NOTE: David Tribe's a well known GM propagandist and blog author (GMO Pundit) - see, for instance "Non-GM drought-tolerant canola helps expose lobbyists' lies"
Dear GM Watch
The letter below [from David Tribe] appeared in Melbourne's major broadsheet on 15/9 (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia). A copy can be found on the web www.theage.com.au
It is a very misleading letter that would lead city people to think that there is no point resisting any more!!
It is also very misleading, or worse, in talking about maize, soy and canola being imported for use as stock feed. It is my understanding this was done as an emergency drought measure only and any seeds had to be denatured before leaving the port area.
There are several issues here:
*if the GM feed has not been denatured, we are being misled
*if animals for human consumption are being fed on GM feed the consumers should be told
*if none of this is actually happening, then Tribe's letter is misleading in the extreme
And among the other issues raised - GM cotton is not eaten by humans though there is concern about using the meal as stock feed, and whether the end meat products are labelled as fed on GM cotton meal
Also - importing a bit of GM stock feed, as worrying as this is, is so completely different from allowing farmers to grow GM canola on a broadacre scale which will set seed and spread in our environment, and also be the MAIN product for sale, not just a side-line
As well as all the above, several of the other blatant pro-GM 'chestnuts' were recycled
Just thought you people may like to see what 'reputable" academics are saying in Victoria on the issue. As you are probably aware there is a review panel working at the moment to determine whether to allow commercial planting of GM canola in 2008. Most farmer organisations are in favour of lifting the canola moratorium but there are many farmers who are very concerned about this and don't agree with the postion taken by their supposedly representative bodies (eg. VFF and NFF). Also, most farmers read only what the mainstream agricultural press prints and they see mostly positive reports on the benefits of GM canola and can't wait to get their hands on it. Most have no concept at all of any of the potential problems, and think GM canola will solve all their resistant weed problems, declining oil % problems, and just about all other agronomy problems. They don't seem to realise that they will actually be fast tracking resistance to one of the most effective and relatively benign herbicides we have for general use ie glyphosate, let alone all the other potential problems.
Keep up the good work
PS - Lake Bolac is right in the centre of the major canola growing area of south western victoria and so this issue is of major and immediate importance to our community.
Horse has already bolted on GM foods
GILL Rosier (Letters, 11/9) points out the decision to lift or extend Victoria's moratorium on genetically manipulated crops rests withPremier John Brumby. Rosier also offers the judgement that Mr Brumby is likely to drop the ban, given his vision for Victoria to be a world leader in biotechnology. But Rosier also raises the issue of whether in making such a decision, Mr Brumby will throw away Victoria's "GM-free status".
The answer to this is simple. There is no way our "GM-free status" will be affected because in Victoria we already import large quantities of GM foods and stock feeds - maize, soy and canola - particularly in times of drought. For many years now we have been feeding them to farm animals in stock feed. So, without even mentioning GM vaccines, GM carnations or Australian GM cottonseed, the truthful answer to Rosier's rhetorical question is this: in Victoria's case, the "GM-free status" tag is just tricky double-speak for our present active use of GM feeds and foods in farming systems. The equally misleading question of whether there is any real price advantage from this dubious distinction can be left for another day.
David Tribe, senior lecturer, Institute of Land and Food, University of Melbourne