> I wonder how we can do an honest "risk/benefit assessment" of
> the existence of other non-target species? How much is a
> monarch worth? Who gets to play God?
As difficult as it is, public debate on GMO use, and other agricultural
issues is essential in order to formulate public policy. It is necessary to
come to some decision about how much monarch butterflies, etc. are worth.
There is no technical answer about the value of a butterfly. But technical
information can facilitate decisions by providing, for example, estimates of
monarch death rates under various scenarios.
> Aren't there alternatives like in the cow's milk benefit to
> feeding milk cows contaminated corn in the first place?
Everything has a cost, and to avoid feeding mycotoxin-containing corn
requires, first, testing it, and if contaminated, selling the corn at a
reduced price. To make informed decisions about these things, we require
technical information, such as expected increase in milk price to control
the risk versus cost of genetic solutions.
> And the biggie question, how long will it take with the
> widespread dispersal of the BT's toxin thoughout the
> environment for this to become ineffective throught the
> evolution of resistant pest?
I think for most people, this is not an important question compared to
issues of food safety.
> Coffee anyone?
Are you alluding to the risks of drinking coffee ;-) or pooh-poohing the
idea of risk-benefit analysis?
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