Many will argue that GMOs are contrary to nature, and it’s a pretty difficult claim to dispute. Splicing genes and injecting certain genes into a completely different species seems like quite a strange thing to do. We like to think that nature has been working out the kinks, and we shouldn’t be interfering in the process. What seems to be up for debate, however, is whether or not GMOs are infringing on farmer’ constitutional rights.
Yes, you read that correctly: “infringing on farmer’ constitutional rights”. In America, we have been given the freedom of choice, and it’s a wonderful thing, but GMOs threaten that freedom for farmers everywhere—particularly those who believe in non-GMO.
What We Learned From Joel Salatin
By nature, GMO crops reproduce and spread. They don’t care about a farm’s boundaries either, they can and will easily drift from one farm to another. Joel Salatin explains this problem:
I’m a big believer in food choice. Choice is a close relative of liberty; you can’t have choice without liberty. One of the societal constraints on liberty is the sacredness of my own stuff—the fourth amendment protects us from search and seizure without probable cause and a warrant. A person is to be protected in themselves and their effects from unwarranted intrusion.
So when it comes to GMOs, you have to understand, this is a technology that is not limited to my own exercise of choice to use it. It is inherently an invasive technology.
If you choose to use an iPhone, your iPhone does not keep my flip phone from working. But if your GMO—your promiscuous GMO I might add, inherently chosen for promiscuity—if your promiscuous life form that you own comes across my field (my boundary) and impregnates my crop and makes me have a new life form that I don’t want, that is taking away my choice to live without that technology. That is at the most basic level of what it means to have the free exercise.
Rights Of The American Farmer
GMOs have been banned from the food supply in countries all over the world, but in America, farmers are actually forced to pay for the “privilege” of having their natural crops contaminated by these genetically modified organisms. In fact, Monsanto is infamous for suing farmers for patent infringement, even though the farmers weren’t technically at fault, the crops were.
It’s really tough to prevent GMO crops from spreading into non-GMO fields, and many farmers who take precautions are unsuccessful. Unfortunately, GMOs not only limit the personal freedoms of farmers who strive for natural crops, many times it also costs them financially. What kind of freedom is that?
Looking At GMOs Differently
Whether you believe in GMOs or prefer a more natural lifestyle, one thing’s for certain: we’ve got to get the general public to view GMOs differently in order to preserve the rights of farmers. The freedom to choose is an important right that all Americans should possess, but with the current state of GMO law, not everyone can.