delay regulatory action on toxic chemicals, especially under Trump’s corporate-friendly cabinet heads.
CANNABIS CURBS LUNG CANCER GROWTH IN MICE, STUDY SHOWS
A Harvard University study from 2007, which remains the most comprehensive ever released on THC’s potential to combat tumors, found that in just three weeks, doses of THC were able to cut lung cancer tumor growth in half in mice subjects, and were able to reduce cancer lesions by even more.
Harvard researchers tested THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is found naturally in cannabis) on cancer cells in labs, and followed that up by studying mice subjects.
The lab demonstration found that doses of THC inhibited growth and spread in the cancer cells. Following the lab test, researchers dosed mice – which were implanted with human lung cancer cells – with THC, and found that in just three weeks, tumors were reduced in both size and weight by roughly 50 percent compared to a control group. Cancer lesions on the lungs were also reduced-–by nearly 60 percent–and there was as a significant reduction in “protein markers” associated with cancer progression.
Researchers theorize that THC had such a positive effect on combating tumors because it activates molecules that arrest the cell cycle, and may also interfere with the processes of angiogenesis and vascularization, which lead to cancer growth.
Over six years since its original release, this study remains one of the most important cannabis-related studies ever released.
DESPITE PLEDGES TO CUT BACK, FARMS STILL USING ANTIBIOTICS
It’s a continuing paradox of the meat industry. Every year, more restaurants and food companies announce that they will sell only meat produced with minimal or no use of antibiotics. And every year, despite those pledges, more antibiotics are administered to the nation’s swine, cattle and poultry, according to Dan Charles, reporting on NPR.
The latest figures, released last week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, show antibiotic sales for use on farm animals increased by 1 percent in 2015, compared to the previous year. The increase was slightly greater – 2 percent — for antibiotics used as human medicine.
The FDA and other public health agencies have been pushing farmers to rely less on these drugs. Heavy use of antibiotics both in human medicine and in agriculture has led to the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, complicating the task of treating many infections.
The poultry industry has made the most ambitious promises to reduce antibiotic use. Perdue Farms says that 95 percent of its chickens already are raised with no antibiotics at all. Tyson Foods, the largest producer, has announced that it is “striving” to end the use of antibiotics that also are used in human medicine. Tyson will continue to deploy a class of antibiotics called ionophores, which can’t be used on humans. The new report, however, doesn’t shed any light on the impact of these moves, because it doesn’t show how much of each drug is used on cattle, swine or poultry.
In a statement, David Wallinga, from the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that “this report further underscores how urgently we need more and stronger government action” to reduce antibiotic use.
Some species of bacteria found on cattle have shown increasing levels of resistance to ciprofloxacin, and turkey samples showed a big increase in Salmonella that’s resistant to several different drugs.
Monsanto and the biotechnology industry have a goal. They want to dominate the worlds’ food supply-–for their profit. Regardless of the cost to your health, the environment, family farmers, or the future of biodiversity on our planet.
And as the new administration takes shape in the US, it seems pretty clear that we can’t count on our government to protect us any time soon. For example, Trump has tapped Congressman Mike Pompeo to be the head of the CIA.
Pompeo was Monsanto’s man on the Hill. He authored what became known as the DARK (Deny Americans’ Right to Know) act, which made it illegal for states to require labeling of GMOs.