Target: U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack
Goal: Deny government approval for chemical-intensive “Agent Orange” FrankenCrops
Until recently, Monsanto has been the prime mover behind genetically engineered pesticide-promoting crops. The company’s aggressive patenting and marketing of genetically modified (GM) seeds that are able to withstand massive, ecocidal applications of its Roundup weed killer has made it public enemy number one for anyone who cares about family farms, sustainable agriculture, or healthy food systems. But the mantle of most-hated corporation may soon be passed on to Dow Chemical, maker of such 20th century delights as Napalm and Agent Orange. Not to be outdone by Monsanto’s chemical footprint, Dow is currently seeking U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approval for its own brand of toxin-loving FrankenCrops.
The connection to Agent Orange is not coincidental. In the same way that Monsanto seeds are resistant to Roundup, Dow’s new GE crops would be resistant to its own version of easy money: 2,4-D, otherwise known as half of the toxic chemical cocktail that goes into Agent Orange. Widely used as a weapon of chemical warfare during the Vietnam War, Agent Orange is said to have killed around 400,000 people directly, and been responsible for over half a million birth defects in Vietnam alone. Among American soldiers, exposure to Agent Orange has been linked to a plethora of cancers, several nerve disorders, digestive and skin issues, and an increased rate of miscarriage among the wives of returned veterans.
The reason that Dow has developed the new GM seeds to be resistant to 2,4-D is that Roundup has become less and less effective, as heavy application has caused new Roundup resistant superweeds to evolve and spread. In replacing the old GM seeds, these new seeds would simply be another step in the escalating chemical arms race that is inherent to industrial monoculture. 2,4-D is also far more toxic than Roundup, and is already a major source of dioxins in our natural environment. Dow Chemical is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths from chemical contamination—this is not a company we want involved in our food system. Tell the USDA to reject Dow’s plan to spread Agent Orange across our country.
Dear Mr. Vilsack,
The use of herbicide-resistant genetically engineered crops has already proven to be both highly chemical dependent and ultimately ineffective as a way to ensure food security, as toxin-resistant organisms evolve in lockstep with the development of new biocides. Dow Chemical’s new “Agent Orange” crops would simply mean intensive application of a new poison to our land and water in this unwinnable chemical arms race.
Allowing Dow to market this technology would amount to an abdication of the USDA’s obligation to protect the health and integrity of America’s food supply. I strongly urge you to reject Dow Chemical’s application for approval of 2,4-D resistant GE crops.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Hohum via Wikimedia Commons