Wednesday, June 27, 2012

G8 corporate power

The fifth horseman of the apocalypse: G8 corporate power
By Glenn Ashton
South African Civil Society Information Service
June 27, 2012

A dangerous international game is being played in the name of assisting Africa to feed itself. What is portrayed as charitable largesse has more in common with reinvigorating neo-colonialism than feeding Africans. This is in fact a misanthropic, multi-pronged raid by the G8 to control African commodities, land and seeds.

Africa presently occupies an interesting niche amongst the emerging, tripartite global realpolitik. First are longstanding, yet waning, relationships between Africa and its European colonial powers – Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, Italy and most particularly France and England. Second is the expanding post Second World War relationship between Africa and the global superpower of the USA. Thirdly there is the increasingly important influence of the rapidly emerging BRICS alliance, with South Africa posing as regional superpower along with Brazil, India and China. These three blocs often have conflicting, and conflicted, roles in the development and exploitation of Africa.

Nowhere else is this more apparent than in the field of agriculture. African agriculture remains in the doldrums, beset by twin curses. On the one hand lies its huge vulnerability to climatic variability, which will be exacerbated by climate change. On the other are the market-disrupting impacts of food subsidies amongst the developed world. These combine to render the precarious business of farming in Africa even more treacherous than it needs to be.

[Read More…]

Syngenta criminal charges

Syngenta corporation faces criminal charges for covering up livestock deaths from GM corn
By Ethan A. Huff
naturalnews.com
June 27 2012

Biotechnology giant Syngenta has officially been outed for deliberately hiding data that proves the company’s genetically-modified (GM) Bt 176 corn is directly responsible for killing livestock. Dr. Eva Sirinathsinghji writing for QW Magazine explains that Syngenta is now facing criminal charges for willfully concealing the results of an internal, company-run study on Bt 176 corn from 1996 that was abruptly ended when four cows died after just two days of consuming the “Frankencorn.”

Gottfried Gloeckner, a German farmer from Woelfersheim, originally filed the suit roughly a decade after dozens of his own dairy cows died from exposure to Syngenta’s Bt 176 corn. Gloeckner first began feeding his cattle Bt 176 corn as part of their diet back in 1997 when Syngenta gained government approval to run field trials of the crop on Gloeckner’s property. And by 2000, Bt 176 corn was the only thing Gloeckner was feeding his cows.

As this transition from natural feed to GM feed was taking place, however, Gloeckner noticed that his cows were increasingly developing serious illnesses, many of which resulted in the animals’ rapid death. By 2001, five of Gloeckner’s cows had died, and another seven died by 2002, upon which Gloeckner decided to remove all GMOs from his livestock feed. But most of Gloeckner’s remaining cows ended up suffering intestinal damage, decreased milk production, and other ailments that resulted in their having to be put down as well.

[Read More…]

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dangerous Farm Bill provision

Farm groups and public interest advocates join forces to oust dangerous ‘Biotech Provision’ from agriculture spending bill
The True Food Network
June 19, 2012

Hidden rider poses unprecedented constitutional assault, blocks USDA authority and denies GE crop safeguards

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) and a coalition of farm, food safety, environmental and consumer advocacy groups today formally submitted a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations voicing strong and immediate opposition to the so-called “farmer assurance provision” (Section 733) that was quietly inserted in the FY 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill. Ceding broad and unprecedented powers to industry, the rider poses a direct threat to the authority of U.S. courts, jettisons the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) established oversight powers on key agriculture issues and puts the nation’s farmers and food supply at risk.

Flying under the radar as committee debate starts today, the “farmer assurance provision” is engineered to strip federal courts of the authority to halt the sale and planting of illegal, potentially hazardous genetically engineered (GE) crops while the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) assesses potential hazards. It also would inexplicably force USDA to allow continued planting of a GE crop even if a court of law identifies previously unrecognized risks. In addition, Section 733 targets vital judiciary oversight over USDA approvals by barring courts from compelling USDA to take action against agriculture policies that may harm farmers and the environment.

The coalition letter identifies the rider as a deliberately designed attempt to exchange long-established policies of good governance and lawful, impartial public review for the guarantee of control and profitability by a handful of biotech companies.

[Read More…]

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Why GE food is dangerous

Why genetically engineered food is dangerous
Press release
Earth Open Source
June 17, 2012

LONDON, UK – Aren’t critics of genetically engineered food anti-science? Isn’t the debate over GMOs (genetically modified organisms) a spat between emotional but ignorant activists on one hand and rational GM-supporting scientists on the other?

A new report released today, “GMO Myths and Truths”,[1] challenges these claims. The report presents a large body of peer-reviewed scientific and other authoritative evidence of the hazards to health and the environment posed by genetically engineered crops and organisms (GMOs).

Unusually, the initiative for the report came not from campaigners but from two genetic engineers who believe there are good scientific reasons to be wary of GM foods and crops.

One of the report’s authors, Dr Michael Antoniou of King’s College London School of Medicine in the UK, uses genetic engineering for medical applications but warns against its use in developing crops for human food and animal feed.

Dr Antoniou said: “GM crops are promoted on the basis of ambitious claims – that they are safe to eat, environmentally beneficial, increase yields, reduce reliance on pesticides, and can help solve world hunger.

“I felt what was needed was a collation of the evidence that addresses the technology from a scientific point of view.

[Read More…]

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Syngenta charged

Syngenta charged for covering up livestock deaths from GM corn
By Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji
ISIS Report
June 13, 2012

Biotech giant Syngenta has been criminally charged with denying knowledge that its genetically modified (GM) Bt corn kills livestock during a civil court case that ended in 2007 [1].

Syngenta’s Bt 176 corn variety expresses an insecticidal Bt toxin (Cry1Ab) derived from the bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and a gene conferring resistance to glufosinate herbicides. EU cultivation of Bt 176 was discontinued in 2007. Similar varieties however, including Bt 11 sweet corn are currently cultivated for human and animal consumption in the EU.

The charges follow a long struggle for justice by a German farmer whose dairy cattle suffered mysterious illnesses and deaths after eating Bt 176. They were grown on his farm as part of authorised field tests during 1997 to 2002. By 2000, his cows were fed exclusively on Bt 176, and soon illnesses started to emerge. He was paid 40 000 euros by Syngenta as partial compensation for 5 dead cows, decreased milk yields, and vet costs (see [2] Cows ate GM Maize and Died, SiS 21). During a civil lawsuit brought against the company by the farmer however, Syngenta refused to admit that its GM corn was the cause, claiming no knowledge of harm. The case was dismissed and Gloeckner remained thousands of euros in debt.

Gloeckner continued to lose cows and many more had to be put down due to serious illnesses, compelling him to stop using GM feed from 2002. He approached the Robert Koch Institute and Syngenta to conduct a full investigation. However, only one cow was ever analysed and the data are still unavailable to the public. Unsurprisingly, no causal relationship between the GM feed and deaths was determined; and there is still no explanation for the deaths.

[Read More…]

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