She may be just 14 years old, but Rachel Parent isn't afraid of Kevin O'Leary.
The teen activist against genetically modified foods, or GMOs, and founder of Kids Right To Know has challenged the wealthy CBC personality to a debate after he dismissed those who worry about GMOs and human health as "just stupid."
O'Leary made the comments May 27 on CBC's "Lang & O'Leary Exchange" during a segment in which he argued global food giant Monsanto is a hero because its products increase crop yields in developing countries.
As for those who worry GMO seeds can force farmers into using Monsanto products or that unlabelled GMOs may have unforeseen health consequences, O'Leary had "an answer for those people."
"Stop eating. That's the solution. Then we can get rid of them."
Even co-host Amanda Lang, long accustomed to O'Leary's hyperbole, seemed taken aback.
"You know what you would be good at? Running Guantanamo," Lang quipped back.
O'Leary's comments clearly got under Parent's skin.
At a rally over the weekend in Toronto, Parent challenged O'Leary and CBC to have her on "Lang & O'Leary Exchange" to debate GMOs. In her speech, the teen won applause when she promised not to call O'Leary a "fascist" if he pledges not to call her "stupid."
Parent's GMO activism recently won her acclaim from Now Magazine, which named her an "environmental hero."
The issue of GMOs, which are not subject to mandatory labels in Canada and the U.S., are a mounting source of controversy globally. The United States is the world's largest producer of GMO crops.
Many, such as O'Leary and Monsanto, contend that crops with DNA altered to make them more resistant to vermin and disease are the only way to feed an exploding global population.
That, however, hasn't stopped Europe, New Zealand and Australia from instituting strict regulations regarding GMOs.
Prince Charles famously warned that GMOs and industrialized agriculture will cause a global environmental disaster by degrading soil and driving small farmers off their land. Charles also claimed untold numbers of Indian farmers are committing suicide after taking out ruinous loans to purchase genetically modified seeds that often still fail.
Do you think O'Leary should debate Parent? Do you worry about unknowingly eating GMO foods? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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