Demonizing companies and individuals through the use of misleading and false information is never productive. More times than not, fissures are created, within families, communities, states, the country and even the world. It is very acceptable to question actions and results, but let us remember to remain objective in our assessment, research the origins of the information and pass on only that which is true. Passing this type of information along, without doing research on it, is just as irresponsible as passing along an email that says the world will end if you don’t forward to your whole address book.
I have seen a number of people posting on Facebook and Twitter lately, that they have signed one of a couple of petitions currently circulating with a host of claims against Monsanto. Many of these people I consider to be friends and respect. I felt inclined to write this post to provide some additional information in order to clarify several of the accusations that are being claimed. I, for one, as a small farmer and rancher, am very grateful for the work that work that Monsanto and others are doing to help farmers be more efficient and holistic in their management opportunities.
I have now written seven posts pertaining to feeds and the feeding of cattle, with the hope to explain with clarity two things: corn is not the only feed fed to cattle and grass finishing cattle is less efficient than grain finishing.
Do not take this the wrong way, please. I have nothing against grass finished cattle. In fact, I fully support the marketing of the product as a wonderful opportunity to offer consumers more choices. In fact, I raise some grass-fed to meet that specific market.
What I do take exception to is when some individuals make claims that are untrue and misleading.
Claim: Grass finished cattle take the same amount of time to reach their end point.
Grass is wonderful for growing cattle, but due to the low digestible energy (DE), when compared to grain, is not an efficient means to finish cattle. Grain finished cattle reach an endpoint around 13 – 15 months of age, while grass finished cattle reach an endpoint around 19 – 23 months. An animals breed, genetics and frame size also play a role in determining how quickly an animal will reach their endpoint. However, the biggest factor is the animals diet; high energy yields quicker gains and lower energy yields slower gains.
After reading a recently sited report on the relationship between GMO’s and organ damage by de Vendômois et. al., (http://is.gd/6k7mz) I did a little research on the study and came to the following conclusions.
1. de Vendômois et. al. did not use traditional statistical methodology to reassess their toxicology data resulting from their studies with the three varieties studied.
2. de Vendômois et. al’s conclusions appear to be unsubstantiated.
a. The HCB (French High Council on Biotechnology) stated that de Vendômois et. al’s study did not contribute to the safety assessment of GMO’s.
b. The FSANZ claims that de Vendômois et. al “distorted” the significance of the toxicology by failing to account for “other” relevant factors and overly “emphasized” the statistical treatment of the data.
3. de Vendômois et. al failed to considered the following:
b. Dose-related trends;
c. Relationship to other findings;
d. Variance of delta and relationship to findings in the norm; and
e. Rate of occurrence when findings varied between sexes.
4. At first glance, de Vendômois et. al’s findings demonstrate no negative effects with the three varieties used, especially when considering normal/traditional statistical analysis.
5. Put simply: de Vendômois et. al’s study was designed to reach a pre-determined outcome and thus, utilized statistical methodology that would support that outcome.
Certainly, I’m just a farmer and rancher, but I do have a college education with ample background in statistics and science. I would be interested if anyone with a doctorate in science finds any flaws in my Common Sense approach to analyzing this study while feeding hay in the field.
Back to feeding now, I certainly am enjoying this air card for the laptop.