Quantcast

Agrichemical Industry 'Attack Dog' Hired to Discredit Teenage Anti-GMO Activist

Food

The U.S. agrichemical lobby targeted a Canadian teenager as part of its "increasingly nasty and divisive public relations war over GMOs," according to new reporting from Global News.

Rachel Parent was 14 years old when her activism around labeling genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food caught the eye of pro-GMO corporations and lobby groups.

Rachel Parent, founder of the not-for-profit organization Kids Right To Know, was reportedly targeted by the pro-GMO lobby. Photo credit: GlobalNews.ca / Screenshot

According to emails and thousands of other pages of documents released in a freedom of information request by U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), a non-profit advocacy group funded by the Organic Consumers Association, these industry forces conspired to think of ways to discredit Parent and counter her message.

"It's mostly scientists that they attack, but Rachel is a standout," Gary Ruskin, the co-director of USRTK, told Global News. "The agrichemical industry is plainly quite threatened by this teenage schoolgirl, so that’s why they're after her."

Among other things, the news outlet reports that University of Florida professor Kevin Folta—whom Ruskin describes as "one of the principal attack dogs of the agrichemical industry"—was hired by public relations firm Ketchum to make a video about Parent.

According to Global News:

The video discussed Parent’s activism, her belief that all GMO food products should be labeled and addressed her apparent lack of scientific knowledge.

“So when I think about answering Rachel Parent, who’s the activist child—well, young woman—who’s running the website ‘Kids Right to Know' … The things I just adore about Rachel is that she’s clearly very articulate, clearly intelligent,” Folta said in the video.

“The problem that I have is when Rachel starts to let non-scientific thinking really kind of cloud her final decision-making process.”

Parent said she finds the tone of the video “almost degrading.”

A poll commissioned by a coalition of consumer and environmental groups showed earlier this month that nearly 90 percent of Americans want mandatory labeling on GMO foods.

For more, see the Global News video below:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

5 Things Monsanto Doesn’t Want You to Know About the GMO Labeling Debate

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Micromobility is the future of transportation in cities, but cities and investors need to plan ahead to avoid challenges. Jonny Kennaugh / Unsplash

By Carlo Ratti, Ida Auken

On the window of a bike shop in Copenhagen, a sign reads: Your next car is a bike.

Read More Show Less
An American flag waves in the wind at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, California on May 17 where a trial against Monsanto took place. Alva and Alberta Pilliod, were awarded more than $2 billion in damages in their lawsuit against Monsanto, though the judge in the case lowered the damage award to $87 million. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

By Carey Gillam

For the last five years, Chris Stevick has helped his wife Elaine in her battle against a vicious type of cancer that the couple believes was caused by Elaine's repeated use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide around a California property the couple owned. Now the roles are reversed as Elaine must help Chris face his own cancer.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Butterfly habitats have fallen 77 percent in the last 50 years. Pixabay / Pexels

The last 50 years have been brutal for wildlife. Animals have lost their habitats and seen their numbers plummet. Now a new report from a British conservation group warns that habitat destruction and increased pesticide use has on a trajectory for an "insect apocalypse," which will have dire consequences for humans and all life on Earth, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
Six of the nineteen wind turbines which were installed on Frodsham Marsh, near the coal-powered Fiddler's Ferry power station, in Helsby, England on Feb. 7, 2017.

Sales of electric cars are surging and the world is generating more and more power from renewable sources, but it is not enough to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to stop the global climate crisis, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Read More Show Less
"Globally, we're starting to see examples of retailers moving away from plastics and throwaway packaging, but not at the urgency and scale needed to address this crisis." Greenpeace

By Jake Johnson

A Greenpeace report released Tuesday uses a hypothetical "Smart Supermarket" that has done away with environmentally damaging single-use plastics to outline a possible future in which the world's oceans and communities are free of bags, bottles, packaging and other harmful plastic pollutants.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Children are forced to wear masks due to the toxic smoke from peat land fires in Indonesia. Aulia Erlangga / CIFOR

By Irene Banos Ruiz

Pediatricians in New Delhi, India, say children's lungs are no longer pink, but black.

Our warming planet is already impacting the health of the world's children and will shape the future of an entire generation if we fail to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6°F), the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report on health and climate change shows.

Read More Show Less
Private homes surround a 20 inch gas liquids pipeline which is part of the Mariner East II project on Oct. 5, 2017 in Marchwood, Penn. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

The FBI is looking into how the state of Pennsylvania granted permits for a controversial natural gas pipeline as part of a corruption investigation, the AP reports.

Read More Show Less
Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles. Carolina Wild Ones / Facebook

Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less