|GM furphy / Dear friends... love jim (31/3/2004)|
"Campaigners rarely get the satisfaction of so clearly winning - for the thousands and thousands of people who spent cold nights pulling up crops, long weekends talking to shoppers and farmers and years of emotional and intellectual energy countering the bullying, lobbying power and financial clout of the gene giants.. we are all blown away that its a bright march morning, the buds are out and finally spring has come.. well done to everyone!" (item 2)
1.GM furphy [antipodean for fib or lie]
SHANE WRIGHT claims that the moratorium on genetically engineered crops in Victoria [Australia] and other states "flies in the face of what farmers in most other countries are doing" (Canberra Times, March 27, p12).
Ninety nine per cent of all GE crops are grown in just four countries, and even in the United States, the largest producer of GE crops by far, farmers are strongly resisting the introduction of GE wheat as they know that neither consumers nor markets want it.Most farmers worldwide, by a huge margin, continue to farm conventional, non- GE crops.
A moratorium doesn't fly in the face of anything - except the biotech companies.
JEREMY TAGER GE campaigner, Greenpeace Australia
2.Dear friends... love Jim
From Jim Thomas of the etc. group, formerly a leading GM campaigner for Greenpeace
I first heard whisper of this news at 11pm last night and didn't dare believe it's true. This morning is bright and sunny and it IS true. It feels like there should be parties on the street and flowing champagne.
No GM crops will be commercially grown in the UK for at least 5 years.
Here's the magnitude of the victory:
At the end of 1996, (when i started working on GM crops) we were reckoned to be barely a year away from widespread cultivation of GM crops (GM rape) all across the UK countryside. Monsanto was considering a merger with AHP to become the worlds largest corporation. Some of the world's most powerful companies and one of the worlds most powerful governments had remained steadfastly determined to get GM crops grown commercially in the UK throughout the intervening 8 years and it is raw, direct popular opposition that has nonetheless:
- removed GM from all human foods sold in the UK
- removed GM from pretty much all poultry and pig feed
- reduced no of GM field trials from over 300 locations per year to currently zero
- caused monsanto to leave the UK and stop further breeding work here
- reduce the number of GM varieties seeking government approval for commercialisation to be reduced from 58 varieties down to a remaining 2 that have no chance of being legally grown.
Chardon ll maize (the same variety that Greenpeace pulled up in a field in norfolk) was the only thin grasping straw the agrobiotech industry had for actually growing GM crops legally in the UK countryside in the foreseeable future. By abandoning that they are basically waving goodbye to growing GM in this peculiar rainy island off the north coast of europe for many years to come.
Campaigners rarely get the satisfaction of so clearly winning - for the thousands and thousands of people who spent cold nights pulling up crops, long weekends talking to shoppers and farmers and years of emotional and intellectual energy countering the bullying, lobbying power and financial clout of the gene giants.. we are all blown away that its a bright march morning, the buds are out and finally spring has come.. well done to everyone!
now about those nanoparticles....
3.GREENPEACE STATEMENT ON DEMISE OF GM CROP
Reacting to the announcement by Bayer that it will not commercialise its GM Chardon LL maize in Britain, Greenpeace campaigner Sarah North said:
"Anyone who cares about the British countryside will be delighted by this announcement. The only GM crop with a government green light now doesn't even have the support of its manufacturer. Tony Blair bent over backwards to get this crop grown, but Bayer knew its maize would fail in the field. Without the help of a powerful chemical herbicide recently banned in Europe, Britain's first GM crop would have been a flop. That's why it's been abandoned."
Sarah North continued:
"This doesn't mean that Britain will be free of GM. Supermarkets like Sainsbury's continue to support the import of millions of tonnes of American GM maize to feed the cows that produce our milk. But Greenpeace will continue to fight this dangerous technology wherever it's grown."
For more information contact Greenpeace press office on: 0207 865 8255 / 07801 212967
4.BIOTECH COMPANY FACES GM REALITY WHERE EXECUTIVE WOULDN'T
The announcement from Bayer CropScience that it is to abandon attempts to commercialise Chardon LL maize was welcomed today by Green MSP Mark Ruskell.
Bayer blames the restrictive approach of Margaret Beckett, but Greens believe this has been concocted as an excuse to cover up the total failure of the technology to produce an economically viable and scientifically safe GM maize crop in the first place.
"GM maize was the Trojan horse of the biotech companies softening up the public in the UK to the introduction of other GM crops. That Westminster and the Scottish Executive caved in on GM maize based on dubious science was the major worry. It is predictable that the company will seek to blame Chardon LL's withdrawal on proposed measures to restrict GM, rather than publicly admit to the uselessness of their own technology."
"We have always maintained that this crop offered nothing to farmers, consumers or the environment. Bayer's announcement totally vindicates our position, it seems that they have faced the reality of the suitability of this crop where the Executive has ignored evidence of poor performance," said Mr Ruskell this morning. "This confirms that the Executive could have stopped the crop for this reason alone as our independent legal opinion showed last week."
During question time last week, Green MSP Mark Ballard asked whether Chardon LL maize offered Value for Cultivation and Use, a prerequisite of the UK national seed listing regulations designed to show whether a new crop has any advantage at all. Bayer's announcement shows that even they accept that this crop does not meet the criteria (1), while the Executive maintain it still meets this criteria.
Chardon LL, a forage maize modified to be tolerant to the herbicide glufosinate ammonium, has had EU marketing consent since 1998, but it has never been grown in any member state. The farm scale evaluations were designed to measure impacts on biodiversity, but they failed to take yields into consideration.
As well as performing badly as a crop, there remain huge question marks over the food safety of this and other GM crops.
"The present food safety testing regime is wholly inadequate," said Mr Ruskell. "Until or unless foods derived from GM crops are subject to a rigorous and transparent testing system, these crops must not be commercially grown in the UK or elsewhere in Europe. Following Bayer's decision it is important that the results of ruminant feeding studies carried out for the company are now published. They should not be allowed to bury this data as commercially confidential."
Notes to editors
5.Soil Association response to Bayer Cropscience announcement on GM maize
Reacting to the news that Bayer Cropscience is giving up attempts to commercialise GM maize, Peter Melchett, the Soil Association's Policy Director, said, "This is wonderful news a very real threat has been hanging over all organic farmers, and they will be very relieved today. It's a victory for reason, common sense and the will of the general public."
For media enquiries contact Simon Toseland, Soil Association Press Office, 0117 987 4580, or [email protected]