HomeHuman InterestWhat Happens When a Wise 14-Year-Old Girl Debates a Monsanto/GMO Apologist?

What Happens When a Wise 14-Year-Old Girl Debates a Monsanto/GMO Apologist?

THIS is what happens!

For more on Rachel Parent, check out these links:

Rachel’s website: http://www.gmo-news.com
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network: www.cban.ca
Petition for mandatory GMO food labeling: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Brin…
O’Leary knocks himself out: http://youtu.be/OFS035Kdo-s
Rachel’s challenge to O’Leary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XcXK…

Watch Rachel Parent vs. Kevin O’Leary here:


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  • http://None Kent Hartsoe

    Wow that was well done! Racheal, no matter if she wrong or right is extremely articulate!

  • Tim

    I just love how he said that we are the lab rats. Last I checked for any lab tester procedure to be conducted on humans there is tons of paper and full disclosure clauses so we know what we arw getting ourselves into. Last I checked I didnt sign anything, and havent been informed everytie I buy something with GMO corn, which is pretty much anything with HFC syrup. So if anything he just made a case for all the citizens of the US to start a class action suit against Mosanto and other GMO companies those chose to use us as theor long term effect lab rats.

  • https://www.facebook.com/fred.harvey.75 Fred Harvey

    Mr. O’Leary’s question as to whether banning GMO’s means banning research on gaining larger yields and consigns people to death is simply irrational. He makes such idiotic comments about stopping all research into foods. How does this articulate numbskull extrapolate that from banning GMO research? He is so enamored of these GMO foods that he is not taking into account the potential ecologic collapse that could occur as gene spillage into other species alters the ecosystem.

    • https://www.facebook.com/fred.harvey.75 Fred Harvey

      I just got one answer: he’s heavily invested and sees PROFITS!!!! What a good capitalist. Greed rules!!

  • Kent Lion

    Has anyone checked the purchasing habits of the scientists, upper level management and members of the boards of directors of companies that produce GMOs, and their families, to see if they consume GMOs?

  • Kent Lion

    Kevin O’Leary keeps invoking the use of science for improving food, but that requires scientific proof that the food has been improved and is safe. That is not being done because for most things it cannot be done ethically or at a cost that any company could afford. Unfortunately, because of that fact, proving that something is unsafe is also not not an easy matter.

    From a scientific point-of-view, if you introduce a substance into the food chain that would otherwise not be there, it cannot be considered safe. If large amounts of that substance are known to be toxic, and the long-term effects of small amounts delivered over long periods of time are unknown, claiming the substance is safe is not science it’s politics.

    From a scientific point-of-view, if a GMO crop is designed to create its own pesticide, then it is a known that the insects it is supposed to control will eventually develop resistance to it and it will no longer be effective. That applies to people, too, but for insects, evolutionary changes that take years can take hundreds or thousands of years. If the drastic decline in health in the U.S. that has occurred in the past 35 years is due to what we are doing to our food supply, that decline in health is part of the natural process of evolving the human body to adjust to those changes. Unfortunately, because the human body is so complex, we don’t and can’t know everything those changes are doing to our health.

    From a scientific point-of-view, comparing GMO testing to drug testing doesn’t help the GMO position at all. To anyone who understands scientific method, statistics, psychology and the placebo effect, the clinical trials of a typical (e.g.) antidepressant is essentially worthless as scientific proof of anything.

    • Sheila White

      Well said Mr Lion

  • http://headonradionetwork.com Bob Kincaid

    I’ve seen this argument before. The coal industry claims, at the same time that it is poisoning the planet, that it is improving lives in the so-called “third world.” It is, of course, a lie.

    Ms. Parent alluded to the central fact of GMOs, but didn’t get to drive the point home: GMOs have nothing to do with the well-being of humanity. They have to do with the well-being of the corporate officers, boards and shareholders. Consider “Round-Up Ready” Monsanto #2 Field Grade corn: you can’t cook it, boil it, bake it or roast it and make it edible to a human. All it’s good for is artificially fattening livestock and artificially fattening humans through the production of High Fructose Corn Syrup, a substance that, no matter the cries of the industry PR, is not “the same as sugar.” The exponential rise in diabetes in the U.S. coincidentally occurs along the same timeline as the spectrum-wide insertion of HFCS into foods sold in the U.S. and elsewhere. There is a reason it isn’t allowed in civilized countries.

    I wish a long and happy experience in activism for Ms. Parent. She and others like her, not Monsanto, hold the hope for humanity’s future.

