New research links thedecline of Monarch butterflies to GM crops, which makes it no wonder that the latest Consumer Report poll found that92% surveyed believe there should be stronger federal regulations on GMO crops.
The connection between declining Monarch populations and increased use of pesticides due to GMO crops is not new. Back in January, a report issued in part by the World Wildlife Fund found that monarch populations have declined as much as 96% from all-time highs in the last twenty years. Researchers were quick to discover that the Monarch’s only food source, milkweed, has declined by 58% over the last decade, killed, without a doubt by glyphosate, the active herbicide that is applied to “Round Up Ready” corn, marketed by Monsanto. Efforts for preserving Monarch populations have been largely focused in Mexico, where Monarchs go to overwinter, and new research from the University of Guelph has found that conservation efforts have had little effect, because of continued milk weed decline in the states. Emily Chung of CBC News reports:
Farmers have been increasingly planting corn and soybeans resistant to herbicides, and then applying those herbicides liberally on their fields. That kills off plants between the rows of crops that aren't resistant, such as milkweed.
That's been a big problem for the butterflies. Even now, 67 per cent of milkweed plants in the butterflies' breeding grounds are found in "agriculture-intensive landscapes," the study reported.”
With ecological effects as obvious as this, as well as a host of other environmental, ethical and human health consequence, public opinion is almost unanimously in support of stricter federal regulations on GMOs. In a recent phone survey report, Consumer Reports National Research Center put that number at a whopping 92%—that means 92% of people surveyed thought that Genetically Engineered food should meet safety standards and should be labeled. That same number, 92%, thought that genetically engineered salmon should be labeled as well. According the CR research synopsis:
This poll underscores that, across the country, consumers want labeling of GE food, including GE salmon, and consider safety standards set by the government of such food imperative,” said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports.
While the battle over GMO labeling continues, it is pretty obvious where consumers and butterflies opinions are.
- Monarch butterfly decline linked to spread of GM crops via CBC News
- New Consumer Reports poll shows consumer demand for strong federal standards for genetically engineered food via Consumers Union
Read all articles by Damon Cory-Watson