Legal warning on GM canola (24/11/2007)

1.Anti-GM farmers in legal warning on canola crops
2.Defending the right to eat GM-free
3.Why the ban on GM canola must stay

NOTE: Regarding item 2, it's worth remembering that only a small minority of Australian farmers actually want the GM ban to go* whereas recent polls confirm the majority of consumers oppose GM.

The fate of John Howard - thought likely to be the first Australian Prime Minister to be personally voted out of parliament since 1929 as his government is swept from power - shows just what happens to politicians who refuse to listen to their electorate.

* http://www.non-gm-farmers.com/news_details.asp?ID=2844

1.Anti-GM farmers in legal warning on canola crops
Jason Dowling
The Age, November 24 2007

FARMERS planting genetically modified canola in Victoria could risk legal action, it has been claimed.

The State Government is expected to announce this week if a four-year ban on planting GM canola will be extended beyond February.

With Premier John Brumby a strong supporter of GM technology, opponents said the ban would likely be lifted and have warned farmers considering planting the crops there could be legal consequences.

Biological Farmers of Australia is pushing for a fund to be created to compensate non-GM farmers financially affected by removal of the ban.

2.Defending the right to eat GM-free
The Age, 22 November 2007 [via Agnet]

Helen Rosenbaum of Black Range writes that driving along the Western Highway recently, she noted canola plants growing on the roadside several kilometres from the nearest visible crop. The right of farmers to choose is constantly raised by those who wish to see our State Government lift the bans on genetically modified crops.

However, there is an obvious inability to control the spread of canola. So what about the choice of consumers who are committed to eating healthily and GM-free?

It would be a slap in the face for consumers if the State Government were to lift the bans on GM crops.

3.Why ban on GM canola must stay

Points from the Biological Farmers Australia group
http://nqr.farmonline.com.au/news_daily.asp?ag_id=44690 [extract from article only]

* The continuation of the moratorium produces security for the growth of Australian farm business including the rapidly growing organic sector.

* The global crop area of GM canola has not increased since 1999

* The claims by GM proponents that we will fall behind and be unable to compete have no foundation and ironically bear the hall marks of emotion and hysteria that the anti GM sector is accused of.

* The GM canola being pushed for commercial release is not drought or salt tolerant and will not use less fertiliser.

* The USA and Canada pay billions of dollars of direct subsidies to farmers and this comes at the expense of health and education spending.

* North American farm incomes have fallen disastrously.

* Australia remains, of the three players on the global market, the only GM free canola producer

* Strict labelling laws in the EU makes our canola the preferred product for food and biofuel use.

* The premiums cannot be denied: Australian canola wins by up to $US120 per tonne, and an average of $US68 more over 2 years than in the previous 10 years.

*Consumer resistance has increased, even according to loaded opinion surveys.

* It is not just organic vs GM canola. Commercial release of GM crops will affect organic and non-GM farming across the board, including grains and stock feeds.

* The cost of segregation has been conservatively estimated again at 5-15pc, even at high admix thresholds and will need to be borne by the GE free and organic farm sector, not the GE sector.

* Many more processors and retailers now have absolute GM free purchasing policies and marketing claims (Goodman Fielder, etc).

* The US has lost markets for its organic products due to GM contamination.

* The main impediment to the growth of the organic sector is lack of supply, which means if certain crop specifications cannot be guaranteed (as in Canada), opportunities cannot be developed.

* We do not oppose biotechnology, but fully support the use of non GM biotechnology to assist in progressing desirable traits such as drought and salt tolerant crops.

* There is a growing alliance of farmers and consumers in North America and worldwide opposed to GM wheat being released there next, while litigation is continuing surrounding existing GE crops.


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