Tracy Aquilla's Remarkable Post re Cotton, Erad.
Charles Benbrook (email@example.com)
Tue, 11 Apr 1995 11:45:54 -0700 (PDT)
Thank you Tracy for one of those rare, substantive posts that takes a
discussion to another level. I agree with you that even a simple
knowledge and acceptance of basic ecological prinicpals is inconcistent
with faith in eradication, especially in a world as mobile as this one --
except in the case of complete loss of species, the one form of
eradication which has been proven to be stable. I do not think the boll
weevil is ready for listing under the ESA.
As I read your post, I could not help but think of the irony of
senior scientists in certain agrichemical companies, and their cohorts in
academe, arguing recently before the EPA's Scientific Advisory Panel that
they have figured out an ingenious andessentially full proof resistance
management strateggy for BT-transgenic cotton. Here is an industry
urging upon the policy process "good science" arguing that resistance to
BT will not emerge because they hjave figured out how to express the
BT-producing gene at such a high level that any insect within the filed
will just keel over from little more than a sniff. Geez, I just can not
believe that reasonable people and respected scientists would buy into
such a stupid and implausible notion. I suppose there is a theortetical
foundation for the argument, but how can people really accept that
expression of the gene in the field, across all growing conditions and
genetic variablity is going to always express the gene high enough? It
will not work; there is soild scientific evidence showing why, yet
government has been "convinced" by the experts that it might.
BT resistant insects, once on the loose throughout the south,
will create havoc in southern fruit and vegetable industries, and create
a BT-resistant gene pool that will soon (a generation or so) eliminate BT
worldwide as an effective natural insecticide. Nice trick. It is a
shame such a series of events appears to be ready to unfold. I wonder if
farmers, denied of BT-susceptable strains of insects, can sue the gov't
or chemical companies for a taking?