The blind cruelty of Greenpeace 4

We enraged a Greenpeace supporter with our posts The evil that Greenpeace does (1/16/2010) and The vast left-wing conspiracy (1/18/2010).

May this post horrify as many people of common sense as it can reach, even if it infuriates Greenpeace supporters to the point of apoplexy, exposing as it does the persistent, atrocious evil that Greenpeace continues to do, motivated by sheer doctrinaire bigotry, through decade after decade, in conspiracy with governments.

Denis Avery, who is Director for Global Food Issues with the Hudson Institute, and was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State, writes here:

We do know how to prevent 500,000 kids from going blind every year—and even dying—due to severe Vitamin A deficiency (VAD). But we’re not preventing the blindness or the deaths. Instead, we’re accepting the tragedy of millions of blind kids, plus the deaths of hundreds of thousands of pregnant women who die from needless birth complications, also due to VAD. …

We started trying to cure Vitamin A deficiency 20 years ago, after a Swiss government researcher bioengineered “golden rice”. The new rice contained a gene from the daffodil that codes for beta-carotene. The human body can then make Vitamin A out of the beta carotene. Kids in rich countries get most of their Vitamin A from meat, milk and eggs, but poor-country kids live mainly on such plant foods as rice, cassava and sweet potatoes. None provide much bio-available Vitamin A.

But Greenpeace and its eco-allies claimed — without evidence — that such genetic engineering is a “danger to the planet”.

Even after Syngenta developed a corn-based “golden rice II” with vastly more beta carotene — and offered it free to the Third World — Greenpeace still said no.

Only now, after 20 years of blockade and delay, are we finally seeing the dramatic benefits of growing Vitamin A crops in the local fields. In the Mukono District of Uganda, they’re growing bio-fortified sweet potatoes. Here, about 25 percent of the children used to be wan and sickly, prone to severe diarrhea, pneumonia, eye inflammations and blindness. Most of the kids are now healthy and vigorous. Pregnant women are thriving, along with their babies.

The difference? Orange-colored sweet potatoes, supplied by Uganda’s national agricultural research organization. They’re rich in beta-carotene, and they produce high yields because they resist local crop diseases. The germ plasm for the new sweet potatoes originated at HarvestPlus — Norman Borlaug’s international farm research organization that saved a billion people from starving in the Green Revolution of the 1960s.

“A danger to the plane”, of course, is what Greenpeace has called virtually every recent advance in global food production. At the same time, they claim the earth cannot sustainably feed the people already here. The European Union, to its shame, has backed up Greenpeace with threats to boycott the farm exports of any country which allows biotech plantings. In India, rice farmers protested plantings of the new rice, for fear the EU’s ban on biotech foods would block their exports of high-value basmati rice.

HarvestPlus finally decided to breed around the Greenpeace blockade. It took more than a decade of laborious test plots and back-crossing, but now cross-bred beta-carotene is being planted in farmers’ fields—and the Mukono mothers say their kids have become remarkably healthier. All it cost was 20 more years, 10 million more blindings, and millions of maternal deaths.