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#33 -- Precaution For Pesticides, 12-Apr-2006

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Rachel's Precaution Reporter #33

"Foresight and Precaution, in the News and in the World"

Wednesday, April 12, 2006............Printer-friendly version
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Table of Contents...

Broad Coalition Invokes Precaution for Pesticides in Alaska
"DEC has selectively ignored credible, peer-reviewed scientific
evidence that these chemicals are harmful to people's health and that
children are particularly vulnerable. They are serving the interests
of the corporation and not fulfilling their mandate to protect public
health." -- Pam Miller, Executive Director of Alaska Community Action
on Toxics.
Europe: Activism Against Genetically Modified Crops Is Growing
The Norwegian government is planning to build a cave inside a
frozen mountain in the Arctic to store seeds from all the world's
crops, to prevent them from becoming contaminated with genetically
modified organisms (GMOs). The plan "reflects compelling evidence that
conventional plants are being contaminated by transgenic ones," which
has sparked a movement of citizens taking direct action against GMO
crops.
Family Farmers in Sweden Strongly Oppose GMOs
In a letter to government officials, farmers in Sweden ask why the
precautionary principle is being ignored as genetically modified
organisms (GMOs) make their way into European crops. They suggest
strict conditions under which the use of GMOs might reasonably
proceed.
Moratorium On Terminator Seed Technology Stays
Terminator technology is a technique for sterilizing a crops's
seeds, to prevent them from being planted year after year, thus
forcing farmers to purchase new seed each year. If adopted, terminator
technology would transfer control of the world's food crops from local
farmers to corporations like Monsanto, the St. Louis chemical giant.

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From: SitNews (Ketchikan, Alaska), Mar. 31, 2006
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BROAD COALITION FORMED TO OPPOSE AERIAL PESTICIDE SPRAYING PERMIT

Ketchikan, Alaska -- Today, along with 46 concerned organizations and
individuals, the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) filed a
request for an adjudicatory hearing with the state Department of
Environmental Conservation (DEC), opposing the aerial pesticide
spraying permit granted to Klukwan, Inc.

The broad coalition of interests includes city governments, federally-
recognized tribal councils, Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian
Tribes of Alaska, Grand Camp of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and
Alaska Native Sisterhood, commercial fishing groups and businesses,
conservation organizations, the Alaska Nurses Association, and
individual health care practitioners and subsistence users. This wide
spectrum of interests has expressed strong concerns about the effects
the pesticides will have on human health, fish, and wildlife.

In Ketchikan, Susan Walsh, R.N., of the Alaska Nurses Association
said, "Many pesticides have proved toxic to human health, so the
Association has adopted a 'precautionary principle' toward them. That
means DEC needs to prove beyond any doubt that these pesticides will
not harm human health. The agency hasn't done that."

On March 1, 2006, DEC issued a permit to Klukwan, Inc. to spray
pesticides by helicopter to kill "unwanted" alder and salmonberry in
previously clearcut land owned by the Native corporation. Klukwan,
Inc. plans to spray pesticides Accord (glyphosate) and Arsenal
(imazapyr) over 1,965 acres on Long Island, near Prince of Wales
Island. Two other chemicals, Competitor (a surfactant) and In-place (a
drift inhibitor), will be mixed with the pesticides. The corporation
received a similar permit last March, but withdrew the project after
DEC put its decision on hold and granted a hearing to resolve
widespread public concerns.

Opponents say the studies DEC used only examine the effects of the
chemicals individually, not in a cocktail mix as Klukwan, Inc. will
actually spray them. Opponents assert the mixing could cause
unanticipated and unstudied effects on people, fish, and wildlife and
could harm the traditional and commercial uses of the areas on and
near Long Island.

"DEC has selectively ignored credible, peer-reviewed scientific
evidence that these chemicals are harmful to people's health and that
children are particularly vulnerable. They are serving the interests
of the corporation and not fulfilling their mandate to protect public
health," states Pamela Miller, Executive Director of Alaska Community
Action on Toxics.

According to Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, many people feel
DEC has brushed aside their concerns. The agency refused to hold a
public hearing in Ketchikan, even though 84 people signed a petition
requesting one. Over 99% of the 1,298 total comments DEC received for
this permit (918 comments) and the previous permit (380 comments)
opposed spraying.

