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 13th May 2017

Jane Goodall 2015Jane Goodall, a leading primatologist, conducted a 50 year survey of chimps in Tanzania. Now a Dame and recently named one of the world’s top 100 important scientists of all time, she has turned her attention to the Genetic Engineering debate.


Jane Goodall is concerned about the effects of genetically modified crops, dedicating a chapter to the subject in her books Seeds of Hope (2005) and Harvest of Hope (2013). Her concerns intensified when she saw farmers in Africa and Asia experiencing problems with a bacteria called “bt” (bacillus thurungenesis) inserted into a gentically modified crop.The crops were failing because the insect pests developed a resistance to the insecticide inside the plants. But non-target species of butterflies and bees were being harmed instead. And, there are other problems on farmlands in Africa, Asia and USA plagued by superweeds caused by the horizontal transfer of genes from GM crops to native weeds, growing out of all proportion and impossible to control or contain. Dr Goodall condemns the plight of farmers like Percy Schmeiser who was intimidated for taking legal action against GM crop manufacturers Monsanto when contaminated crops and superweeds spread onto his land.

At the launch of lawyer-turned-activist Steven Druker's book, Altered Genes and Twisted Truths for which Goodall has written the introduction, she recalled the independent scientific studies on rats that developed tumours as well as kidney and liver malfunctions when fed a diet of GM crops (See the independent studies of Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini, Irina Ermakova and Arpad Pusztai). She expressed her concern about Roundup, the world's top selling herbicide, also used in agriculture as a crop drying agent and an over-the-counter garden weedkiller. Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides and spray-resistant crops have played havoc with the physiology of lab rats as well as sows and piglets on farms. (See Farmer Pederson  Glyphosate is banned in several countries, including Sri Lanka, because of high rates of kidney disease in farmers. Glyphosate was recently the subject of an International Tribunal at the Hague and found to be harmful to human health and the environment.

Jane Goodall raises important questions for humanity when talking about her own field of study. The big difference between chimps and humans is the explosive development of the human brain that outstrips even the smartest of chimps, she said. So, how is it possible that the most intellectual creature that has ever walked the planet is destroying its only home? And, in relation to GM crops that cannot be recalled from the environment once released, with the increasing body of scientific evidence disproving industry claims that they are safe for human and animal consumption, she asks,  “How has the GE industry managed to fool so many people, is it really just about money?"




More information can be found here: Altered Genes and Twisted Truths: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government.......