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Eighteen hundred sheep killed by GM

Eighteen hundred sheep died in Andhra Pradesh (India) after grazing on Bt cotton bushes after the cotton had been picked. The cotton bushes had been genetically modified to contain the natural pesticide bacillus thuringiensis - Bt). More proof (as if it was needed!) that GM versions are not “substantially equivalent” to the natural variety, as the biotech companies claim.

The shepherd-farmers of Andhra Pradesh have learned the hard way just how inappropriate genetically engineered cotton is to their culture. Firstly it has poisoned their sheep, an accident that will probably occur again whatever precautions the shepherds take.

Secondly, grazing animals on fields after harvesting is a fundamental part of subsistence farming. The more fields that are planted with genetically modified crops, the less land there will be for after-harvest grazing.

Thirdly, they have discovered that Bt cotton is a less profitable crop than natural cotton. The average yield per acre may be higher (Bt 10 quintals, natural 8 quintals), but so is the average overall cost (Bt 9,000 rupees, natural 5,000 rupees).

Planting natural cotton brought in an extra 500 rupees an acre.

(12465) GM Watch

Sheep, GM, genetically modified, Bt, Bt cotton -
1800 sheep killed by GM - Green Health Watch Magazine 12465