Tom Morrison, Mayor of Hydaburg says, "People are worried. DEC has
totally neglected an overwhelmingly negative response, and hasn't
answered valid, concrete questions. Nobody has ever come up and said
'this is good for people and good for Alaska.""

Mayor Morrison said the Haida people in the area have hunted, fished,
and gathered traditional foods and medicines on Long Island for
generations. There are options for clearing the alder and
salmonberries other than spraying pesticides, such as mechanical
thinning.

Rob Sanderson, a Haida who lives in Ketchikan and President of the
Ketchikan chapter of Central Council Tlingit and Haida, said "The
Haida have strong ancestral ties to Long Island. It is a place our
families used for generations past and that we use now, yet DEC
refuses to listen to our concerns about how spraying pesticides where
we get our food will affect us. It's a hideous plan. Why can't they
put a thinning crew out there?"

Kimberly Strong, Tribal Council President of Chilkat Indian Village of
Klukwan, said "This permit goes against traditional tribal values of
mutual respect for people and their traditional use areas."

"I have grandchildren, and my concern is for children and the
elderly," says Joe Hotch, a Klukwan Village tribal judge and elder.
"They are victims of something they don't have any control over. We
wouldn't want people spraying pesticides here where we get our
traditional foods."

Another unifying concern is the precedent this permit sets to allow
aerial spraying of chemicals for forestry vegetation management
purposes near salmon streams, hunting areas, and locations used for
gathering traditional foods and other resources.

Buck Lindekugel of SEACC says "This permit opens the door for aerial
spraying on private clearcut lands all over Southeast and the rest of
Alaska. Spraying pesticides where people fish and gather food would
poison the lifestyle and livelihoods many Alaskans treasure."

Hearing Requestors:

City of Hydaburg;
Hydaburg Cooperative Association;
Chilkat Indian Village of Klukwan;
Klawock Cooperative Association;
Organized Village of Kasaan;
Craig Community Association;
Ketchikan Indian Community;
Organized Village of Saxman;
Organized Village of Kake;
Petersburg Indian Association;
Hoonah Indian Association;
Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska;
Alaska Inter-Tribal Council;
Alaska Native Brotherhood & Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp;
United Fishermen of Alaska;
Alaska Trollers Association;
Seafood Producers Cooperative;
Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association;
Alaska Wild Salmon Company;
United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters;
Alaska Community Action on Toxics;
Prince of Wales Conservation;
Tongass Conservation Society;
Naha Bay Preservation Coalition;
Tongass Cave Project;
Lower Chatham Conservation Society;
Sitka Conservation Society;
Lynn Canal Conservation;
Cook Inlet Keeper;
Kachemak Bay Conservation Society;
Alaska Youth for Environmental Action;
Alaska Nurses Association;
Michael W. Tobin, M.D.;
Myron Fribush, M.D.;
Anya Maier, M.D.;
Adam Grove, N.D.;
Birgit Lenger, N.D.;
Jeri Rosenthal, R.N.;
Andre LeCornu, R.N.;
Jenny Pursell, L.C.S.W.;
Mike Sallee;
Dave McFadden;
Robert Sanderson;
Carrie L. James;
Joe Hotch;
Reverends Val and Sal Burattin;
Southeast Alaska Conservation Council

Related Information:

DEC Long Island Trust Pesticide Permit Application for Aerial Use of
Pesticides for Forestry Vegetation management -- Decision Document

Dated March 1, 2006

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From: Le Monde diplomatique, Apr. 10, 2006
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EUROPE: NOT IN OUR FIELDS

Resistance continues to GM crops

The European Commission and the GM seeds industry invented the idea of
coexistence between GM and conventional farming to get GM crops
accepted. So why are the GM companies backing a plan to set up a seed
bank near the North Pole where it can't be contaminated?


By Robert Ali Brac de La Perriere and Frederic Prat

The Norwegian government has revived plans to build an artificial cave
inside a frozen mountain on the island of Svalbard on the edge of the
Arctic Circle. The idea is that the genetic diversity currently found
in the crops we grow can be preserved by freezing their seeds in the
cave. Two million sets of seeds representing all currently known
varieties of crop would be put inside this end-of-the-world safe.
According to Cary Fowler, head of the Global Crop Diversity Trust,
which is promoting the idea: "Should the worst happen, this will allow
the world to restart agriculture on this planet." The project's donors
include Dupont and Syngenta, two multinational agrochemicals companies
which own a significant share of the world's biotechnology patents,
and produce large numbers of genetically modified crops.

