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Monsanto Statement Regarding BT Cotton Leaves

Monsanto Statement Regarding BT Cotton leaves

Our attention has been drawn to some press statements issued by various groups alleging that sheep have died after consuming Bt cotton leaves.

We would like to inform you that safety studies on goats, cows, buffaloes, chicken and fish have been conducted as part of the regulatory process for the approval of Bollgard. Mahyco had conducted hundreds of field trials in India and had done extensive nutritional and bio safety studies with Bt cotton in co-operation with many national institutions.

All the data generated from the trials and studies had been submitted to the Indian Regulatory authorities prior to approval in 2002. We would also like to inform that a 90-day goat feeding study was conducted by Industrial Toxicology Research Center, Lucknow in 1998.

The treatment groups included goats fed Bt cottonseed and control groups that were fed non-Bt cottonseed. According to Dr. Vishwanathan, Scientist involved in this study, "The feed analyses showed the similarity in nutrient and toxicant compositions between Bt & non-Bt cotton seeds, feed intake, weight gain, hematologyand serum enzymes were measured for each animal during the feeding period of the study.

At the end of this study, the animals were assessed for gross pathology and histopathology. It was concluded from the result by the above analyses that Bt cottonseed is as wholesome and safe for animal feed as non-Bt cottonseed. The differences observed across 48 goats in gross pathology and histo-pathology was attributed to any cottonseed feeding treatments, and was typical for goat feeding on cottonseed."

India has a well-developed regulatory regime for genetically improved plants and Bollgard is undoubtedly the most extensively studied cotton seed in India and abroad today. The rigorous scientific studies conducted in India and abroad demonstrate that Bollgard and its products are safe for the environment, human beings, animals and agriculture. It has been conclusively established that Bt cotton is equivalent to conventional cotton in composition and agronomic performance and has no adverse effects on non-target organisms and the environment in general.

It would be appropriate for those who have genuine concerns about crop biotechnology to bolster their case with the weight of scientific evidence and debate, rather than seek to divert attention from a failed cause by making unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations.

ENDS

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