Lobbyist tells the world that Monsanto herbicide is safe enough to drink, then refuses to drink it! Jonathan Matthews reports
In the wake of the World Health Organization's designation of the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide as a "probable carcinogen", the French investigative journalist and film maker Paul Moreira has released a sensational video of an interview with the high-profile GMO advocate Patrick Moore.
In the film, Moore first assures Moreira that you can drink a whole quart of glyphosate without suffering any harm and then refuses to drink it, telling the film maker, "I'm not an idiot."
The interview was recorded as part of Moreira's six-month-long investigation for the documentary "Bientôt dans vos assiettes" (Soon on your plate), originally broadcast by the French TV channel Canal +.
The film shows the terrible damage done in Argentina over the last 15 years by the use of increasingly large and uncontrolled amounts of agrochemicals in the GMO soy-growing areas. The documentary notes the explosion of illnesses, including cancer, among those living in the areas where the Roundup Ready crop is being cultivated.
Here's the transcript of Moreira's interview with Moore, which is conducted in English:
Moore: Do not believe that glyphosate in Argentina is causing increases in cancer. You can drink a whole quart of it and it won't hurt you.
Interviewer: You want to drink some? We have some here.
Moore: I'd be happy to actually... Not, not really, but...
Interviewer: Not really?
Moore: I know it wouldn't hurt me.
Interviewer: If you say so, I have some glyphosate.
Moore: No, I'm not stupid.
Interviewer: OK. So you… So it's dangerous, right?
Moore: No. People try to commit suicide with it and fail, fairly regularly.
Interviewer: Tell the truth. It's dangerous.
Moore: It's not dangerous to humans. No, it's not.
Interviewer: So you are ready to drink one glass of glyphosate?
Moore: No, I'm not an idiot.
Interviewer looks puzzled.
Moore: Interview me about golden rice. That's what I'm talking about.
Moore: OK. Then it's finished.
Interviewer: Except it's...
Moore: The interview is finished.
Interviewer: That's a good way to solve things.
Moore (getting up to leave): Yeah. You're a complete jerk.
Not shown in the video is Moore's dismissal as "lies" suggestions Roundup could be contributing to the cancer explosion in Argentina. This can be seen however in an advert for Moreira's documentary, which also shows how totally taken aback Moore was when offered glyphosate to drink.
Of course, the interview with Moore was recorded before the World Health Organisation's panel of scientists from 11 countries announced their decision to list glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. But Moore has subsequently used social media to dismiss the WHO's statement about glyphosate as "anti-science", comparing it to the IPCC's statements on human-induced climate change – something else Moore hotly denies.
You might conclude from all this that Moore so clearly lacks credibility that he can only be some kind of fringe figure. But in fact he's a darling of the GMO lobby, who love his aggressive attacks on GM critics. They even ran a high-profile campaign to have Moore adopted as an Ambassador for science at the current EXPO 2015 in Milan.
And Moore has only just returned from a tour of Asia where he met with Bangladesh's Minister of Agriculture, among others. He was there to promote the adoption of golden rice, even though this GMO remains both unproven and unavailable. Other effective approaches to Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) are not only readily available but have already substantially reduced VAD in for example the Philippines.
Let's hope that others among Moore's interlocutors prove as astute as Paul Moreira in exposing the hollowness of Moore's claims. Sadly though, Moore's many critics, like the journalist George Monbiot, have been waiting for years for Moore to be recognised as a toxic brand.
It’s well worth watching the actual video, which you can see here.