BT Cotton Killing Animals in North India on Large Scale
Dr Sudhir Kumar Kaura
BT cotton may be a good source of income for resourceful farmers who can bear the heavy cost of BT cotton seeds and associated farm care but, BT cotton is also found to contain Hydrogen Cyanide (A Deadly Poison for Nearly All Biological Systems) by scientifc investigation. Dr Sudhir Kumar Kaura, a Biotechnologist and Plant Geneticist brings the inside story of the hell in villages created by BT cotton in North India: Animals are dying or becoming unproductive and fail to reproduce; humans are slowly coming under the toxic grips of BT cotton allergy and possible poisoning.
Friday, June 11, 2010
As the deliberate ignorance of the society, media, judiciary, politicians and scientific community continues regarding disastrous effects BT Cotton on Buffaloes, Sheep and other animals; human health; farmers' and rural economy in North India and other states of India where oilcakes (prepared from BT Cotton Seeds) form a major feed content is being shattered constantly. Evidence of presence of Hydrogen Cranide (HCN) have come from government laboratories in the state of Andhra Pradesh State (India), where thousands of sheep perished after feeding on BT cotton some years back.
In this scenario, with no results of his anti-GM campaign in sight, Dr Sudhir Kumar Kaura, a biotechnologist and genecist, who worked in a Plant Genetic Engineering Laboratory in India for about 10 years as graduate student and doctoral fellow, has now announced that he is planning to put himself to an experiment where he would be eating BT cotton leaves and other BT cotton plant parts to exhibit their ill effects on human body and other animals. This may be good signal to humanity at large that by ignoring the scientific warnings, failure to warn the illiterate animal keepers and shepherds and failure to test dangers of BT cotton or other Genetically Modified Plants, we are actually killing animals as per reports from Andhra Pradesh (India) and his own earlier reports from Haryana State (India) and thus in fact killing the livelihood of poor farmers and animal keepers.
Dr Sudhir Kumar Kaura says that his extensive survey in many districts of Haryana state in India, sheep are dying after grazing on cotton plants and they perish with in 10 to 15 days as per my own observations. Some sheep may survive. He further explanin the symptoms of poisoning in sheep which are : getting off feed, diarrhoea, etc. 'This, I have observed in many villages and even in my own native city, Hisar', he says. One shepherd family lost all of their sheep flock.
Dr Kaura says that, Buffaloes perish bit slowly over many months compare to sheep. Like sheep they also become go off feed many a times. Other ill effects are : unable to conceive properply or regularly or even not conceiving, giving birth to significantly smaller sized offsprings much before the normal delivery time (less than normal pregnancy period), Protrusion of uterus, allergy symptoms on skin, reduction in milk (10% in one week in some cases), dysfunction of teats, etc. The taste of the milk is also becoming less and less acceptable to the farmers and many people in villages say that they have reduced or stopped taking milk or milk products. Taste of butteroil has also reportedly changed. I myself has not taken buffalo milk for last about 2 years. I only take cow milk which is not fed on BT cotton seeds/oilcake. Many farmers in the area have stopped feeding BT cotton seeds/oilcake to animals.
Dr Kaura says that even in Rohtak, the home district of present Chief Minister situation is similar to other districts of Haryana state, Many farmers / labourers who attend to animals and handle BT cotton seeds/oilcake as a part of animal feed, are experiencing itching and allergy symptoms including white patches on whole of body especially on chest, back, neck, hands, and even in private parts.
Dr Kaura is really worried about many people and even children who go out in BT cotton farms for labour, many of them are experiencing horrible allergy symptoms on their hands, feet, body, etc. which includes boils (like smallpox), itching, redness, white patches, etc. Most of the Local medical practioners in villages term this itching as scabies which requires costly medicines which can really trouble a labourer who earns 1 or 2 US Dollars per day or even in a couple of days or even less. Some go about with out treating unbearlable allergy/itching. A village head in nearby village named Dhansu told me that some people have spent lakhs of rupees on their allergy/itching.
Dr Kaura warns that if government does not stop BT cotton flow in to the feed of animals the small and marginal farmer economy which is basically driven by milk will be shattered in no time. As many of the buffaloes who are fed on Bt cotton oilcake/seeds are getting ill and/or not able to conceive and/or having fall in milk yield, most anmial keepers sell their animals for a price which may be about 50 to 70 per cent lower than the normal market price of the animal. The she calf goes directly to the butcher if it is not able to conceive and get pregnant.
Interestingly, Dr Kaura is playing a multiple role of a scientist, a journalist and a social worker in his fight agaist the BT cotton and other genetically modified plants. He gives a simple explaination, take any village or locality, those farmers/animal keepers who do not feed BT cotton seeds/oilcake, their animals are not experiencing any of the problems listed above and they comparatively healthier and yielding more milk than those fed with BT cotton seeds/oilcake. He also claims that many farmers and social organisations have experimented with BT cotton oilcake/seeds on their valuable animals and finally declared BT cotton unsafe for animals.
Dr Kaura gave an example of a farmer from Rajasthan who claimed that when he started giving BT cotton oilcake to his buffalo early this year, the milk production dropped from 10.5 litres to about 7 litres in about one month and in one week the decline in milk was about 1 litre. Many Farmers say they could reverse the symptoms after removing BT cotton seeds and BT cotton oilcake from feed. Compared to some years back, now the symptoms of ill effects and deaths of animals and allergy to humans are more widespread and more evident and even a 10-12 years old child of any village can tell why BT cotton is so dangerous.
[Dr Sudhir Kumar Kaura is a geneticist and biotechnologist based in Hisar, Haryana State, India, and can be contacted at Tel: 00911662229163 in India and 01662229163 from outside India. E-mail: lokvaani'ATfirstname.lastname@example.org (replace 'AT' by @)]