Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Residents will have a chance to vote on November 8 on a non-binding referendum on the experiment, which would release anywhere from 20 to 100 GM mosquitoes per person on the island—but the Mosquito Control Board will have the final say. (Photo: Jessica Glenza/ Guardian)

Residents will have a chance to vote on November 8 on a non-binding referendum on the experiment, which would release anywhere from 20 to 100 GM mosquitoes per person on the island—but the Mosquito Control Board will have the final say. (Photo: Jessica Glenza/ Guardian)

Florida Keys Residents Resist Controversial GMO Mosquito Trial

"It's about human rights—this can't be pushed down our throats without consent," said one Key West resident.

Lauren McCauley

Residents of the Florida Keys are up in arms over a plan to release genetically-modified (GM) mosquitoes in the Key Haven neighborhood and are trying to get the word out about the trial, which they say would make them "lab rats" in their own community.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the controversial study by U.K.-firm Oxitec earlier this month, amid renewed fears over mosquito transmission of the Zika virus.

"We need to help educate the public about the very real, scientifically based problems with this genetically modified mosquito release," Mara Daly, who has been helping organize a protest at the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board meeting Tuesday afternoon, told the Miami Herald.

"We will be outside with signs protesting peacefully. I think this will be the opportunity for moms, teachers, nurses to have a voice," Daly continued.  "It's to let them know there are concerns from people they have not heard from. Maybe the fat lady has already sung, I don't know."

Residents, like Daly, will have a chance to vote on November 8 on a non-binding referendum on the experiment, which would release anywhere from 20 to 100 GM mosquitoes per person on the island—but the Mosquito Control Board will have the final say, and only three of the five members have vowed to stand by the vote outcome.

"It's about human rights—this can't be pushed down our throats without consent," Key West resident Mila de Mier, who launched a petition against the trial, told the Guardian. Reportedly, local lawns are already peppered with signs that say "no consent."

Indeed, much is at stake. According to the Guardian, "If the trial goes well, the technology would be on track to commercial approval in the United States, opening a slice of the nation's $14bn pest control market to the company. Globally, analysts predict Oxitec's mosquito could bring in up to $400m in annual sales for its parent company, Intrexon."

Although Oxitec has been working on developing the GM pests for over five years, the effort has been buoyed by the recent outbreak of Zika in the state, which as of Friday has had at least 369 confirmed cases.

The company, which has also developed GM species of apples and salmon, has already released the mosquitoes in Brazil, Panama, Malaysia, and the Cayman Islands. It has submitted applications to begin additional trials in Sri Lanka and India. 

The trial may be "worth a try," resident Andrea Spottswood told the Guardian, but "we don’t want to be the lab rats."

Tuesday 's meeting begins at 3 pm at the Mosquito Board building at 503 107th St. in Marathon, Florida.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·


In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·


Sanders Says End Filibuster to Combat 'Outrageous' Supreme Court Assault on Abortion Rights

"If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and make abortion legal and safe," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo