158,371
Supporters

Right now, a British company named Oxitec is planning to release genetically modified mosquitoes into the fragile enviroment of the Florida Keys. The company wants to use the Florida Keys as a testing ground for these mutant bugs.

Even though the local community in the Florida Keys has spoken -- we even passed an ordinance demanding more testing -- Oxitec is trying to use a loophole by applying to the FDA for an "animal bug" patent. This could mean these mutant mosquitoes could be released at any point against the wishes of locals and the scientific community. We need to make sure the FDA does not approve Oxitec's patent.

Nearly all experiments with genetically-modified crops have eventually resulted in unintended consequences: superweeds more resistant to herbicides, mutated and resistant insects also collateral damage to ecosystems. A recent news story reported that the monarch butterfly population is down by half in areas where Roundup Ready GM crops are doused with ultra-high levels of herbicides that wipe out the monarch's favorite milkweed plant.

What about our native species of Florida Keys Bats. Are there any studies being conducted to see if these mosquitoes will harm the native bat population?

Why would we not expect GM (genetically modified) insects, especially those that bite humans, to have similar unintended negative consequences? Will the more virulent Asian tiger mosquito that also carries dengue fill the void left by reductions in A. aegypti? Will the dengue virus mutate (think antibiotic resistant MRSA) and become even more dangerous?

There are more questions than answers and we need more testing to be done.

Will the public be able to stop this program from happening if we don't want it? We were told that "public opinion would be taken into account."

Dengue fever has been absent from the Florida Keys for years, which indicates the current methods of control and public education are working. What's the rush for this radical approach?

Where is the third-party, peer-reviewed research on effectiveness and safety of GM mosquitoes other than Oxitec's own claims of success? Don't let Oxitec bully our community! We say no to genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys!

Letter to
Commisioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Adam H Putman
Florida Division Technology Officer of Agricultural Enviromental Services Carol Leger
U.S. House of Representatives
and 31 others
U.S. Senate
Florida State House
Florida State Senate
Florida Governor
Senior Entomologist Lawrence J. Hribard PhD (Senior Entomologist)
Off shores Island Supervisor Corey Brindisi (Off shores Island Supervisor)
Deputy Director FKMCD Management Andrea Leal (Deputy Director FKMCD Management)
Commisoner Phillip Goodman (Commisoner)
Commisioner Jill Cranney Gage
Secretary-Treasurer Stephen K Smith (Secretary-Treasurer)
Mosquito Board of Commisioner Chairman William J Shaw (Chairman, Mosquito Board of Commisioner)
Director, Florida Keys Mosquito Control District Management Michael Doyle
Biologist/Public Relations Beth Ranson
Monroe County Commissioner District 1 Danny Kolhage
Florida Bureau Chief, Bureau of Pesticides of Agricultural Enviromental Services Dennis F. Howard, Ph.D.
Director of the Department of Agriculture and Environmental. Anderson H. (Andy) Racley
Congresswoman Ileana Ross- Lehtinen
Director of FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine Dr. Bernadette Dunham
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Curtis Allen
Monroe County Commissioner District 2 George Neugent
Monroe County Commissioner District 3 Heather Carruthers
Monroe County Commissioner District 4 David Rice
Monroe County Commissioner District 5 Sylvia Murphy
Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi Jr.
Florida Director of Agricultural Enviromental Services Anderson H. (Andy) Rackley
Florida Assistant Director of Agricultural Enviromental Services Steven E. Dwinell
Florida Government Analyst I of Agricultural Enviromental Services Angela Weeks-Samanie
Florida Bureau Chief, Bureau of Compliance Monitoring of Agricultural Enviromental Services Kelly Friend
Florida Bureau Chief, Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control of Agricultural Enviromental Services Michael J. Page
Florida Bureau Chief, Bureau of Agricultural Environmental Laboratories Patricia Lucas
Commissioner Tom McDonald, Commissioner
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Florida Keys Mosquito Control District & Management and the FDA

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Stop the experimental release of (GM) mosquitoes in the Florida Keys

Right now, a British company named Oxitec is planning to release genetically modified mosquitoes into the fragile enviromnent of the Florida Keys.

Even though the local community in the Florida Keys has spoken -- we even passed an ordinance demanding more testing -- Oxitec is trying to use a loop hole by applying to the FDA for an "animal bug" patent. This could mean these mutant mosquitoes could be released at any point against the wishes of locals and the scientific community. We need to make sure the FDA does not approve Oxitec's patent.

Nearly all experiments with genetically-modified crops have eventually resulted in unintended consequences: super weeds more resistant to herbicides, mutated and resistant insects and collateral damage to ecosystems. A recent news story reported that the monarch butterfly population is down by half in areas where Roundup Ready GM crops are doused with ultra-high levels of herbicides that wipe out the monarch's favorite milkweed plant.

Why would we not expect GM insects, especially those that bite humans, to have similar unintended negative consequences? Will the more virulent Asian tiger mosquito that also carries dengue fill the void left by reductions in A. aegypti? Will the dengue virus mutate (think antibiotic resistant MRSA) and become even more dangerous?

At a recent Town Hall meeting residents discussed an experimental release of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes in Key West that was largely a sales pitch by Oxitec, a company with everything to gain by breaking into the U.S. market for GM mosquitoes and using our Key West backyards as a test site. It's the lack of any alternate expert scientific opinion that is troubling to me and many others. This is our home and our lives this company is using us as their own lab rats.

Sincerely,