Photos: Pro-Monsanto protest group on why GMOs aren't so bad
Earlier this week, we posted about Denver's March Against Monsanto, a Saturday rally and festival protesting the corporation most closely associated with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs; see photos from the event below.
Big photos below.
Turns out, though, that a small handful of those present don't see anything wrong with GMOs. Though unaffiliated with Monsanto, they turned up to protest the protest
The person behind the Monsanto-supporting demonstration, as well as a Facebook page cheekily entitled The Monsanto Defense Fund, is Jake Browne, who's appeared in this space many times over recent years due to his affiliation with Denver Relief and the medical marijuana industry.
He stresses that his efforts regarding GMOs aren't directly related to MMJ -- although he notes that "genetic modification is working really well for the weed world."
Photo courtesy of Jake Browne Three of the pro-Monsanto protesters.
And the rest of the planet, too, Browne contends. "My friend and I started the Monsanto Defense Fund as a joke," he acknowledges. "But as we started doing more and more research, we found out that GMO crops are basically safe -- and they've gone through some of the most rigorous testing in modern agriculture."
These efforts have made an impact on what he describes as "critical thinkers." In a release, Browne states that "eighteen major scientific organizations have endorsed GM foods, including the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization."
Photo courtesy of Jake Browne That's Browne on the right.
Moreover, he argues that those who warn about the dangers of GMOs "are using a lot of junk science to manipulate people who want to get involved, people with great intentions." He points to the Séralini study, conducted by Gilles-Eric Séralini, which purported to show that genetically modified corn caused tumors in rats. "Everyone from mainstream science who's reviewed it has disproven it quickly," Browne maintains, "and the scientist who conducted it is anti-GMO."
The study has its defenders, but it's been widely attacked as well; read more about it in this positive post, a negative one, and a Wikipedia page on the topic.
Photo courtesy of Jake Browne Browne engages one anti-GMO protester.
If GMOs are so great, why are so many people raising concerns about them? For one reason, Browne says, "there's a huge financial incentive for people who tell the public that they're not safe. People are starting their own organizations, people are shooting documentaries, selling T-shirts. There's big money to be made off of people's fear of GMO food."
The same can't be said for touting it, at least in Browne's experience. With no assistance from Monsanto ("If we were working with them, we'd probably have had better signs," Browne says), a grand total of five people showed up to counter the March Against Monsanto in downtown this past weekend. And while Browne casts doubt on rally organizers' claims of attendance in the 1,500 to 2,000 range -- he thinks only about a hundred people took part in the march itself -- his forces were clearly outnumbered.
Photo courtesy of Jake Browne Another conversation with an anti-Monsanto protester.
Fortunately, Browne, who says he's received death threats about his efforts, found the anti-Monsanto people on hand to be much more reasonable than anticipated. "We were very impressed," he concedes. "We told everybody we were there to peacefully protest and were engaged by a number of individuals who just wanted to talk -- who wanted to hear our side, and to tell us their side. We started a dialogue with a number of people, and we're going to continue that."