  • Will

    I think it’s funny how he eludes to Monsanto making efforts to feed starving people – but when do you see them doing that? When was the last time Monsanto put up a giant field of crops and said, here starving people of the world, free food from us! Never… All their focus is on making money in the U.S. they don’t give a shit about helping anybody but their shareholders. He acts like the mission statement of the company is to solve world hunger – when in reality there is already enough food to feed everyone – but companies like Monsanto would rather throw it away than feed everyone.

  • Cyndi

    Asians live a lot longer than we do. People die. It’s called natural process of life. GMO’s are not a good thing!

    We are the lab rats!!!! Exactly. And this guy says – well we’ve been lab rats for decades. Yes and guess what there is more cancer in this country today than there was 2 decades ago!

    How many times is he going to ask the same question – whether she is against GMO’s completely. How many times does she need to answer the question? Label the food. And have long term testing before you make us the lab rats!!!

    I loved how Rachel laughed at the idiot man’s entire freaking point at the end of the interview.

    That was literally disgusting on the part of the male reporter! This young woman is exactly why the republicans are trying to take away women’s rights and make sure that everyone has inferior education.

    He makes me puke in my mouth!

  • Race Dowling

    Just goes to show that 14 year old kids are way too naive to research things properly.

    Kevin O’leary acted with the proper restraint when dealing with a child who can be excused for her naivety.

    • Cyndi

      @Race Dowling – WHAT???

    • Tom

      I couldn’t disagree more with your comment.

    • Nicole

      Clearly you weren’t listening to her points just like him. Who’s the naive one again?

    • marialaurene

      And “Monsanto is trying to save the world’s poor children” is not naive? Puh. Leez. Apparently she’s far better at research than you are.

  • D Frisco

    Kevin O’Leary is paid to argue for Monsanto and he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about poor people anywhere.

  • Jimmy Joe

    What an idiot, does he not fucking realize that this shit is killing all of our bees? What the hell is his end-game in that scenario????

  • Duane

    Is this moron deaf??
    Every 15 seconds he spouts a ‘lil Monsanto PSA by trying to accuse her of WHAT HE IS an effin’ SHILL! and she politely says NOOOO they can test all they want but…..’ Kevin, your GMO is showing…Evolution do your stuff….

    • Race Dowling

      Let evolution do it’s thing. Which of course means mass starvation, malnutrition and death before the organism is old enough to breed and pass on its genes.

      If that statement doesn’t make sense to you, then please read a book on how evolution works. This is what you are calling for when you want to force the food supply into scarcity.

  • Glenna 7

    Rachel 1, Kevin 0. His desire to make everything count in dollars overrides any credibility he may have ‘feeding the people’ when the talk of yields and benefits comes up. He is money rich and human concern poor. Rachel brought it! She can only gain more credibility as she moves forward.

  • http://www.DennisCox.com Dennis Cox

    O’Leary could not be more condescending. Maybe he’s a shill for Monsanto. Monsanto is the side with all the money in this fight.

    • Race Dowling

      You think it’s condescending. I think he’s just putting things in simple enough terms that even a gerbil could understand.

      • https://www.facebook.com/abraham.garcia.1460 Abraham Garcia

        That’s the problem. He’s talking down to her, trying to simplify it to really idiotic extremes just because she’s 14 years old. He dismisses the fact that she’s so well read and researched.

  • Jess

    Kevin O’Leary is a heinous individual…rude, small, angry, and bald. As if the people at Monsanto really care about humanitarianism and ethics…what a crock.

    Way to go Rachel!!!!

  • Pete C

    This young lady is correct. More long term testing and independent reviews on these GMOs must be done. In Europe they have just instituted a temporary ban on seed treated with a certain insecticide which permeates through the plant. There is strong data to indicate this is one of the root causes that is killing off bee populations worldwide. Bees’s are vitally important to the successful growing of many plants. See recent Horizon program on BBC UK.

  • Bob Cull

    Rachel is a very bright little girl and I am very impressed with her commitment and activism. Kids like her give me hope for the future.

    I do think that she is a bit hide bound and naive in some of her positions. For example, when she dismisses the similarities between genetic modification in the lab and the old slow method of hybridization she is looking at the process too narrowly. There is really, in many instances, little if any difference in the end result regardless of the method employed. That is not true in all cases, if animal DNA is spliced with plant DNA then it is vastly different, however when it is simply splicing genetic material from one plant into that of another all they are really doing is speeding the old hybridization process up.

    I agree one hundred percent that it is necessary to keep these modified plants sequestered from the outside environment until they are absolutely proven safe. The possibility of contamination through cross pollination is too risky to allow the possibility just to speed up the route between lab and the market.

    I also worry that historical lessons have been forgotten and our food supply may be threatened when some plant pathogen comes along which can attack these “stronger” plant strains. We are moving so quickly that we are already at a point where our most important food crop, corn, is basically a single strain. That was the cause of the Irish potato famine, when the blight struck virtually all of the potatoes being grown in Ireland were a single strain and therefore the entire crop was destroyed. Other areas were struck by the blight but with less devastation because they grew more than one variety of potato and some of their crops survived because those strains were not affected by the blight.