So the companies that promote GM crops are among the keenest advocates
of the need to safeguard the world's plant life. This should provoke
concern, since it reflects compelling evidence that conventional
plants are being contaminated by transgenic ones. The Consultative
Group on International Agricultural Research has also raised the
alarm. The group maintains a genebank containing more than half a
million samples of seeds and covering most major crops. In 2004 it
deemed that the probability of genebank collections becoming
contaminated was high for maize and rape, medium for rice and cotton.
Its report recommended immediate action (1)

Contamination also threatens sources of diversity within a single
species. These specific geographical locations are known as original
centres of domestication. Mexico is the original centre of
domestication and source of the diversity of maize. In 2001
researchers from Berkeley, California, revealed that local Mexican
maize varieties had been contaminated by commercial, transgenic
varieties from the United States, even though Mexico had a moratorium
on GM crops at the time (2).

Transylvania in Romania is a centre of domestication for Prunus
species (plum, peach and cherry trees). In 2005 it was discovered that
transgenic plum trees, resistant to the Sharka (plum pox) virus, were
being cultivated experimentally at a plantation near Bistrita. For 10
years the plantation had been receiving dozens of specimens of
transgenic plants from the Bordeaux branch of France's National
Institute of Agronomic Research, without official authorisation from
the Romanian government, as part of a programme supported by the
European Commission.

In Iraq, original centre of domestication for wheat, a USAid programme
created 54 sites to grow "improved" US wheat varieties, shortly after
the coalition had issued Order 81, setting out the circumstances under
which the re-use of seeds by farmers would constitute patent
infringement. This provided Monsanto with a readymade market for its
transgenic wheat. The agribusiness giant had a setback in 2004 when
pressure from US and Canadian farmers, fearful they would lose markets
in Europe and Japan, and from a highly mobilised Italian wheat
industry, blocked its plans to sell this worldwide.

Since they were first introduced on the world market 10 years ago, GM
crops have spread to cover some 90m hectares, 1.8% of all farmed land.
For some industrial-scale plantations, such as soya, GM varieties are
on the way to complete replacement of conventional varieties. More
than 90% of soya in the US and Argentina is now transgenic.
Contamination occurs at all stages of the production cycle. The
genebank can become contaminated, via samples from fields or during
outdoor breeding near a GM plantation. In fields, cross-pollination
spreads GM varieties into neighbouring plots. After the harvest, seeds
get mixed up in transit, in the warehouse, and while the crops are
being processed into food.

In some areas contamination has become endemic. Brazilian soya,
Canadian rape and maize in parts of Spain are examples. When it
penetrates breeders' seed stocks, and even the soil, this
contamination becomes permanent.

EU regulations

In 1990 the European Union introduced regulations to govern the
marketing of GM crops. The risk involved in each initiative had to be
evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but the assessed risks did not
include the crops' wider impact on the diversity of farm produce and
on ecosystems in general. In 1999 a strong popular movement against GM
crops, combined with resistance from local and regional governments,
won an official EU moratorium on new permits for GM crops. A new
directive, 2001/18 CE, based on the precautionary principle, was
issued in 2001 but the moratorium effectively remained in place until
2004.

During this period the main exporters of GM plants, the US, Canada and
Argentina, lodged a complaint against the EU at the World Trade
Organisation. But to widespread surprise, the WTO's expert panel did
not rule against Europe in its interim report (3).

The precautionary measures in directive 2001/18 CE are limited to
certain environmental and health risks, and the procedure for
evaluating those risks is opaque and of questionable effectiveness. In
theory, it is up to the European Council (the relevant ministers from
each member state) to decide. But the council has to achieve a
qualified majority decision. As that rarely happens, the European
Commission deals with the cases. The commission bases its decisions on
reports by experts who base their decisions on risk assessment studies
produced by the GM crop companies themselves, not by independent
laboratories.

The authorisation of Monsanto's 863 variety of maize is one case.
Compulsory toxicity tests showed that rats fed 863 developed
abnormalities in their internal organs (their kidneys got smaller) and
changes in the composition of their blood. Monsanto's report said
these anomalies were of no concern: they were typical of variations
observed in rats, and probably due to chance. But when experts from
Germany's biosecurity authority looked at the study, they noted "a
long list of significant differences" between different groups of
rats, and criticised the methodology. This has not prevented 863 from
being authorised.

The European Parliament is not consulted when the EU deliberates the
authorisation of new varieties of GM crops. Nor is the Committee of
the Regions, nor the European Economic and Social Committee. So the
strongest democratic opposition to transgenic produce has come from
local and regional authorities that have declared themselves GM-free.
It is a burgeoning movement: 172 regions and more than 4,500 local
authorities have signed the Florence Charter, drawn up in February
2005, which demands "the activation of procedures to identify areas
left out from growing GMO produce... so as to ensure that the
result of such procedures are not regarded by the EU as a hindrance or
barrier to the operation of the internal market at Community level"
(4). The charter also stipulates that GM produce should only be
marketed if it is demonstrably useful to the consumer and to society
at large.

On 23 July 2003 the European Commission asked its member states to
organise the coexistence of transgenic, conventional and organic
farming. Regulation no 1829/2003, saying how GM food and feed should
be labelled, appeared in the EU's official journal. According to these
rules, a product would only have to be labelled as GM when the amount
of transgenic material in it topped a tolerable level. The idea of
tolerable levels is essential in labelling: without it, contaminations
would lead to the declassification of products containing only a trace
of the unwanted ingredient. For conventional produce, the tolerable
level of GM matter is 0.9% of each ingredient, as long as this is
"adventitious or technically unavoidable". Under the new rules, the
same level would also apply to food labelled as organic. Until then,
only entirely GM-free products could call themselves organic.

The commission backed its recommendations on coexistence with
substantial financial support for research programmes that could help
legitimise it. Yet opinion poll data has continued to show that a
large majority of European citizens are against GM food (5). A recent
report by the EU's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies is
aimed at reassuring them: "If GM presence in seeds does not exceed
0.5%, coexistence in crop production is technically feasible for the
target threshold of 0.9%. For maize, additional measures are needed
for some specific situations" (6).

Plans for co-existence

Europe is developing sophisticated systems for farming regulation.
Germany has drawn up public registers that note the precise location
of GM crops. This allows local authorities to provide accurate
information to residents and to mediate in compensation cases when
farmers claim to have suffered economically as a result of
contamination. At the European level, the Institute for the Protection
and Security of the Citizen (a subsidiary of the European Commission's
joint research centre) is working on a database listing all GM plots
and their surroundings.

But plans for "coexistence" between GM and non-GM crops are
unrealistic, not least because nearly 60% of farms in the 25-member EU
cover less than five hectares. The commission claims that it wants
ensure freedom of choice and democracy. But the systems it is setting
up can only lead to authoritarian regulations that impose crop and
seed varieties on farmers according to what the seed companies' lobby
wants, where and when it wants it. The totalitarian farming that the
French Peasants' Confederation denounced 10 years ago, when it
attacked the first patented GM crop plantations in France, is becoming
a reality.

The commission and the GM industry conjured coexistence to calm
opposition to GM crops. But contamination of seeds and crops is
inevitable and rising. Contamination affects all crops, but it
particularly threatens landraces (an early, cultivated form of a crop
species, evolved from a wild population) and to products sold and
labelled according to their specific origin. The damage is
immeasurable. For organic and biodynamic farming, contamination
ultimately means doom. It makes it impossible to use only seeds that
are wholly GM-free, removing the right to choose, today and for future
generations. The title of the European Commission's conference this
month, "Freedom of choice, coexistence of GM, conventional and organic
crops", is hypocritical.

Contamination occurs as much via the sale of contaminated seeds as by
cross-pollination between fields, so responsibility for all
contamination should be laid at the door of the procurers and
importers of GM products, who should have to bear the costs of
effective separation of the different forms of agriculture, from seed
to field to sale. Some regions, in Italy in particular, have
introduced laws whereby GM crops can only be introduced once a full
study into their impact on local farming and quality products,
including organics, has been carried out. These procedures should be
mandatory in evaluating all requests for authorisation to market GM
products in the EU.

