I Am No LabRat


Genetically Modified food is created by inserting the gene of one organism into the genome of another unrelated organism, say a bacteria with brinjal. Environmentalists have reason to believe it will have adverse impact on ecology and health. Bt Brinjal, the first GM food crop was due for approval.


Is it possible to prevent the Govt. approval of the first Genetically Modified food crop in a matter six months?


The central creative thought was ‘I AM NO LAB RAT’. This creative idea manifested in various ways including posters that visually demonstrated the inner workings of GM technology. We had celebrities coming out of cages dressed as labrats at press conferences etc.  This concept struck a chord with the health conscious urban consumers, as it suggested an unreliable technology being tested on them without their knowledge. It created a sense of outrage that spilled out onto the streets and media.


The campaign spread to about 20 cities across India and more than 1 lakh petitions were sent to the health minister. The media picked up the issue and the first leg of the campaign culminated with the health minister taking a strong public stand against GM, which eventually stalled the approval. The campaign had played a critical role in that.


As the person coordinating a large national campaign of consumer awareness and mobilization against Genetically Modified (GM) foods called “I AM NO LAB RAT”, I really appreciate the central concept of the campaign that was evolved . It evokes a sense of indignation in consumers, as it very well should, to hear about GM foods with all their associated hazards being tested on them. Trying to tell citizens to resist this onslaught of GM foods through a novel campaign theme called “I am no lab rat” was very effective.

In just a few months’ time, we had thousands of consumers all over the country becoming more aware of GM foods and coming forward to take action. The various materials created by them for the campaign like posters, viral films, stickers etc., were an instant hit. They served the purpose of taking the GM foods debate further and  went into supporting their creative abilities, which in turn meant a very effective campaign across the country. What’s more, they did this in a democratic fashion, incorporating views from the groups involved in the campaign.

Kavitha Kuruganti – KHETI VIRASAT MISSION | Swissaid