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Agriculture's Edge

RSS By: Chris Bennett, Farm Journal

Covering all things agriculture; high-brow, low-brow and all points in between.

Agriculture and farmers are killing us all

Jun 09, 2014

We will all soon be dead if U.S. agriculture is not stopped, because in the realm of ill health, there is no sickness or malady that can’t be blamed on farming.

GM tumors, arsenic toxins, ammonia poisoning, Alzheimer’s, childhood behavior problems, cancer, sex hormone chaos, shrinking genitalia, deformities, poor digestion, obesity and a growing grab-bag of others can be dropped on agriculture’s doorstep. Just to be safe, throw syphilis, athlete’s foot, and ingrown toenails in the mix as well. (It’s only a matter of time before someone contends they are causally linked to agriculture.)

There’s really no need to quibble over cause-and-effect, because condemning agriculture for the world’s ills is as simple as taking a page right from old-time televangelism. It’s merely a borrowing of the "Name it and claim it" gospel: Name the malady and consign the blame to farming. Evidence and testimony are a bit sticky and problematic, but can be ignored in the short-term and buried in the long-term.

A few of the latest suspects to emerge:

-- Pyrethroids are an insecticide ingredient commonly found in a few thousand household products, but also used in farming. They may cause behavior problems and attention disorders in children, including hyperactivity. Pyrethroids offer a great opportunity for fathers and mothers to ease away from the burden of parental responsibility and shift it to agriculture.

-- Phthalates, chemical compounds found in chicken, are a factor in small penises. PETA has gone to great lengths to combat diminished genitalia, warning pregnant women on the shortcomings of eating chicken wings.

-- GM corn causes tumors and death in lab rats. This claim has been pilloried even by the journal that published it, but no matter, constant repetition of the claim will guarantee that at least someone will believe it.

-- Atrazine, a popular weed killer, causes hormone disruption, neural damage, cancer, and most eye-catching of all — hermaphrodism in frogs. Trannie frogs — nuff said.

-- Each year, U.S farmers are responsible for 5,100 premature deaths and $36 billion in ammonia-related sickness costs. United States agriculture, scaled to supply foreign markets, is to blame due to fertilizer use and manure accumulation. (Agriculture exports are the perfect arena to attack farmers; an absolute win-win. If exports are up, claim farmers are killing Americans. If exports are down, claim farmers are starving foreigners.)

-- DDT linked to Alzheimer’s. Even though Alzheimer’s has been around longer than DDT (and DDT has been banned in the U.S. since 1972), this one will create plenty of smoke with no fire.

No Claim is a Lie

-- U.S. rice is packed with arsenic. The FDA has repeatedly stated that arsenic levels are miniscule and pose no health hazards, but this claim is a bomb and should be repeated ad nauseam.

-- The introduction of GM cotton to India is responsible for a phenomenal farmer suicide rate. Forget the veracity of the contention, the mix of GM crops and suicide has great legs.

-- GM golden rice causes allergies and packs no nutrition. Greenpeace believes that claim, so it can’t be wrong. (Do not mention that millions of children die and go blind each decade from lack of vitamin A; any moral inconvenience or incongruity tends to cloud the issue.)

-- Obesity and general poor health is a catch-all category to drop on Big Food and Big Ag. Holler for more government mandates: Sugar taxes, soda bans, and GM food labels must go nationwide.

"Name it and claim it" is a wonderfully elastic science -- unbounded by validity -- that exposes agriculture and doesn't require a shred of truth to perpetuate. Just remember, no assertion is too outrageous and no flavor-of-the-week claim is a lie as long as even a single person believes it -- even if that person is wearing a straitjacket.

 

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COMMENTS (2 Comments)

cbennett71 - Lyon, MS
Come on Cindy, agriculture is consistently hit with outlandish claims in buckshot fashion. The charges are leveled and activists have carte blanche to play judge and jury. When such behavior leads to delays in developing life-saving crop tech for millions of suffering children (Golden Rice), it's plainly evident that ideology and poor science are a dangerous mix.
9:54 AM Jun 17th
 
Cindy - Hutchinson, MN
Well, this is a waste of space and copy. The author is presenting the same reductio ad absurdum argument he faults others for making. Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, pot.
5:56 PM Jun 16th
 

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