It was unsurprising that GM products, foisted on Europe by a coalition
of private interests supported by the commission and most member-state
governments, would be resisted by European citizens. Local government
GM-free zones are one example. Another is the movement known in France
as the Faucheurs Volontaires (volunteer reapers) whose supporters take
direct action, destroying GM plantations. This has led to judicial
proceedings against several people, including the Peasants'
Confederation's former spokesman, Jose Bove. The movement (founded as
a civil disobedience movement in 2003 at the counter-globalisation
gathering in France's Massif Centrale) works on the principle that
every participant bears responsibility for his or her own actions,
without implicating any organisation. Today the Faucheurs have more
than 5,000 campaigners in France and are spreading to other European
countries.

Some of the Faucheurs have received heavy fines, backed by threats
from bailiffs. But two recent decisions suggest that things may be
changing: in December 2005 an Orleans court ruled that the
destructions were legal, because of a state of necessity clause in the
Environmental Charter adopted by the French government in February
2005, which enshrines the precautionary principle in the constitution.
In January 2006 a Versailles court followed suit. When representative
democracy no longer works and the fate of biodiversity lies with
frozen seeds in a cave near the North Pole, resistance makes the law.

Translated by Gulliver Cragg

Robert Ali Brac de la Perriere is a phytogenetics specialist and
administrator of Inf'OGM, a non-profit-making watchdog on the GM issue
in France. Frederic Prat is an agronomist, also with Inf'OGM

(1) http://www.ipgri.cgiar.org/

(2) David Quist and Ignacio Chapela, "Transgenic DNA introgressed into
traditional maize landraces in Oaxaca, Mexico", in Nature, no 414,
2001. The biotech lobby hotly contested this article, sparking a major
controversy.

(3) According to Le Monde, 2 March 2006, media reports that the WTO
had ruled against the EU were wrong: the WTO is critical of some EU's
countries' decisions and of procedural delays in the issue of permits,
but concludes that there is "no need to rule". The WTO will issue a
final report this month.

(4) http://www.gmofree-europe.org/

(5) A BVA survey in January 2006 found that 75% of French people were
opposed to GM food. For Britain in 2003, the figure stood at 56%,
according to Mori.

(6) "New case studies on the co-existence of GM and non-GM crops in
European agriculture," http://www.jrc.es/home/index.htm

Copyright GM Watch

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From: GM Watch, Apr. 1, 2006
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FAMILY FARMERS IN SWEDEN STRONGLY OPPOSE GMOS

The following letter has been sent -- on behalf of small family
farmers in Sweden -- to the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister
of the Environment in the Swedish Government, to Monsanto and Syngenta
and other chemical companies, and to Mariann.Fischer-Boel and Margot
Wallstrom in the EU, as well as to the WTO [World Trade Organization].
(English translation of Swedish original)


The Smallholders in Sweden
30 March 2006

We, members of the Smallholders in Sweden, are terrified to see how
the European Union, WTO, and other authorities and governments are
dealing with the GMO and pesticide debates. We are also seeing how
Monsanto and the other companies in their ambition to make more money
out of agriculture and consumers do not care what many EU-countries as
well as farmers and consumers feel about genetic modification/genetic
manipulation.

What frightens us most is how authorities and governments in Sweden
and some other countries, as well as the European Union and WTO, are
trying in every possible way to silence the debate and in that way
introduce GMOs against most people's wishes.

Furthermore, not only authorities, governments, the EU and the WTO but
also Monsanto and other companies are trying to keep the results of
the research on GM strictly secret.

We, members of the Union of Smallholders in Sweden, call for:

- Monsanto and other companies immediately to be instructed to give
further details about their research findings to every authority and
organization who asks for it;

- Monsanto and other producers of GMOs immediately to stop their
efforts to make farmers and consumers accept the contamination of food
and nature by GMOs;

- the European Union and the WTO immediately to stop forcing upon
their citizens something they neither need nor want;

- Monsanto and other companies to give a written guarantee that the
products of genetic modification/genetic manipulation are not
dangerous and that they take full responsibility for any future
damage. They must also guarantee that they will pay for all the direct
and indirect economic consequences on anyone who might be affected by
their GM products. They must also undertake to make good any damage to
nature where possible;

- governments, the EU and the WTO immediately to stop making decisions
in the name of all the citizens they claim to represent regarding
pesticides and genetic modification/genetic manipulation;

- governments, the EU and the WTO to explain in writing how on such
vital issues they dare to deviate from the so called precautionary
principle and how they dare to trust the so called experts who are
often dependent on commercial interests;

- an immediate ban on all genetic modification/genetic manipulation,
to be followed by a ten-year moratorium. During this period reliable
studies into whether these products are dangerous or not must be
undertaken and their results published. Furthermore, at the end of ten
years there should be a further review;

- all international and national organizations who take an interest in
these matters to be consulted, because of the difficulty in trusting
politicians, researchers and officials;

and that if the above demands are not satisfied, we insist upon an
immediate prohibition on the production, distribution and cultivation
of such products.