    Bottom line is that we can and have since the beginning of farming modify our food crops (most people are unaware that corn is a grass, it has been modified over the centuries until it bares no resemblance to the parent plant). What we do need is a cautious approach with assurances in place to make sure we don’t destroy our food crops in an attempt to improve them.

    • David Shaw Jr

      There is a huge difference between hybridization within the species and taking genes from unrelated organism and putting it in something else.

  • Thorsten Stier

    What5 a bullshit argument, as if monsanto is doin research to feed the poor, gee….biggest BS ever….We´re throwing so much food away that is still consumable, that we don´t need genetic modified food, we just have to change our way of consuming…..all what Monsanto is interested in is to sell their crops and the companies who sell products made out of modified food want to sell more at lower production costs, nothing more than that…they give a fuck ´bout a kid in asia gettin blind…

  • http://twitter.com/Bartisan Bartisan (@Bartisan)

    I am amused at the argument that Monsanto was in it for the “good of humanity”. Why doesn’t Monsanto limit its profit margin to 5% for a single year to invest the rest in humanitarian issues? Perhaps then I’d believe it were more than just profiteering vs. science.

    I wonder too what real concerns Mr. O’Leary has for the starving Chinese youths he uses for the sake of his argument.

  • http://gravatar.com/imahealmyself imahealmyself

    O’leary is an overbearing ass. He tried his best to confuse and denigrate her. She held her own with aplomb and grace. This young lady knows her stuff and can stand her own against this older, experienced man who took to attacking her personally and implying that she didn’t care if millions died rather than eat GMOs…which was NOT the issue at all. He did not confuse or shake her. She was AMAZING! He was a small, ugly stupid man.

    • AATTP


  • Bill Wallace

    These folks are completely wrong on why GMO foods are bad. They are digested in exactly the same way as any other food. Your body could not tell the difference between a crop grown from GMO seed and conventional seed grown on an organic farm. But there are 4 valid reasons why GMO crops are a bad idea.
    1. They are very deleterious to the economics of family farming.
    a. Traditional farmers banked the best seeds every year to allow themselves the ability to sow next year’s crop and kept extra to tide them over if they had a poor year. Crops slowly improved because of this practice.
    b. Monsanto requires that you purchase new seeds each year. This means that you must go to the bank to borrow money to purchase your seeds. If your crop fails, you can’t pay the bank back and you lose your farm. Hence crop insurance; another cost to borrow for. These costs hurt family farm profitability greatly.
    c. If you are a traditional farmer who banks seed and you are next door to a GMO farmer, cross pollination of GMO plants can occur to your fields. The Monsanto crop police will try to steal your crop if even a few GMO plants are found in your fields.
    d. The No till cropping methods used with GMO crops slowly drain fertility of the land leading to the requirement to increase the use fertilizers which represents yet another cost to farmers which affects profitability. Traditional crop rotation coupled with fallow and till methods controlled weeds and preserved fertility naturally for many years making farming naturally sustainable.
    2. They encourage the use of pesticides which present known risks to the farmers and farm families during application and to consumers as pesticide residues on harvested crops.
    a. Lately health risks from Roundup have been discovered. Since both farmers and their families are close to the application and see the material in high concentrations, they are at higher risk for health effects than the general population.
    b. While there are standards for pesticide residue on harvested crops, they are primarily days to harvest standards with no real measurement to ensure compliance. Food inspection capability has suffered greatly over the years due to politics.
    3. The cost to benefit ratio is often greatly exaggerated.
    a. Crop yields are not dramatically better, but costs are often much higher although often less labour is involved leading to selling on the convenience factor. In most farming situations, particularly in developing countries, the availability of viable crop land and financial resources is a greater factor than the availability of labour.
    b. The Golden Rice with its marginal vitamin A content is a good example.
    4. They introduce genes to plant geneses where they do not naturally occur which has the potential to spread them to other natural plants.
    a. Cross pollination allows GMO genes to spread to non GMO plants in neighboring fields, but it can also spread GMO genes to other closely related plants.
    b. The BT insect resistant plants are of particular concern since the spread of the BT gene could affect non target insect populations. Loss of insect species will upset the balance between plants and the insects that feed on them with a ripple effect in the ecosystem.
    c. The overuse of Roundup has already result in the documented widespread natural development of Roundup resistant weeds.

    This unscientific nonsense that GMO opponents profess makes it much more difficult to make an argument against GMOs. This stuff is just not believable to most people, but the real reasons I have discussed make the argument far more plausible to everyone. We must give people real reasons to oppose GMOs, not fairy tales.

