A Corny Story
Apparently I forgot a category in yesterday’s poll (which is still going on btw!) . . . “investigative journalism of controversial topics.” Thanks, Whittney! So here I am, reporting to you live from the potamus family living room, where just moments ago I looked outside and confirmed this groundbreaking, nutcracking story. Before you start shouting at your screen, I know I am not a journalist. Let’s have some fun, though.
The farmer grinned as he told the visitor, “Watch this!” He called his pigs, which ran frantically towards him to be fed. But when he scooped out corn and threw it on the ground, the pigs sniffed it and then looked up at the farmer with confused expectation. The farmer then scooped corn from another bin and flung it near the pigs, which ran over and quickly devoured it.
The farmer said, “The first corn is genetically engineered. They won’t touch it.”
When I first read this I thought “nice way to make a point!,” but I didn’t really believe it. I mean sure, every day there is more research indicating that genetically modified crops (GMO’s) cause infertility, infant mortality, immune dysfunction, allergies, accelerated aging, organ damage, stunted growth, and death¹. But surely the pigs didn’t figure it out before we did. Um, yeah . . . and it’s not just the pigs.
The Washington Post reported that laboratory mice, usually happy to munch on tomatoes, turned their noses up at the genetically modified FlavrSavr tomato. Scientist Roger Salquist said of his tomato, “I gotta tell you, you can be Chef Boyardee and mice are still not going to like them.” The mice were eventually force fed the tomato through gastric tubes and stomach washes. Several developed stomach lesions; seven of forty died within two weeks. The tomato was approved without further tests.
Cows, pigs, elk, deer, raccoons, squirrels, rats, and mice all share the same aversion to GMO’s, says Smith. I had to see this for myself, so decided to experiment on our backyard squirrels.
Katie and I created a mini-snack bar on the fence by the pecan tree where the squirrels hang out. Our menu consisted of organic corn from Whole Foods and some “all natural” corn from Kroger. GMO’s are dumped into our food supply without any labeling so I couldn’t be sure about the “all natural” corn, but since about 85% of the corn grown in the U.S. is GMO I thought it was pretty likely.
While we were filling the containers Katie tried to eat the Kroger corn and I totally flipped out. Protective much?
Snack bar open for business!!!
For the first couple of days I ran out every morning to see what was happening. Nada. Although the squirrels took a few polite nibbles, they didn’t seem interested so I pretty much forgot about it. Two months later I found this.
Thanks . . . But NO Thanks
Just a few kernels were left in the organic container, but after some curious nibbles the squirrels turned tail and ran from the GMO stuff. Although they wouldn’t comment, I think they read that study where the third generation of hamsters fed genetically engineered soy suffered slower growth, a high mortality rate, and a bizarre birth defect: fur growing in their mouths. Many also lost the ability to have pups, too.
Or maybe they picked out the roughly 15% that wasn’t genetically modified. Who knows??
Either way, I hope I’m not the only one that thinks we should take a hint from the Potamus family squirrels. If you’re not quite convinced, check out this video. I used to think the war was already lost, but I was wrong. We do not have to accept GMO’s as a fact of life. Although it takes a moment to get interesting, Jeff’s comments on the tipping point were surprisingly optimistic. Check it out!
Note: Thanks to a reader I learned after posting this that a smaller percentage of sweet corn grown in the U.S. is GMO than, say, field corn. I cannot say for sure that this corn was genetically modified.