Union of Smallholders in Sweden

Jan-Erik Necander (responsible for GMO questions and pesticides in the
Union of Smallholders in Sweden)

Forbundet Sveriges Smabrukare
c/o Jan-Erik Necander
Hultabergsvagen 6
511 91 Skene, Sweden
Tel: +46-320-41070
Mob: +46-704-185800
E-post: garda@tele2.se

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From: Minda News (Mindanao, Philippines), Apr. 10, 2006
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MORATORIUM ON TERMINATOR SEED TECHNOLOGY STAYS

By Walter I. Balane

[Rachel's introduction: The U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity
recently upheld a ban on terminator technology. Developed with
taxpayer money by the U.S. Department of Agriculture but patented by a
seed company now owned by Monsanto, terminator technology is a genetic
technique that renders seeds sterile after one or two years. This
assures that Monsanto's seeds cannot be illegally saved and re-planted
year after year.

With terminator technology, anyone who becomes dependent upon
Monsanto's genetically-modified seed will have to come back to
Monsanto each year to purchase new seed. By this means, Monsanto will
gain a substantial measure of control over the food supply of any
nation that widely adopts the company's genetic technologies. It is
clear that Monsanto's goal is effective control of many of the staple
crops that presently feed the world. --RPR editors]

DAVAO CITY, Philippines -- An agricultural research group called the
decision of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UN-
CBD) to maintain the moratorium imposed on the Genetic Use Restriction
Technologies (GURTS) terminator technology a victory to the small
farmers.

"It landmarks the victory of small farmers," the Southeast Asia
Regional Initiative for Community Empowerment (Searice) said in a
press statement to MindaNews.

The Conference of the Parties of the CBD, in its 8th Meeting in
Curitiba, Brazil from March 20 -- 31, reaffirmed the moratorium on
GURTS as contained in an earlier decision of the same body.

CBD rejected the proposal for a "case-by-case" risk assessment clause
proposed by Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Indigenous groups, peasant and farmers movements, and civil society
groups who staged protests during the 2-week CBD meeting criticized
the proposal as a move to weaken the de facto moratorium.

Searice believed that the clause will lead to field testing and
eventual commercialization of the terminator technology.

"Even though the moratorium was reaffirmed, we must not stop
campaigning against this technology. The battle has not ended. The
companies, backed by the US government and biotech corporations that
own the patent of this technology will not stop in finding ways to
lobby and commercialize the terminator technology. Let us remain
vigilant and observant", said Vincent Malasador, Searice technical
officer.

In December 2005, during the "Go Organic Mindanao" forum in Davao
City, around 200 Mindanawons from different sectors sought a total
phaseout of synthetic agricultural inputs in the country by 2015 and a
ban on field releases of all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in
food and agriculture.

Mindanao has become a haven for high value export crops with the
spread of banana, pineapple and other mono-crop plantations.

After the government approved the release of GMOs in the country in
2003, the anti-GMO movement has "changed strategy."

Roberto Verzola, sustainable agriculture campaigner of Philippine
Greens, told participants to the forum that promoting sustainable
organic agriculture is the new strategy in campaigning against GMOs.

"The promotion of sustainable organic agriculture is a positive step
towards attaining environmental sustainability," according to a
covenant signed in the forum.

Also, the Philippine Senate has to ratify immediately the Cartagena
Protocol, a protective instrument against the damaging effects of
genetic engineering and GMOs which has been signed by 120 countries as
of 2003.

The forum, which discussed GURTS, likewise called for the
implementation of the precautionary principle in dealing with
synthetic technology.

The forum was organized to help revitalize debates on genetic
engineering and at the same time strengthen and promote organic
agriculture as an alternative.

Farmers who attended the forum considered the technology unfair,
selfish and beneficial only to the interests of hybrid seed companies.