    • Thorsten Stier

      So where did you get your facts from!? And are we really in a position to make a statement that genetic modified food is safe for our health, when we don´t have any longtermstudy made by independent scientist yet, do we!?

      • Race Dowling

        Yes. If you knew exactly how much research and long term study was necessary to get GM foods approved, you wouldn’t make such silly statements.

    • Bill Wallace

      The principles of biology are where I draw my conclusions from. The genetic material or DNA in the nucleus of the cell is composed of 4 base units which are assembled in different orders to provide the code that every organism is based on. Your stomach and intestines are a very harsh environment that degrades the DNA quickly and it will destroy the short DNA segment that was introduced to the GMO plant in the same way that all of the rest of the DNA is chopped up.
      The mechanism of Roundup resistance is the slight modification of a naturally occurring enzyme to prevent binding of glyphosate aka Roundup. http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2007/03/molecular-basis-of-roundup-resistance.html This modification would not change the digestibility of this enzyme since it only makes a small modification to the active site. Enzymes are specifically shaped proteins which the digestive system is designed to tear apart quite efficiently.
      BT or Bacillus thuringiensis produces a chemical that acts as an insecticide. This pesticide is certified for organic farming and may be used on the day of harvest according to the standards for its use. Whether it is applied externally or produced internally by the plant does not change its mechanism of metabolism by animals and humans. These plants are safe for human consumption because of this.
      There is no risk from eating these plants per say especially if raised using organic farming techniques, but other valid risks from them do exist.
      Roundup has a 7 day preharvest interval for chickpeas and fababeans, but no preharvest requirements exist for other crops. The recommended preharvest for other crops is 7 to 14 days, but there are no guarantees since there are no standards. There have been some studies that show Roundup accumulation in fields. The potential Roundup residue is the risk to humans, not the plants themselves as discussed above. And yes we should be studying Roundup itself much more closely.
      The BT insect resistant plants have serious environmental risks since any insect that feeds on them including beneficial ones will be killed. A temporary ban in the EU based on risk to the bee population is already in effect. Spread of the BT gene to other plants is a serious risk which must result in this particular GMO modification being banned.
      This “you can’t eat it” nonsense is the stuff that proponents of GMO capitalize on when dismissing the arguments of GMO opponents. We need to make the coherent arguments that I listed in the previous post to persuade people that certain types of GMO modifications are very bad ideas that should not be allowed. Science, not fairy tales must be the basis for our arguments.
      But not all GMO work is bad. The GMO modification that allows bacteria in the lab to produce human insulin has saved countless lives and reduced the cost of insulin and animal cruelty greatly over pig insulin production. This bacteria cannot survive outside the lab. There is much great GMO work to be done, but we must be careful what we do with this technology.

  • https://www.facebook.com/padma.thornlyre Padma Thornlyre

    What a condescending creep Mr. O’Leary is. And what a bully, for saying that millions of kids will die if her position is forwarded. Why not examine the core causes behind vitamin deficiencies and address those causes? I just wish that Rachel Parent had asked Kevin O’Leary who was paying his salary.

  • Frank Williams

    O’Leary is an idiot or benefits from these GMO companies in some way himself. His inability to win a debate with a 14 year old shows the lack on veracity on the GMO side of the issue. These companies don’t want labeling because they are afraid people wouldn’t purchase them, which would effect their precious profits. People be damned. Good job Rachel!

  • John G.

    Interesting to accuse a 14 year old of being a “shill”. A Shill for who? What about the pro-GMO guy on the show beating his dead horse message?. There are actual big money companies to pay for shills for their message. She was too polite to say as much

  • awakeinwa

    I really enjoyed this piece. the cbc anchor, counter person kevin, and rachael were quite respectful and great with their repartee.

    Kevin was too cute by half trying to box Rachael’s position into something it was not. She wanted science to progress in a validated, independent, peer-reviewed way.

    As it stands today, Monsanto is privatizing everything to maximize profits, and throwing asunder safety and scientific fidelity.

    Kevin’s attempt to box Rachael’s into a black and white box shows a level of superficiality and lack of nuance – it’s either or – GMOs or all children in developing worlds dying.

    When in reality the choice is do we trust industry that once promised us DDT was the safest pesticide known to man, then unleash it onto the world to reap its destructive side-effects.

    That moral hazard where industry makes grandiose claims without getting held into account must stop. And labeling and independent testing and validation is a prudent first and necessary step.

  • https://www.facebook.com/gmason55 Glenda Schloff

    I think Mr. O’Leary is bullying her. I also think that we should teach people how to grow natural foods that will provide the nutrients they need. NOT GMO’s.

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