Friday, February 17, 2012

Farmer warns of GM dangers

Canadian farmer warns of GM dangers
By Stephanie Anderson
Canberra Times
February 17, 2012

Financial ruin and loss of organic agriculture will be part of the future Australia if genetically modified crop trials continue, according to Canadian farmer Peter Eggers.

Mr Eggers is facing similar consequences on his Alberta property after first trialling GM canola in the 1990s. Aside from providing no financial gain, he said the initial trial had left him unable to produce the crop organically.
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“That is impossible,” he said. “Once the cat is out of the bag, it’s hard to get her back in.”

Mr Eggers and fellow Canadian National Farmers Union member Matt Gehl were in Canberra this week, speaking with government representatives and farming organisations on their experiences with GM crops.

[Read More…]

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lawsuit against Monsanto

Landmark Lawsuit against Monsanto gets day in court
SustainableBusiness.com
February 01, 2012

On Jan. 31, a Federal District Court judge agreed to hear oral arguments for a landmark lawsuit - Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) et al. v. Monsanto.

Monsanto filed a pre-trial motion to dismiss the case in July - this hearing will determine whether the case can move forward.

It was standing room only as family farmers from around North America filled the New York City courtroom.

Over 300,000 people are represented by 83 plaintiffs from 36 organizations in the case against Monsanto.

The lawsuit seeks to invalidate Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified (GMO) seeds and to prohibit the company from suing those whose crops become genetically contaminated because they drift through the air.

Monsanto has created a culture of fear in the rural community by aggressively pursuing lawsuits against farmers for “genetic trespassing.”

Dozens of farmers have been driven into bankruptcy and many organic and non-GMO farmers are now afraid to plant seeds.

Wouldn’t it make more sense if organic farmers could sue Monsanto for contaminating their crops with their GMO seed?

[Read More…]

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

GM cotton genes in wild

GM cotton genes found in wild species
By María Elena Hurtado
SciDev.Net
January 17, 2012

SANTIAGO, CHILE - Genetically modified cotton genes have been found in wild populations for the first time, making it the third plant species - after Brassica and bentgrass - in which transgenes have established in the wild.

The discovery was made in Mexico by six Mexican researchers investigating the flow of genes to wild cotton populations of the species Gossypium hirsutum.

They found transgenes from cotton that had been modified to resist insects, herbicides or antibiotics in just under a quarter of the 270 wild cotton seeds assessed for that purpose. One of the contaminated seeds came from a wild plant located 755 kilometres away from the nearest GM cotton plantation. Others were beyond first-generation hybrids because they carried multiple and different transgenes.

According to the researchers, the GM seeds could have been dispersed by long distance lorry drivers transporting seeds for animal feed or oil extraction; by mild or strong winds; by fresh or salt water; or by birds and animals that had eaten them.

Norman Ellstrand, professor of genetics at the University of California, Riverside, United States, said this is the first study that finds transgenes in unmanaged cotton populations. He added that this is third system, after Brassica and bentgrass, in which transgenes have established in the wild.

[Read More…]

Monday, January 16, 2012

GM greenhouse damaged

Greenhouse of GM barley damaged in storm
Iceland Review
January 16, 2012

The Environment Agency of Iceland is investigating an incident where a greenhouse run by the plant nursery Barri on behalf of ORF Genetics, where genetically-modified barley is grown, was damaged in the storm in east Iceland on Tuesday night.

Biology professor Kesara Jónsson commented to ruv.is that it was lucky the greenhouse was damaged in the winter, otherwise the barley’s seeds could have spread beyond the nursery.

The Environment Agency has issued ten licenses to breed genetically-modified animals and plants in Iceland, including flies and mice. The cultivation of genetically-modified barley has been authorized in five locations in the country; one of which is in the open.

Kesara criticizes genetically-modified barley being grown in greenhouses that don’t withstand Icelandic weather conditions. “It is not all right. It opens the possibility of plants or seeds escaping.”

[Read More…]

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