Copyright Copyright 2006 MindaNews

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Rachel's Precaution Reporter offers news, views and practical
examples of the Precautionary Principle, or Foresight Principle, in
action. The Precautionary Principle is a modern way of making
decisions, to minimize harm. Rachel's Precaution Reporter tries to
answer such questions as, Why do we need the precautionary
principle? Who is using precaution? Who is opposing precaution?

We often include attacks on the precautionary principle because we
believe it is essential for advocates of precaution to know what
their adversaries are saying, just as abolitionists in 1830 needed
to know the arguments used by slaveholders.

Rachel's Precaution Reporter is published as often as necessary to
provide readers with up-to-date coverage of the subject.

As you come across stories that illustrate the precautionary
principle -- or the need for the precautionary principle --
please Email them to us at rpr@rachel.org.

Editors:
Peter Montague - peter@rachel.org
Tim Montague - tim@rachel.org

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:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Rachel's Precaution Reporter #33 "Foresight and Precaution, in the News and in the World" Wednesday, April 12, 2006............Printer-friendly version www.rachel.org -- To make a secure donation, click here. ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Table of Contents...

Broad Coalition Invokes Precaution for Pesticides in Alaska
"DEC has selectively ignored credible, peer-reviewed scientific
evidence that these chemicals are harmful to people's health and that
children are particularly vulnerable. They are serving the interests
of the corporation and not fulfilling their mandate to protect public
health." -- Pam Miller, Executive Director of Alaska Community Action
on Toxics.
Europe: Activism Against Genetically Modified Crops Is Growing
The Norwegian government is planning to build a cave inside a
frozen mountain in the Arctic to store seeds from all the world's
crops, to prevent them from becoming contaminated with genetically
modified organisms (GMOs). The plan "reflects compelling evidence that
conventional plants are being contaminated by transgenic ones," which
has sparked a movement of citizens taking direct action against GMO
crops.
Family Farmers in Sweden Strongly Oppose GMOs
In a letter to government officials, farmers in Sweden ask why the
precautionary principle is being ignored as genetically modified
organisms (GMOs) make their way into European crops. They suggest
strict conditions under which the use of GMOs might reasonably
proceed.
Moratorium On Terminator Seed Technology Stays
Terminator technology is a technique for sterilizing a crops's
seeds, to prevent them from being planted year after year, thus
forcing farmers to purchase new seed each year. If adopted, terminator
technology would transfer control of the world's food crops from local
farmers to corporations like Monsanto, the St. Louis chemical giant.

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From: SitNews (Ketchikan, Alaska), Mar. 31, 2006
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BROAD COALITION FORMED TO OPPOSE AERIAL PESTICIDE SPRAYING PERMIT

Ketchikan, Alaska -- Today, along with 46 concerned organizations and
individuals, the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) filed a
request for an adjudicatory hearing with the state Department of
Environmental Conservation (DEC), opposing the aerial pesticide
spraying permit granted to Klukwan, Inc.

The broad coalition of interests includes city governments, federally-
recognized tribal councils, Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian
Tribes of Alaska, Grand Camp of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and
Alaska Native Sisterhood, commercial fishing groups and businesses,
conservation organizations, the Alaska Nurses Association, and
individual health care practitioners and subsistence users. This wide
spectrum of interests has expressed strong concerns about the effects
the pesticides will have on human health, fish, and wildlife.

In Ketchikan, Susan Walsh, R.N., of the Alaska Nurses Association
said, "Many pesticides have proved toxic to human health, so the
Association has adopted a 'precautionary principle' toward them. That
means DEC needs to prove beyond any doubt that these pesticides will
not harm human health. The agency hasn't done that."

On March 1, 2006, DEC issued a permit to Klukwan, Inc. to spray
pesticides by helicopter to kill "unwanted" alder and salmonberry in
previously clearcut land owned by the Native corporation. Klukwan,
Inc. plans to spray pesticides Accord (glyphosate) and Arsenal
(imazapyr) over 1,965 acres on Long Island, near Prince of Wales
Island. Two other chemicals, Competitor (a surfactant) and In-place (a
drift inhibitor), will be mixed with the pesticides. The corporation
received a similar permit last March, but withdrew the project after
DEC put its decision on hold and granted a hearing to resolve
widespread public concerns.

