Streams

Would You Cuddle A Neon-Green Cat?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Emily Anthes, science journalist and author of Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts, looks at biotech animal "alterations," like the cat with a neon green nose.

→ Event: Anthes will be appearing at KGB on 3/26 and at Brooklyn Observatory on 3/29. View the details here

Guests:

Emily Anthes

Comments [24]

I agree with clif from Brooklyn, and was surprised to hear only one side of the argument about GMO food labeling. Emily said she didn't think it should be mandatory to label GMO products because the GMO version was really no different.

I agree with Gary Hirshberg who spoke about labeling at the TEDxManhattan conference [1]. If GMO food is unique enough to grant a patent and successfully prosecute farmers for infringement after accidental contamination of their farms by GMO seeds, then the GMO food should be unique enough to mandate labeling. As a consumer, I should have the right to know what's in my food.

Emily brought up a great point in your segment that if GMO foods were to be labeled, it should say how they were modified. I completely agree. GMO food should be labeled, and absolutely, tell me how!

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGyOwnqpCKk

Mar. 18 2013 04:39 PM
Jim

Supporters of GM food like to point to the long history of selective breeding while dismissing concerns. This is a false argument. Traditional selective breeding requires the crossing of two plants or animals that are are sexually compatible. Sexual reproduction has evolved the worlds various ecologies for as long as life has existed. Importing genes from an outside ecology (i.e. putting fish genes in mammals who are sexually incompatible) is ecologically invasive. History is replete with stories of ecological and agricultural disasters caused by the introduction of invasive species. Laboratory GM is a huge, and largely uncontrolled, science experiment that will likely lead to some unexpected, albeit logically predicable, outcomes.

Mar. 18 2013 11:59 AM
clif from Brooklyn

Yes, I agree. A very one-sided bit, surprisingly taking the side of GMO food. It would have been nice to have a second guest to counter-argue some of the points about food labeling, etc... It seems to me that if we live in a true democracy, then food producers would be mandated to put ALL information about ingredients, etc... on the label and let the consumer make an educated decision (is that oxymoronic - consumers making educated decisions?).

Mar. 18 2013 11:52 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Ms. Anthes keeps saying no tests have "yet" proved any danger from GMO foods, or that "so far" there's no evidence they aren't safe. But that's just the point--we don't know yet, & people have a right to know what foods contain this genetic material that *may* later turn out not to be entirely safe, even if it's only for a few people who might be sensitive to it, as Ms. Anthes herself mentioned.

Mar. 18 2013 11:48 AM
fuva from harlemworld

The claim that an effective GMO label would be too complicated seems disingenuous. "GMO -- fish genes in this plant." Etc. Then link to site with more info...This guest lacks credibility.

Mar. 18 2013 11:46 AM
yikes

Brian what is the matter with you? Pipeline from the publisher - there must be better stuff than this to give air time to! - Get some biologists, not some journalist (who sounds like she's 12) with an opinion! Who is she? This is reckless and absolutely nuts!!!

Think back to our history and attitude - we who think we have the right to decimate indigenous populations, destroy cultures, support slavery - who the hell do we think we are????

And animals - ask Temple Grandin about breeding animals even the "normal" way!!!

Mar. 18 2013 11:45 AM
Marion from chinatown

One serious concern about GE food--plant, animal, whatever--is that the introduction of foreign genetic material may catalyze new combinations of proteins, to which some people may have allergic reaction. Without labeling, the source of the reaction could not be traced.

Current standards for testing (e.g."GRAS"--generally recognized as safe)do not look for such things.

Mar. 18 2013 11:43 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

We share genes and material with everything. We are part of the earth and the earth is part of us. Everything is natural and we are all One. Go get yourself some yummy genetically modified food and be happy you live in the 21st century!

Mar. 18 2013 11:42 AM
Christine from Westchester

I think a couple of comments are very well stated: with cell phones and access to info, it wouldn't be that hard to put a link on any package for more info. I think the trick is to carefully define what is "GMO". Like "organic": there's alot of calling something organic that isn't. You can imagine companies avoiding the GMO label by getting through a loophole. Needs to be very clearly defined.

Mar. 18 2013 11:41 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Pleas ask your guest if reports are true indicating that gmo foods can change the probiotics structures in the digestive tract which can lead to inflammation and potential illness.

Mar. 18 2013 11:39 AM
sophia

The primary problem with GMO foods, as with non-organically grown foods, is the way it is grown, and it's effect on the environment, rather than the effect of it's consumption, and consumers have every right to reject it for that reason alone.

The straw-man argument the writer is presenting is similar to the study that organic foods aren't any more nutritious, when greater nutrition was never the point.

These foods are created to increase profits for the producers, not to imcrease benefits for consumers. If it were, they'd be PROUD to label their foods GMO, instead of trying to hide it.

Mar. 18 2013 11:39 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

We already have remote control humans. Ever see Universal Soldier, or what Catholic guilt does to the human mind?

Mar. 18 2013 11:37 AM
MikeInBrklyn from Clinton Hill

Let's have the FDA approve "Franken-salmon" and have Ms. Anthes be the Guinea pig that prove they are absolutely safe for long term human consumption. If nature meant salmon to grow larger, fatter, faster it would have existed long ago. This woman scares the hell out of me!

Mar. 18 2013 11:37 AM
Nancy from Manhattan

Since people in a democracy have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies, there should be GMO labeling. To deal with the labeling issue, we could do it this way: If a product is labeled GMO, the customer can go to the food company's website for all the information mentioned by your guest (the why and how of the genetic modification, etc.).

Mar. 18 2013 11:37 AM

Mandatory labelling IS necessary just for consumer information. Thanks to the uncontrolled & unannounced entry of GM soy, corn, etc. into the food chain we don't know how much of our current dietary problems are traceable to these foods.

A science reporter who can't recognize an uncontrolled mass food experiment is not much of a science reporter.

Mar. 18 2013 11:35 AM
Joseph

I think an important aspect of the GMO debate that was left out is the question of the(supposed) intellectual property of modified organisms, and the ways in which these claims (to seeds, for instance) affect small farmers, growers in developing countries, etc. It is a further expansion of industiral agriculture, which is far from a cut-and-dry good.

Mar. 18 2013 11:35 AM
MC from NY

We have been genetically modifying food and everything we could for tens of thousands of years .... it's called hybrid and selective breeding. Are we not idiots to assume that , just because we understand what we are doing a bit better now it is LOGICalu no different than what we (as a part of nature) have done in the past.

Mar. 18 2013 11:35 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

I'd eat a GMO Rudolph, Richie. Hell, that some good venison!

Mar. 18 2013 11:34 AM

Bob, they could barely unload Rudolph. Try asking for something controlled by a remote ;-)

Mar. 18 2013 11:33 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

How about a miniature elephant? I'd love to add one to my pet collection.

Mar. 18 2013 11:32 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

When will Petco get those new waterless fish in stock?

Mar. 18 2013 11:30 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

I want a talking dog.

Mar. 18 2013 11:29 AM
Bob from Brookyln

I want one with a glow in the dark nose, please! Give me one for Christmas, Santa!

Mar. 18 2013 11:14 AM
Tony from Canarsie

We're going to need a bigger kitty litter box.

Mar. 18 2013 11:11 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.