In yet another demonstration of science tampering with nature, British company Oxitec plans to release genetically modified moths in New York.
Oxitech has developed the GM moth to combat the highly chemical-resistant diamondback moth population that exclusively feeds on members of the cabbage family, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
The Bill Gates-funded insect company made headlines last year with the release of Zika-carrying, genetically modified mosquitoes, and, similar to that science experiment, the GM moths will attempt to wipe out the diamondback moth population by targeting fertility.
Oxitec’s moths are exclusively male and have been modified to ensure that any breeding that occurs with a female diamondback will result in infertile offspring. “Our diamondback moth carries a self-limiting gene, that prevents female offspring from surviving to adulthood,” says Oxitec research lead Neil Morrison. “This allows us to release adult males only, which are harmless to the crop. When they mate with a pest female in the field, none of her female progeny would survive.”
Oxitec claims their goal is to reduce the moth population without having to release any new pesticides into the environment…which is ironic as the diamondback moths are resistant to nearly 100 different varieties of pesticides and chemical compounds.
The USDA has approved the release of the GM moths in an upstate New York cabbage patch. In a complete conflict of interest, Cornell University will oversee the release of the moths. Cornell University routinely receives money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which you can read about here, here, here, and here.
Ten of thousands of genetically modified moths will soon be released by the Bill Gates-financed Oxitec corporation with the results being closely monitored by a university heavily funded by Bill Gates.
Many groups have spoken out in opposition to the GM moths including the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFANY). In a strongly disapproving letter, NOFA-NY expressed outrage over the questionable decision to release the genetically modified moths:
“NOFA-NY firmly believes that it is the responsibility and legal obligation of both Cornell and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to perform a comprehensive environmental review and evaluate potential impacts prior to releasing this brand new organism on the world.
Our concern from the beginning has not been to stifle cutting-edge science, whether or not we agree with it, but to advocate for transparency in the process and precaution in the advancement of new technologies to ensure the health and safety of people, all creatures, and the environment.
We have outlined our specific concerns, and asked for comprehensive evaluation of potential impacts which we have also detailed to the federal and state governments as well as to Cornell University and Dr. Shelton.
Yet, time and again, we have been served with pat answers that could have been used in any discussions of emerging technologies for the past decades. Comments such as “it is virtually no different than the non-GE version,” or “that health effect has already been studied for other insects.”
Let’s be clear. This is the first world-wide release of the Genetically Engineered Diamondback Moth and the first use of ‘female lethality’ trait on a pest to a food crop in the world.”
The complete letter written by NOFA-NY can be read by clicking here.
The USDA has received more than 600 comments in regards to their decision. One commenter, Dana Marsh of Bloomington, Ind., wrote of her concern regarding the possibility of destroying the entire diamondback species. “As of today, we do not have complete understanding of how every insect and plant works,” Marsh wrote. “We still do not grasp the diversity that currently exists. The consequences of genetic engineering are untold and could prove fatal to our precious ecosystem. PLEASE leave nature alone.”