Farmers feel it's time to give GMO foods the TKO (16/8/2007)

NOTE: TKO = technical knock out, ie when a fight has to be stopped because one of the fighters is in such bad shape it's not safe to continue.


Farmers feel it's time to give GMO foods the TKO
By Don Maroc
Cowichan Newsleader, Aug 15 2007

At last weekend's general meeting of Farmers' Institutes from across Vancouver Island in Cobble Hill, farmers bravely declared Vancouver Island (plus Powell River) a genetically modified free zone.

Brave because the governments of British Columbia and Canada are both solid backers of agricultural and pharmacuetical GMOs (genetically modified organisms). They have both refused to test and regulate GMO's, they will not require GMO food to be labelled, they hand millions of dollars in grant money to the corporations that "own" the GMO seeds and, in places like the Comox Valley, to farmers who grow it.

There are farmers in the Cowichan Valley who will not be enthusiastic about the proposed ban on GMO's. According to our district agriculturalist nearly all Cowichan Valley dairy farmers who grow feed corn are growing Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn, which is genetically engineered to endure repeated spraying with Monsanto’s glyphosate-based toxin.

All of these farmers are shipping their milk to Island Farms Dairy in Victoria. Island Farms used to be a co-op owned by all Vancouver Island dairy farmers, but no longer, Quebec-based Agropur bought them out a year ago.

Monsanto would have us believe that Roundup does not last long in the soil, that it will not wash away into creeks and rivers, where it has been shown to be toxic to fish and amphibians. They even advertised for a while that Roundup is biodegradable and "safer than table salt", but a U.S. court ordered them to stop the false claims.

The largest seller of GMO seeds in the world apparently does not believe its own PR (or BS?). The company cafeteria at Monsanto's British headquarters serves only non-genetically modified products, no GMO soy and corn for their own employees.

Part of the difficulty in dealing with a herbicide like Roundup is that we only know its active ingredient, glyphosate. There are a number of other chemicals which help the glyphosate penetrate the plant tissues but Monssanto claims that would be revealing confidential business information. In our mad corporate-ruled, free-market economy all it takes is a "claim" by the manufacturer and all the information is top secret - no business of consumers who have to eat these mutant plants.

So they created corn, soybeans, cotton, and canola plants that resist the effects of the hormonal toxins in Roundup. Whenever a weed shows its ugly head the farmer can douse his fields with Roundup and only the corn plants will survive. By the time the corn matures it will have soaked up a lot of glyphosate and other secret chemicals. So much so that the U.S. government had to increase the level of glyphosate residue legally allowed on our food crops.

The Canadian government does not require labelling for GMO's, so there is no way for consumers to know if mutated genes are in their food.

In a phone conversation last year an Island Farms spokesperson said they have no policy concerning the use of GMO feed corn for the cows that supply their milk. This year the question was emailed, but Island Farms has failed to respond.

Let's all get behind the Island Farmers' Institutes' drive to declare Vancouver Island GMO-free.

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