KEY WEST, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – A petition has begun to make the rounds urging British insect control company Oxitec to refrain from releasing genetically altered mosquitoes into the Florida Keys.
A petition letter on Change.org is addressed to both the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District and Management, as well as the United States Food and Drug Administration.
“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,” the letter states. “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.”
The petition mentions the negative effects of genetically modified crops on the local ecosystem, claiming that doctored plants led to consequences such as “super weeds” that prove more resilient against herbicides and insects that also mutated to resist the effects of pesticides.
As of July 10, the petition had accumulated 75,000 signatures.
Oxitec is self-described as “a British biotech company pioneering a better approach to tackling dengue fever and damaging agricultural pests.”
According to WKMG Local 6, Oxitec claims the mosquitoes would help to control the present population by affecting breeding. Their bugs would also reportedly curb diseases such as Dengue fever.