GENTECH archive


reply to Devinder

Dear Devinder:

For the record, I do not believe that Bt cotton has a shelf life of 4
years, but that with reasonable management, it will last much longer.  I
argued that EVEN IF Bt cotton lasted for only 4 years, it would help many

I have not extrapolated from Australian research to the US, Canada, Europe
and Australia.  Evidence is clear that outcrossing with likely occur for
canola in the US, Canada, Europe. The Canadians and Americans decided that
such outcrossing was no threat, since it would mean just that two
herbicides which can be used only with transgenic crops anyway would be
affected. However, it would be equally wrong to extrapolate from the US,
Canada, Europe to Australia, where outcrossing with canola seems less

I don't care about rBGH, don't think we need it, and haven't defended it.

And I wish I didn't have to spend so much time defending a Bt cotton as a
technology  that might allow more Indians a healthier life, regardless of
the source of the technology. That ought to be your job.

Nor have I claimed that this technology will help solve the global food
crisis.  I argued that it would reduce farm worker exposure to the more
toxic and persistence pesticides.

I have already spent time in Mexican, Malaysian, and Chinese villages.  Do
you think Indian growers are fundamentally so different? Given the clear
similarities of the other farmers I have encountered, I doubt it. By the
way, the Mexicans and Chinese are already adopting Bt cotton.

Whether Indians grow canola is a choice for India, and well within the
power of the Indian people to decide.  I hope they don't grow canola; the
US, Canada and Australia can probably supply enough. However, where is it
written that it is the responsibility of the biotechnology industry to feed
the hungry, especially when the Indian government has devoted resources to
building atomic bombs and rockets to deliver them instead of feeding the
5000 children who die there daily? As my father used to say, it's not
worthwhile trying to help those who don't want to help themselves.

Like all industries, the biotech industry must make a profit. It is
senseless to be so offended by that practical reality that we refuse to use
a technology that can make people's lives better.  With a PERSONAL fortune
of $100 billion, Bill Gates is worth four times what Monsanto is, and is
therefore in a much better position to help than is Monsanto, yet we have
not boycotted his products.

I think you need to re-read what I wrote rather than what you thought I
would say.