Pig farmers are having major breeding problems from feeding their animals genetically-engineered corn. Despite 30 years of experience farming in Shelby County, Iowa, Jerry Rosman couldn't figure out why the birthrates of piglets fell 80%. He tested for diseases and made sure artificial insemination was working right, but he couldn't find the cause.
Then he found out that 4 other nearby farmers were having the same problem. These farmers had different kinds of pigs and used different breeding methods. But they all had one thing in common: They all fed their pigs the same GM corn.
Laboratory tests revealed the corn contained high levels of Fusarium mold. One farmer switched one of his groups of swine back to regular, non-GM corn, and those pigs no longer had a breeding problem. And the problem wasn't confined to that area. As soon as the news about his genetically-engineered corn problems got out, Rosman was swamped with phone calls from other desperate farmers. He says, "It hadn't even hit the mailboxes and the phone started ringing."
Norm Smith, who has a farm in Winterset, Iowa, says he experienced the same problem within a few weeks of feeding his pigs the new corn hybrids that he planted for the first time last spring. "I started feeding Bt corn in late September, and within 30 days I wasn't getting anything bred," Smith says.
Farmers are concerned that GM crops are being rushed to the market without proper testing. The EPA, which regulates Bt corn, requires no tests to determine how the crop affects the reproductive systems of the animals that eat it.
It's not that genetically-engineered food is necessarily bad. It's just that we may not find out the problems associated with it until it has taken over and contaminated or replaced natural crops. And by that time, it may be too late.
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