OPINION: OXITEC EMPLOYS ‘PERSUASION BY DECEPTION’

It is astonishing how average people could subject others to risky experiments not of their choice, under the false pretense of “science.” 

Oxitec/Mosquito Control are doing just that. Their op-ed from Thursday, April 22, is an example of their half-truths and outright lies, persuasion by deception hoping that most of us in the Florida Keys are fishing or on our second margarita.

In order of items in their op-ed:

QUOTE:

“…preparing to release Oxitec’s safe and environmentally sustainable biting male mosquitos in a field project approved by the EPA and State of Florida authorities.” 

FACTS:

Sounds legitimate, right? However, repeated requests for Oxitec to show the independent, corroborated studies that might prove this claim, resulted in silence. This is a pretty bold claim. How could they get away with stating it is safe with support from the EPA and state agencies, but unwilling to provide the independent corroborated studies proving Oxitec’s claim?

Why the deception?

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We now learn that these independent studies were not required by the EPA, nor any of the state agencies! This is alarming in itself.

Our residents want to see verification of Oxitec’s safety claims by someone other than Oxitec. 

No federal, state or local government agency, or representative, pursued this, except for Congressman Carlos Gimenez (and he is yet to receive an answer).

Why the deception?

QUOTE:

“…Steering Committee made up of government and Oxitec scientists.” 

FACTS:

The public has never been informed who these government scientists are on this “Steering Committee.” Dr. Stan Zuba attempted to introduce one of these government scientists at a recent Islamorada Village Council meeting, but it was quickly discovered that the “Florida Keys Mosquito Control scientist,” was in fact employed by and representing the interests of Oxitec.

Why the deception?

QUOTE:

“We’ve established a project independent advisory board made up of local leaders and global experts and have support from the CDC.” 

FACTS: 

From Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, director of the CDC’s Division of Vector Borne Diseases, April 19, 2021: ”Thank you for your email. As previously mentioned, we do not have oversight in these trials and will not be conducting any testing or health assessments.”

Why the deception?

QUOTE:

“Majority of the Keys residents voted in favor of the project in 2016.” 

FACTS:

Oxitec fails to mention that there were two referenda in 2016. One referendum was trial area site-specific, and was soundly defeated in Key Haven. 

The other question was Keyswide and asked a very general question about a different technology, the prior prototype OX513a, which was not approved by the EPA nor any state agency. These referenda were over five years ago and were specific to a different prototype of Oxitec “technology,” or “junk science,” if you prefer to call it what it is.

Why the deception?

Please contact as many public officials as you can, especially the Board of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, and demand that we deserve proof of the claims made by Oxitec, from a source other than the manufacturer…..Oxitec!

Thank you,

Ed Russo
President
Florida Keys Environmental Coalition

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