NOTE This is a report on the ICPPC conference "Genes Are Not For Sale" held last week in Wawel Castle, Krakow in Poland, under the patronage of the City of Krakow, which was amongst the very first authorities in Poland to declare their area a GMO Free Zone. It was a counter-conference to the "First International Biotechnology Conference" held in Krakow at the same time.
The counter-conference was held to strengthen Polish rersistance at a time that Poland's future as Europe's leading "GMO Free Zone" is under increasing threat due to corporate pressures on the Polish government to open the Polish market to the commercial planting of GM crops despite the near universal rejection of GMOs by the Polish people.
"Genes Are Not For Sale" Krakow anti-GMO counter-conference April 25th
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007
Just to keep you up-to-date: Our Krakow Conference 'Genes Are Not for Sale' which was set up to counteract an international Bio-Tech event in Krakow, drew approx 120 people to Wawel Castle and filled the room to capacity. Dr Arpad Pusztai, Percy Smeicher and Michel Dupont were the main international speakers, Prof. Magdalena Jaworska, Dr Zbigniew Ha³at main Polish ones. They all hammered home the same message: There can be NO coexistence between GMO and traditional and organic crops; cross-contamination is inevitable - whatever the distance.
Percy Smeicher informed a rivetted audience that in the whole of Canada there is NO maize or oilseed rape left which is not contaminated by GMO. So it is impossible to grow conventional or organic maize and oilseed rape in Canada now. What is more, he confirmed that Monsanto is now informing him that he no longer even owns his crops. Presumably because the Monsanto corporation owns the patent therefore owns the crops once they are contaminated!! And still some people in Europe are diligently discussing what distance constitutes a 'safety zone' 10 metres? 50 metres? 100 metres?
Dr Pusztai gave a characteristicly thorough review of the 'nonscience' which is applied in the creation of genetically modified organisms. He particularly emphasised the fact that it is the very imprecise methods used to insert foreign genes that lies at the heart of the subsequent loss of control of the final organism.
Michel Dupont reminded everyone that when 'the process of democracy' fails to protect our food, environment and health, it is neccessary to intervene and take control of our future. The French 'reapers' have done just this and have thereby protected France from widespread GMO contamination over the past decade. They fight on ....Vive La France!
The unexpected participation of the vice chairman of the Ministry of the Environment Andrzej Szweda-Lewandowski led to a lively discussion. Participants were not impressed by his intervention on behalf of the recently proposed 'GMO Act'. He unconvincingly attempted to portray the government as 'an honest broker' seeking compromise between European Commission directives calling for enforcement of 'coexistence' measures and the Polish government's wish to remain GMO Free. Vice chairman Andrzej Szweda-Lewandowski was noticeably missing from the main conference proceedings and his message was out of tune with the reality.
Senator Henryk Gorski was presented with an ICPPC petition to the Polish government calling for the proposed new 'GMO Act' not to be ratified. So far there are1,500 signatures of organisations and individuals supporting this call and more are coming in every day. For signing please see http://icppc.pl/pl/gmo/open_letter.php
Proceedings ended with strong suppport from participants to fight-on to keep Poland GMO Free and to support ICPPC's call for a European wide Moratoriun of all GMO. Widespread determination to resist any watering down of the current national GMO ban was also expressed.
A Brother from Benedictine Abbey Tyniec attended the conference. Brother Jan was to be seen long after the conference's conclusion, seated in front of an old oak table, carefully writing a letter to the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Lepper.
!!!We want to thank Jean-Louis Gueydon of Fondation pour une Terre Humaine for helping to support the mounting of this conference. Also several traditional and organic farmers/processors who, without charge, provided and prepared a superb spread of delicious eco friendly food for everyones consumption. See photo.
best wishes to all,
Julian and Jadwiga
ICPPC - International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside, MiÃªdzynarodowa Koalicja dla Ochrony Polskiej Wsi