Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Syngenta corporation faces criminal charges for covering up livestock deaths from GM corn
By Ethan A. Huff
June 27 2012
Biotechnology giant Syngenta has officially been outed for deliberately hiding data that proves the company’s genetically-modified (GM) Bt 176 corn is directly responsible for killing livestock. Dr. Eva Sirinathsinghji writing for QW Magazine explains that Syngenta is now facing criminal charges for willfully concealing the results of an internal, company-run study on Bt 176 corn from 1996 that was abruptly ended when four cows died after just two days of consuming the “Frankencorn.”
Gottfried Gloeckner, a German farmer from Woelfersheim, originally filed the suit roughly a decade after dozens of his own dairy cows died from exposure to Syngenta’s Bt 176 corn. Gloeckner first began feeding his cattle Bt 176 corn as part of their diet back in 1997 when Syngenta gained government approval to run field trials of the crop on Gloeckner’s property. And by 2000, Bt 176 corn was the only thing Gloeckner was feeding his cows.
As this transition from natural feed to GM feed was taking place, however, Gloeckner noticed that his cows were increasingly developing serious illnesses, many of which resulted in the animals’ rapid death. By 2001, five of Gloeckner’s cows had died, and another seven died by 2002, upon which Gloeckner decided to remove all GMOs from his livestock feed. But most of Gloeckner’s remaining cows ended up suffering intestinal damage, decreased milk production, and other ailments that resulted in their having to be put down as well.
Syngenta lied about dangers of Bt 176 corn in 2007 civil court case
At the time, Syngenta partially compensated Gloeckner for the loss of his 65-head herd as a result of Bt 176 corn. But the company ultimately refused to admit that Bt 176 corn was definitively responsible for the harm caused, a sentiment that the German and EU governments also appeared to embrace in their refusal to investigate the situation. So for years, Gloeckner has remained burdened with insurmountable debt from his losses, and with no legal remedy at his disposal.
But the situation changed in 2009 when Gloeckner discovered Syngenta’s 1996 study, which prompted him to initiate legal action against the company. He has since been joined by Bundnis Aktion Gen-Klage, a German activist group, and Urs Hans, a “farmer turned activist,” both of which are also in hot pursuit of justice against Syngenta.
The revelation of Bt 176 corn’s extreme toxicity in cattle proves that Syngenta has been lying for years about the crop’s supposed safety. The company falsely testified in a civil court case back in 2007 that Bt 176 corn was safe, which resulted in the dismissal of charges against the company that Bt 176 corn was responsible for cattle deaths. Now, suspicions that Syngenta was indeed withholding crucial information about Bt 176 corn have been confirmed by Syngenta’s own study.
Syngenta also appears to have manufactured a phony study on sheep several years later in an attempt to whitewash the findings of the 1996 study. A 2008 report from GM-Free Cymru explains that the study, which was conducted in Italy between 2002 and 2005, was a poor attempt at making Bt 176 corn appear harmless and identical to natural varieties of corn. Not only was data obviously manipulated in that particular study, but sample sizes were too small, and the amount of GM materials added to animal feed was miniscule and unrealistic.