2.GM crop warning
3.Letter to Victoria's Premier
EXTRACTS: 'With the end of the moratorium fast-approaching, residents and retailers alike are contacting me wanting to take action to stop the introduction of GM canola. Signs are popping up in shops and at houses all over my electorate. People from all walks of life, from rural areas and suburbs, farmers and families, parents and grandparents, are all expressing their deep concern about GM.' - Member of Parliament, Tammy Lobato (item 1)
Would you open a business selling beach clothing in Antarctica? Would you open a business selling winter coats and long underwear in Hawaii? The chemical giants are attempting to create a market for the product they want to sell rather than selling what the consumer wants. (item 3)
1.Under GM pressure
By Kath Gannaway
Star News Group, 12 February 2008
RADIO celebrity and Upper Yarra resident Tracy Bartram has thrown her weight behind campaigning Gembrook MP Tammy Lobato.
They were signatories to a high-profile advertisement in The Australian newspaper which compared GM crops to the cane toad.
'My constituents are telling me to keep Victoria GM-free and that is what I will continue to fight for,' Ms Lobato said last week.
The more than 100 signatories called on the State and Federal Governments to extend the GE ban for at least five years.
'While other countries are turning their back on GE crops, Australia is opening its doors,' a statement in the advertisement said.
With the moratorium on the growing of genetically modified canola set to expire at the end of the month, Ms Lobato said she is being inundated with concerned constituents who want the state to remain GM-free.
'With the end of the moratorium fast-approaching, residents and retailers alike are contacting me wanting to take action to stop the introduction of GM canola,' she said.
'Signs are popping up in shops and at houses all over my electorate,' she said.
Ms Lobato's Berwick office is among them.
'People from all walks of life, from rural areas and suburbs, farmers and families, parents and grandparents, are all expressing their deep concern about GM.
'Many have taken the time to undertake their own investigations and, like me, consider the introduction of GM premature given that there are no independent scientific studies showing either its efficacy or safety.
Ms Lobato labelled GM as a giant experiment and said Victorians do not want to be the guinea pigs when adverse effects from growing GM are already showing up overseas.
She said Canadian farmers visiting the Victorian Parliament last week issued a warning to their Australian peers and to food manufacturers and retailers that the GM path is one of economic loss and agricultural disaster.
'These farmers have lived through GM experimentation in their own country and want to warn Australian farmers of the economic and financial losses they have encountered,' Ms Lobato said.
'Similar disasters will be faced by local farmers if Victoria grows GM crops,' she warned.
'All exports to the lucrative European markets will be shut off.
'The problems of weed control will accelerate as herbicide tolerant genes take hold, and that is before the legal nightmares from contamination take hold.'
2.GM crop warning
Country News, February 11 2008
Two Canadian farmers have warned Australia of the widespread contamination of the original canola species that has occurred in Canada since the approval of genetically modified canola crops 10 years ago.
Canadian National Farmers Union vice-president Terry Boehm and grain farmer Arnold Taylor are embarking on a 10-day tour across Australia as both NSW and Victoria are set to relax their bans on GM food crops.
Mr Boehm said he hoped to raise the level of debate surrounding GM canola and expose the myths about the crop.
Mr Taylor said there was virtually no organic canola grown in Canada anymore because the seed stock was 'basically contaminated'.
Mr Boehm said many Canadian farmers had been forced into dependency relationships with their bio-technology company.
Mr Boehm said seed costs had risen significantly in the 10 years since the GM crop was approved, with farmers paying up to five times more than in the beginning.
He also said promises of higher yields had not come to anything.
Mr Boehm said the introduction of GM crops had significantly affected Canada's foreign markets with the European market lost.
'We've lost foreign markets and never gained them back,' he said.
Mr Boehm said the loss of foreign market and the contamination of non-GM varieties raised issues of liability.
'Who is responsible . . . is it the government or the bio-tech companies?
Or is the hit taken by the farmer himself?' Mr Boehm said.
'There is a common humanity among farmers and what I'm worried about is important anywhere . . . there are so many questions that need to be debated fully.'
However, Australian-based group Producers Forum said latest figures from the Canola Council of Canada showed that the majority of Canadian farmers placed a high value on GM canola varieties.
