Genetically Modified Plants
Would most people eat a hamburger if they knew that the cow that provided the beef possessed genes from a sheep? How about bacon that came from a pig with sheep traits? More likely than not, they would refuse to consume such products, denouncing them as unsafe and irresponsible. Protests over these animals with mixed genetics would probably begin. This genetic tampering has been occurring in plants for years, but the majority of consumers do not think twice about purchasing products derived from these genetically engineered plants. While some may claim that the benefits of these genetically modified plants outweigh the negative effects, it becomes apparent that the crops cause more harm than good. Genetically engineered plants should not be produced because of the harm they cause to farmers, because of the harm they cause to the environment, and because of the harm they cause to people.
Contrary to what the companies that produce these altered crops would like people to believe, genetically modified crops fail to help farmers. Rather, they affect farmers adversely when compared to natural crops. Organic farmers face especially high risks because these plants can and will breed with other nearby crops, whether they are genetically modified or not. If fact, one study “demonstrated that more than 50% of the wild strawberries growing within 50 meters of a strawberry field contained marker genes from the cultivated strawberries” (Hanson). Because these modified crops spread so frequently, it proves almost impossible to ensure that the organic crops are natural and are not the offspring of a modified plant. These crops also threaten conventional farmers. Many of these altered plants are resistant to herbicides. Now, instead of finding new ways to control weeds, farmers can simply dump herbicide wholesale on their crops. These poisons often seep into the groundwater that both people animals use for sustenance. Lastly, using genetically modified crops gives seed companies far too much control. One popular modification is the addition of what is called “terminator technology.” This technology renders any crops that express certain genes unable to reproduce (Ho, Ching, and Cummins 25). While legitimate reasons exist for seed companies to take actions of this sort, it puts both farmers and the whole population in a new sort of danger. What would happen if a seed company decided to raise the price of these seeds to astronomical levels? Unlike natural crops, whose seeds famers can plant again, these altered crops cannot breed a new generation. Because larger companies frequently buy out the smaller seed companies that might still sell natural seeds, there is little anyone could do (Hanson). A significant portion of the world’s food supply relies on these companies. In addition to hurting farmers, genetically modified crops damage the environment.
Not surprisingly, switching around the genes of...