“A document leaked to the ETC group reveals that Canada is going to the UN to promote “terminator” technology: genetically engineered (GE) seeds designed to grow crops which can’t reproduce. These “suicide seeds,” designed solely to protect the patents and profits of multinational corporations, are currently forbidden from being planted outside the lab. The secret instructions to Canada’s delegation: block concensus on any other option than testing these seeds in the wild.
“Canada is about to launch a devastating kick in the stomach to the world’s most vulnerable farmers – the 1.4 billion people who depend on farm saved seed,” said ETC Group Executive Director Pat Mooney speaking from Ottawa. “The Canadian government is doing the dirty work for the multinational gene giants and the US government. Even Monsanto wasn’t prepared to be this upfront and nasty.”
Public outrage greeted “suicide seeds” when they were introduced in 1988. Monsanto, the company which developed the technology, was forced to back down when activists and scientists around the world warned of possible wild crop sterilisation through contamination.
We’re concerned that this is an attempt by at least one person within at least one department of the Canadian government to use Canada’s political leverage within a relatively unknown scientific and technical committee in order to open the door to Terminator technology’s release into the wild.
We contacted Mr Stefan Yarrow, Director of the plant Biosafety office of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Mr. Yarrow believes we should give this technology a chance. He emphasized that he was not aware of any current applications to use Terminator seeds and that his department would review carefully any such application that might be made in future.
Mr Yarrow said that he simply wants to test the safety of Terminator genes.
He thinks it’s fine that this research will take place out of doors in large scale field trials.
He said that he had heard that some third world farmers were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to save their seed.
The fact is, Terminator technology takes a massive risk with our food supply, puts poor farmers into a near-servitude relationship with seed salesmen, and benefits only the multinational corporations like Monsanto which promote it….”
“Speaking with Maine farmer Jim Gerritsen recently, just a few days before he was to appear in court, I was struck by how much this likable gentleman–proprietor, with wife Megan, of Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater, sounded more like an ambitious and idealistic community organizer, aiming to grow a fair and democratic agricultural system, than a man who’s spent the last few decades building a reputation for productive, delectable spuds. He’s begun to find a receptive audience. Last autumn the Utne Reader–long considered the Reader’s Digest of the alternative press–called him “one of 25 visionaries changing the world.”
A grower of All Blue, Butte, Caribe, Russian Banana and a host of other organic and heirloom seed potatoes, Gerritsen is also president of the Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association(OSGATA), lead plaintiff among 83 North American family farmers, seed businesses, and organic agriculture organizations in a potentially groundbreaking lawsuit, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, that’s just recently seen its first day in federal court.
This lawsuit is an “attempt to come up with a strategy to protect family farmers in this perverse situation we find ourselves in,” said Gerritsen, “Whereby our crops can become contaminated by Monsanto’s transgenic seed, and beyond losing the value of our organic or non-genetically modified (GMO) crops, we’re placed in the position of having to defend ourselves from a Monsanto-initiated patent infringement lawsuit. We need protection from the courts to prevent that injustice.”
I asked him to elaborate.
“It’s a preemptive lawsuit filed under the Declaratory Judgement Act, which allows people who are fearful of sometime in the future being sued, to petition the court for protection, in this case from their GMO contamination. We want them to keep their pollution on their side of the fence…we shouldn’t have to defend ourselves in court because of their trespass,” he said….’
By Anthony Gucciardi, Natural Society
“In an interview with the magazine L’Osservatore Romano on January 5, a prominent member of the Vatican spoke out against genetically modified crops. Cardinal Peter Turkson said that genetically modified crops are a “new form of slavery,” and went on to discuss the impact that they have on both the environment and the economy. Regardless of religious association, anyone speaking out against genetically modified should be listened to. As a prominent leader of the Catholic people, Cardinal Turkson has the ability to inform millions worldwide regarding the negative effects of genetically modified food.
Even farmers have risen up against Monsanto and genetically modified seeds, with Monsanto forcing thousands of farmers into debt worldwide. In India, Monsanto has ruined the lives of so many farmers that the prevalence of their suicide has led to a large farming area to be titled the ‘suicide belt of India’. Some have even blamed Monsanto for the recent bird and fish deaths, claiming that the poison coming from their factories may have poisoned animals worldwide. Monsanto’s destruction isn’t limited to the environment, however.
Genetically modified foods been proven not only to be a threat to nature, but extremely harmful to humans. The process of bioengineering GM ingredients itself is quite ridiculous. Billions are spent each year to genetically modify the food supply, tainting it with genetically modified frankenfood. Genetically modifying foods requires one to tamper with the very genetic coding of the crop and/or seed. The process entails the transfer of genes from one organism to another, such as taking particular genes from a pig and transferring them to a tomato. Not only does this defile nature, but it leads to a host of health problems.
Due to the complexity of a living organism’s genetic structure, it is impossible to track the long-term results of consuming genetically modified food. Introducing new genes into even the most simple bacterium may cause an array of issues, highlighting the complexity of even the simplest organisms. Introducing new genes to highly complex organisms such as animals or crops is even riskier.
When introducing the gene to its new host, it is essentially impossible to predict the reaction. The genetic intelligence of the host could be disrupted with the introduction of the new gene, creating an adverse reaction. There is truly no way of knowing the long-term effect genetically modified food, as there are too many variables. There is simply no room for science when Monsanto is involved….”