Mr Wayne McKay said there had been another reduction of the area of conventional varieties sown on the Canadian prairies.
'They are down two per cent of plantings in 2007, from five per cent in 2006,' he said.
'This shows that conventional varieties are proving inferior in all but the most specialised niches in Canadian farmers' cropping programs.'
The NSW and Victorian governments announced late last year that they would let their bans on GM engineered food crops expire early this year.
3.Letter to Victoria's Premier
Honorable Premier Brumby,
Thank you for a few minutes of your time. On the grand scheme of things, I am a nobody. I do hope, however, you might read my note for additional information regarding what may be a bad decision for your country, your people.
I am a small scale vegetable farmer. I have a 23 acre farm, and now plant much less (2 to 3 acres) than I want to because the markets here in Michigan have died. I work about 60 hours a week off farm to pay my expenses. I would rather be farming, but can not make a profit, due to the market death in the United States. This death is caused largely by the control of farming from large agri-business, leaving the small farmer out of the game andgenetically modified crops closing our export markets. I will probably sell my farm, or get out of the market completely in the next couple of years because of this problem a few large players in the agri-biz has created in our country.
Here in the United States, our corn, soy, and other export markets have effectively been closed to the world. Not by governments, but by the decisions of big business. The choice to convince farmers that growing the genetically modified crops will save them money has not worked at all. Even here, where more GM crops are planted than anywhere else, consumers want to purchase NON-GM products. The lobby from the large corporations like Monsanto, are powerful and succeeded in getting approval for GM crops here, even to the point of convincing politicians to write laws that do not allow me to know what is in my food.
The power of the big business has CONTROLLED the government with their lobby dollars. The politicians have folded to the whims of the profits of big agri-business. Gone is the choice of the people, something your website indicates your government is looking out for.
Quoting from you home page, two of the programs you campaigned under were: 'A Fairer Victoria and Our Water, Our Future'. For Victoria to be more fair, you need to let the consensus of your population help you decide to keep Victoria GM free. For cleaner water, you need to keep Victoria GM free to avoid the chemical contamination suffered with the chemicals used in GM agriculture. Contrary to what the agri-biz tells you, pesticide and herbicide use in our country has INCREASED with the introduction of GM crops. This leads to all of the problems associated with the agricultural use of chemicals, including increased respiratory problems, increase in cancers, and as yet unknown other health problems from the use of unlabeled food.
Under your initiative #2,of 'Making Government more accountable and the Executive more accessible,' you should have the courage to listen to your population, and not the government officials who are using information provided by the chemical and seed companies, a biased and self serving way to collect information. If your government advisors would look at the farm economies of the countries using GM cropping, they would see that we are producing crops the consumer does not want to purchase.
Would any good business person open a store or business selling something the population does not want? Would you open a business selling beach clothing in Antarctica? Would you open a business selling winter coats and long underwear in Hawaii? The chemical giants are attempting to create a market for the product they want to sell rather than selling what the consumer wants. They are trying and lobbying with many many dollars, bribes included, to convince all countries to plant their product and use their chemicals, until they have the market so saturated with their 'patented' product, that no conventional agricultural enterprise will survive.
The chemical and seed giants are playing chess with you and your fine state. They are gambling they can convince the government to bow down to their wishes, their desire, no their NEED to create a market at your expense. Without your market, they lose money. And the funny thing is, they are not even Victorian companies working the political machine in Victoria, they are largely American and European Giants, attempting to grow their markets by convincing the politician that you need them. Poppycock.
If you look at what the world population is asking for, keeping Victoria GM free will give you a heads up, effectively you could have a monopoly of the world market for your farmers. You have the power to keep Victoria a fairer Victoria for your population. You have the power to protect your water, your future.
And....only you have the power, no the responsibility 'to make Victoria the best place to live, work and raise a family'
I ask you to reconsider your position on lifting the ban on GM crops in your Victoria. If you have the courage to keep Victoria GM free, your farmers, your land, your people, will live in one of the last places on earth free of the control of large business agriculture.
A green Victoria would help all industries in your State.
With warmest regards,
Donald D. Dunklee