At least 1 820 sheep were reported dead after grazing on post-harvest Bt cotton crops; the symptoms and post-mortem findings strongly suggest they died from severe toxicity. This was uncovered in a preliminary investigation conducted by civil society organisations in just four villages in the Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh in India. The actual problem is likely to be much greater.
It cannot be mere coincidence that similar Bt toxins from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis incorporated in the genetically modified crops are involved in all these cases; but the regulators have done nothing. Things are so bad that the European Commission levelled an accusation of bias towards the biotech industry against its own food safety regulatory body (“European Food Safety Authority criticised of GMO bias”, this series).
Our last video was a pretty montage of India, this week it gets a little more serious. We decided to cover the controversial topics of GMOs, farmer suicide and seed saving (not so controversial) in India. There has been a lot written about GMOs, pesticides, organic, etc., to the point that it's easy to lose touch with how these issues actually impact people's lives. On our recent trip to India, we got a wake up call from environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva on the reality of these issues and how they can impact farmers to the point of suicide (270,000 farmers have killed themselves in the last 15 years).
We spent some time with the famed activist and the head seed saver of her organization (Navdanya), Bija Devi. They are a passionate pair and we tried to accurately represent their points of view. We think this is an important subject, and we hope you can take the time to listen to what they have to say, and investigate more.