2 April 2003
FARMERS REJECT PLAN TO RELEASE GM CANOLA/PROTESTORS CALL FOR HALT TO TESTS OF GE CROPS/DEMONSTRATORS RALLY IN WINNIPEG OUTSIDE MONSANTO OFFICES
*FARMERS REJECT PLAN TO RELEASE GM CANOLA
*PROTESTERS CALL FOR HALT TO TESTS OF GE CROPS AT RESEARCH STATIONS
*DEMONSTRATORS RALLY IN WINNIPEG OUTSIDE MULTINATIONAL BIOTECH GIANT MONSANTO
FARMERS REJECT PLAN TO RELEASE GM CANOLA
April 2, 2003
NCF Media Release via NewsQuest
The Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF) rejected the Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (RARMP) for the Bayer CropScience (formerly Aventis) application for the release of Genetically Modified (GM) canola issued today by the Office of Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR).
"This RARMP does not consider the costs to farmers and the potential loss of markets. The refusal of the OGTR to assess the economic impact on Australian farmers is negligent as the OGTR can choose to include it in the assessment," Mrs Julie Newman, farmer, Newdegate, WA and NCF member said.
"The cost to farmers of segregating grain under a coexistence system is estimated to be at least 10% of the product value (AFFA Productivity Report 2002). These costs plus liability issues where a farmer must guarantee that there is no GM contamination in their grain will effectively force farmers to market as GM to remain viable," she said.
"The OGTR is prepared to accept the GM crop management plans of the product provider which means that the non-GM farmer may be required to destroy the first five metres of their crop as a buffer zone to prevent contamination.
This is not addressing the problem but adding to the problem," she said.
"How can the OGTR claim there is no health or environmental issue with the release GM canola when the chemicals planned for use on these crops have not yet gained approval for use by the National Registration authority?" Mrs Newman said.
Mr Sam Statham, a NSW NCF member explained that the Canadian and American grain belts demonstrate that once GM canola is released, it is the dominant gene in the natural environment and GM free grain growing rapidly declines, as herbicide resistant volunteers start to dominate non GM crops.
"The pro-GM lobby says that farmers seeking to protect their rights are denying farmers choice, but what choice exists for farmers wishing to grow GM free crops, five years after the GM canola release?" Mr Statham said. Mr Scott Kinnear, VFF and NCF member said, "It s extraordinary that the Risk Assessment of the release of GM canola not only fails to assess economic and social impacts but fails to consider herbicide resistance and the health and environmental issues of increased herbicide use by farmers."
"Our Network will be urging farmers to speak up and reject the Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan (open for comment until 26 May 2003) and make the government accountable. Once GM canola is released it cannot be recalled from the environment. We are being sold out for promises with minimal, beneficial returns and a product that dominates the natural environment," Mr Kinnear said. "We will be asking VIC, SA and QLD to join TAS, WA and NSW and reject plantings in their jurisdiction now that the Federal Government is one step away from issuing a licence," Mr Kinnear said.
PROTESTERS CALL FOR HALT TO TESTS OF GE CROPS AT RESEARCH STATIONS: ENVIRONMENTALISTS CRITICAL OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS BUT SCIENCE DIRECTOR SAYS THERE ARE NO 'SECRET' TESTS
April 2, 2003
The Guardian (Charlottetown)
Environmentalists are, according to this story, calling for the immediate halt of outdoor testing of genetically engineered crops, including wheat, at government research stations across the country, including Charlottetown. The story says that three people gathered in front of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research station in Charlottetown to express their concern about testing of genetically engineered (GE) crops, which they say is going on secretly at research plots across the country, including on P.E.I. Leo Broderick of the Council of Canadians was cited as saying that information obtained by Ottawa researcher Ken Rubin under the Access to Information laws shows that at least 12 Agriculture Canada research farms are testing GE crops and that the federal government is refusing to divulge the locations and details of these field trials, adding, "We have discovered through information obtained under Access to Information that this research station has been heavily involved in testing genetically engineered crops. We believe this is a very serious situation which must be addressed immediately." Similar protests were held at research stations across the country, particularly in Ontario and Manitoba.
Sharon Labchuk of Earth Action was cited as saying it is time federal research stations took on a new role, researching organic foods, adding, "Often times we hear the agriculture community say, 'We can't grow organic foods because we don't think it will work.' Why are we not researching organic foods which by the way is growing at a rate of 25 per cent per year compared to conventional agriculture?"
Christiane Deslauriers, science director with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Charlottetown, was cited as saying there are no secret GE crops and they are also not hiding where the GE research is going on, adding that it's carried out at the Harrington farm in P.E.I.
DEMONSTRATORS RALLY IN WINNIPEG OUTSIDE MULTINATIONAL BIOTECH GIANT MONSANTO
April 1, 2003
WINNIPEG - Two dozen demonstrators were cited as ralying outside the offices of multinational biotech giant Monsanto Canada Inc. on Tuesday to protest open-air trials of genetically engineered wheat.
Patrick Venditti, a Greenpeace campaigner, was quoted as saying, "The development of genetically modified wheat is an imminent threat to farmers throughout the Prairies. Once the wheat supply is contaminated, people around the world will stop buying Canadian wheat. . . Government should stop playing Russian roulette with our wheat supply."Monsanto spokeswoman Trish Jordan was quoted as saying, "I think some people are protesting research in any amount, and that's not reasonable. We're doing confined field research. There are protocols in place, and if people took the time to understand what we're doing, I think they would be more comfortable with it."