Switzerland backs GM crop ban (27/11/2005)

Switzerland, home to Syngenta - the world's biggest biotech corporation, has banned GM crops!

1.Switzerland 'backs GM crop ban'
2.Swiss agree to 5-year GMO farming ban
3.Swiss back GMO moratorium

1.Switzerland 'backs GM crop ban'  
BBC News, Sunday 27 November 2005

[image caption: The influential biotechnology industry opposes a ban]

Swiss voters have approved a five-year ban on the use of genetically modified crops, partial results from Sunday's referendum suggest.

Results from most of the country's 26 cantons show that more than 55% have voted in favour of the moratorium.

Supporters of the ban include farmers, who believe that the introduction of GM crops would undermine organic produce.

But the biotechnology industry had campaigned against the ban, saying the country must accept new developments.

The BBC Imogen Foulkes in Berne says the Swiss have long been suspicious of genetically modified crops.

Only one tiny experimental GM crop of wheat has ever been grown on Swiss soil, by scientists at the University of Zurich.

Surveys show Swiss consumers would not buy GM produce.

The EU lifted its own moratorium on GM crops last year. Switzerland, although not a member of the EU, was under pressure to do the same.

2.Swiss agree to 5-year GMO farming ban
Reuters, Sun Nov 27, 2005

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland voted in favor of a five-year ban on the use of genetically modified plants and animals in farming on Sunday, putting in place some of the toughest measures in Europe.

Results of the referendum, compiled by Swiss television SF DRS, showed that 55 percent of voters had accepted the proposal to place a five-year moratorium on GMO crops and the import of genetically modified animals.

A majority of Switzerland's 26 cantons had also accepted the ban, SF DRS said.

Officials are expected to confirm the national result later on Sunday. Final results take months to be published.

The measures will force the Swiss government to put in place some of the toughest legislations on GMOs in Europe.

In the 25-nation European Union that surrounds Switzerland, restrictions apply to specific crops only and are temporary in nature, rather than the blanket ban proposed by Swiss ecologists and consumer groups.

The proposal is supported by Swiss farmers, many of whom are considering moving into the booming organic farming business in response to moves to cut traditional agricultural subsidies.

Under the country's legislative system, the Swiss electorate is regularly asked to vote on major decisions.

However, while the vote has a symbolic meaning, a ban will mean very little change from current practice, said those who opposed the motion. [because it was already so difficult to grow GMOs]

3.Swiss back GMO moratorium and labour law
swissinfo   November 27, 2005 1:47 PM  
Swiss voters have backed a call for a five-year ban on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Swiss agriculture.

Near-final results show almost 56 per cent of voters approving a people's initiative for a temporary ban on GMOs.

All the country's 26 cantons backed the proposals by environmentalists and consumer groups.

The ballot on the GMO moratorium comes after parliament passed a new law in 2003, which allows GM crops in Switzerland under certain conditions.

Supporters of the proposal argue GMOs are neither in the interest of consumers nor of Swiss farmers, and that a moratorium is an opportunity for farmers to improve their marketing for natural production methods.

Consumers and research

The government, the business community, as well as the main centre-right and rightwing parties, all came out against a temporary ban on GMOs.

They argue the current law contains enough safety guarantees and a ban could be detrimental to biotechnology research in the country.

But the lobby groups, supported by the Greens and the centre-left Social Democrats, say their aim is not to oppose research but to allow time to consider the potential risks of GMOs.

The electorate overwhelmingly voted down a far-reaching ban on GMOs in 1998.

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