EXCERPT: "The shepherds and the shepherds' union leaders have recorded their testimony which shows that sheep mortality was due to grazing over Bt cotton fields. The local veterinary surgeon has found that 11 out of 45 mortality cases between January and April were linked to grazing over Bt cotton fields and Bt poisoning."
Field trial of Bt brinjal hangs in balance
GEAC yet to resolve issue of sheep mortality in Bt cotton fields in Andhra Pradesh ASHOK B SHARMA
Financial Express, August 19 2006
NEW DELHI, AUG 18: The fate of proposed largescale field trials of Bt brinjal hangs in balance as the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) is yet to resolve the issue of the reported cases of sheep mortality on account of grazing over Bt cotton fields in Warangal district in Andhra Pradesh.
The GEAC met on Thursday and a senior official said, "We could not resolve the issue as factual reports and post-mortem studies from the state government are awaited. We have also asked the department of biotechnology to conduct animal toxicity study for Bt cotton leaves and seeds."
The Andhra Pradesh-based Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) had brought to the notice of GEAC reported cases of sheep mortality.
Speaking from Hyderabad, Kavitha Kuruganthi of CSA said, "The shepherds and the shepherds' union leaders have recorded their testimony which shows that sheep mortality was due to grazing over Bt cotton fields. The local veterinary surgeon has found that 11 out of 45 mortality cases between January and April were linked to grazing over Bt cotton fields and Bt poisoning."
Kuruganti said the Hyderabad-based Veterinary Biological Research Institute found that Bt plants samples brought for tests contained high nitrate content, which showed that Bt cotton needed higher doses of chemical fertilisers.
The GEAC has also asked three leading institutes like Central Food Research and Technology Institute, Mysore, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad and Sri Ram Institute, Delhi, to test a byproduct of soyabean used in preparation of ice creams and find out whether it contains GM traces. This action of GEAC flows the recent sensational relevation that Unilever's ice cream sold in UK contained protiens from genetically modified (GM) fish. GEAC apprehends that there may be chances of imported GM soyabean being used in ice creams.
Regarding permission to ICRISAT to export its GM groundnut seeds to South Africa for research purposes, the GEAC said that final clearance from NPGRB was necessary.