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WEEKLY WATCH number 242 (24/2/2008)

WEEKLY WATCH number 242
from Claire Robinson, WEEKLY WATCH editor
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Dear all:

While the GM lobby love to accuse those who raise concerns about GM of 'scaremongering', they themselves are the biggest scaremongers of all. The latest crisis narrative that the GM lobby's busy spinning involves animal feed.

A whole host of voices are suddenly claiming that the current price hikes for livestock feed are due to Europe's failure to accept GM crops. But these price hikes affect grain generally and the real reason for rising prices is that farmers have massively switched to growing crops for agrofuels.

Every baker in the UK seems to grasp this fact - witness the notices that have gone up in bakers' shops over the past few months apologizing for the rise in bread prices and citing 'biofuel' expansion as the cause. But the GM lobby and their allies in the leadership of some of the farm unions choose to ignore the truth in order to find yet another excuse to push GM. (See SCAREMONGERING)

Claire claire@gmwatch.org
www.gmwatch.org / www.lobbywatch.org

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CONTENTS
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GM CONTAMINATION
GM - REDUCED YIELDS, INCREASED COSTS
SCAREMONGERING
EUROPE
MASSIVE REGULATORY FAILURE
SILENT INVASION
AFRICA
THE AMERICAS
CLONING

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GM CONTAMINATION
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+ NEW GM CONTAMINATION INCIDENT IN US
According to a USDA, FDA, EPA press statement released late Friday (22nd), Dow reported approximately 53,000 acres of corn seed contaminated with an unapproved GM variety, were planted in the United States in 2007. Although the contaminated corn seed had been cultivated since 2006, it was apparently never detected till January 2008. The US Administration was told about the problem January 25th, and then took a month to come up with its response.

According to Dow, those tens of thousands of acres of contaminated corn all originated because pollen from some unapproved GM corn stalks growing in a research plot 'landed on a patch of approved stalks'.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8803

+ HERBICIDE-RESISTANT GENES FOUND TO PERSIST IN WEEDS
From an excellent article in Canada's Star Phoenix on previously reported research conducted by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists, which found that herbicide-resistant genes escaping from GM canola into weedy relatives persisted over a 6-year period (EXCERPT): It's not supposed to happen, but it does. Genetically modified canola plants have been found to interbreed with a weed, producing a hybrid wild mustard that is resistant to the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup).

Significantly, these new hybrid weeds are persistent. Millions are spent on propaganda to calm the nerves of irrational consumers and other overwrought folks worried about the environment... First the propagandists said that genetically engineered plants wouldn't cross with weeds. When they did, they said the new hybrids wouldn't persist. They are unstable plants that die out after a year or two, so no need to worry. Now, new research from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists provides the first report of persistence and apparent introgression (stable incorporation of genes from one gene pool into another). The researchers found the herbicide resistance gene from Brassica napus moved into the gene pool of its weedy relative, Brassica rapa, under normal commercial field conditions. Persistence of the HR trait occurred during a six-year period. Contrary to the propaganda from the biotechnology industry, the scientific community is not entirely at ease with genetic engineering, and for good reason.
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8778

+ FINAL WARNING FROM CANADIAN FARMERS TO AUSTRALIA
From a telling report in the Australian press on the Canadian farmers' recent speaking tour of Australia: Two Canadian farmers have warned that once Australia introduces GM canola, the country would be 'GM forever'. ... Guest speakers Terry Boehm, a grain farmer and vice-president of the Canadian Farmers Union, and Arnold Taylor, a farmer of 25 years from the Saskatchewan province of Canada, shared their experience of growing GM canola. 'We didn't realise what we were getting into,' Mr Boehm said. 'Canada is now a GM country. If we had a choice, we wouldn't have become a GM nation. 'Contamination takes place rapidly, there are many legal disputes over responsibility and ownership and we lost the European (export) market soon after GM canola was introduced to Canada. It was ultimately the end for our crops.'
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8778

+ JAPANESE TELL AUSTRALIA AGAIN, STAY GM-FREE
A delegation from the Consumers Union of Japan (CUJ) visited the Australian Embassy in Tokyo to ask the new Australian government to ban GM canola. CUJ has 1,250 member organisations that represent over 2 million Japanese shoppers. Said Ms Michiyo Koketsu of Consumers Union of Japan, 'We were shocked to hear that your farmers who want to stay GM-free are scared to speak out, under company and agribusiness pressure for GM canola,. Said Ms Ryoko Shimizu of the Policy Research Institute for the Civil Sector, a member of CUJ, 'In Canada, Monsanto and Bayer have also stopped selling GM-free canola seed as patented GM seed is more profitable, so all Canadian canola is GM now.'
http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=8786

+ CONSEQUENCES OF GM CROP CONTAMINATION ARE 'SET TO WORSEN'
The consequences of GM contamination will be much more serious with the next generation of GM crops, an influential group of US scientists has warned. GM contamination has already caused serious economic losses. But the consequences of contamination will be much more serious with crops that are altered to produce pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals, the scientists argue. The crops could harm human health and be toxic to wild animals. Karen Perry Stillerman of the Union of Concerned Scientists says, 'Our perception is that some of them might be toxic, but all of them would certainly cause tremendous economic upheaval.' The group presented its findings at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Boston.

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