by Paul Jacob
Around the world, nearly two million children die of diarhhea each year. It would be nice if somebody did something about this, eh? Send in Peace Corps, Doctors Without Borders, the Marines!
But somebody is doing something about it, a private company called Ventria. Its scientists are developing a new drug that, according to tests in Peru, helps sick babies recover from severe diarrhea in about a day-and-a-half less time than before.
Unfortunately, a lot of people in the United States want Ventria to stop. Now.
They've hounded the company out of two states, so far.
Why? Ventria engages in "biopharming" -- that's "farming" with a "ph" for "pharmacology" -- growing its drug in rice that has been genetically altered to produce two human proteins found in mother's milk, saliva, and tears. The drug they take from this ground rice helps weaning babies continue to receive natural proteins that help them stay healthy.
Sounds great to me. But not to many environmentalists, who don't like change. Or to big businesses, who don't like competition. If it weren't for Anheuser-Busch and Riceland Foods, for instance, Ventria would not have been hounded out of Missouri. Environmentalists may often proclaim to hate big business, but they're in league with big business on this one.
Some farming practices are bad, I know, such as the forced cannibalism that led to Mad Cow. But Ventria's rice is very different. Still, caution's good. But hysteria's not, especially when millions of babies could be saved.
Common Sense is published by Americans for Limited Government. Their website can be visited at www.limitedgov.org.