Opponents say the studies DEC used only examine the effects of the
chemicals individually, not in a cocktail mix as Klukwan, Inc. will
actually spray them. Opponents assert the mixing could cause
unanticipated and unstudied effects on people, fish, and wildlife and
could harm the traditional and commercial uses of the areas on and
near Long Island.

"DEC has selectively ignored credible, peer-reviewed scientific
evidence that these chemicals are harmful to people's health and that
children are particularly vulnerable. They are serving the interests
of the corporation and not fulfilling their mandate to protect public
health," states Pamela Miller, Executive Director of Alaska Community
Action on Toxics.

According to Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, many people feel
DEC has brushed aside their concerns. The agency refused to hold a
public hearing in Ketchikan, even though 84 people signed a petition
requesting one. Over 99% of the 1,298 total comments DEC received for
this permit (918 comments) and the previous permit (380 comments)
opposed spraying.

Tom Morrison, Mayor of Hydaburg says, "People are worried. DEC has
totally neglected an overwhelmingly negative response, and hasn't
answered valid, concrete questions. Nobody has ever come up and said
'this is good for people and good for Alaska.""

Mayor Morrison said the Haida people in the area have hunted, fished,
and gathered traditional foods and medicines on Long Island for
generations. There are options for clearing the alder and
salmonberries other than spraying pesticides, such as mechanical
thinning.

Rob Sanderson, a Haida who lives in Ketchikan and President of the
Ketchikan chapter of Central Council Tlingit and Haida, said "The
Haida have strong ancestral ties to Long Island. It is a place our
families used for generations past and that we use now, yet DEC
refuses to listen to our concerns about how spraying pesticides where
we get our food will affect us. It's a hideous plan. Why can't they
put a thinning crew out there?"

Kimberly Strong, Tribal Council President of Chilkat Indian Village of
Klukwan, said "This permit goes against traditional tribal values of
mutual respect for people and their traditional use areas."

"I have grandchildren, and my concern is for children and the
elderly," says Joe Hotch, a Klukwan Village tribal judge and elder.
"They are victims of something they don't have any control over. We
wouldn't want people spraying pesticides here where we get our
traditional foods."

Another unifying concern is the precedent this permit sets to allow
aerial spraying of chemicals for forestry vegetation management
purposes near salmon streams, hunting areas, and locations used for
gathering traditional foods and other resources.

Buck Lindekugel of SEACC says "This permit opens the door for aerial
spraying on private clearcut lands all over Southeast and the rest of
Alaska. Spraying pesticides where people fish and gather food would
poison the lifestyle and livelihoods many Alaskans treasure."

Hearing Requestors:

City of Hydaburg;
Hydaburg Cooperative Association;
Chilkat Indian Village of Klukwan;
Klawock Cooperative Association;
Organized Village of Kasaan;
Craig Community Association;
Ketchikan Indian Community;
Organized Village of Saxman;
Organized Village of Kake;
Petersburg Indian Association;
Hoonah Indian Association;
Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska;
Alaska Inter-Tribal Council;
Alaska Native Brotherhood & Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp;
United Fishermen of Alaska;
Alaska Trollers Association;
Seafood Producers Cooperative;
Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association;
Alaska Wild Salmon Company;
United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters;
Alaska Community Action on Toxics;
Prince of Wales Conservation;
Tongass Conservation Society;
Naha Bay Preservation Coalition;
Tongass Cave Project;
Lower Chatham Conservation Society;
Sitka Conservation Society;
Lynn Canal Conservation;
Cook Inlet Keeper;
Kachemak Bay Conservation Society;
Alaska Youth for Environmental Action;
Alaska Nurses Association;
Michael W. Tobin, M.D.;
Myron Fribush, M.D.;
Anya Maier, M.D.;
Adam Grove, N.D.;
Birgit Lenger, N.D.;
Jeri Rosenthal, R.N.;
Andre LeCornu, R.N.;
Jenny Pursell, L.C.S.W.;
Mike Sallee;
Dave McFadden;
Robert Sanderson;
Carrie L. James;
Joe Hotch;
Reverends Val and Sal Burattin;
Southeast Alaska Conservation Council

Related Information:

DEC Long Island Trust Pesticide Permit Application for Aerial Use of
Pesticides for Forestry Vegetation management -- Decision Document

Dated March 1, 2006

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From: Le Monde diplomatique, Apr. 10, 2006
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EUROPE: NOT IN OUR FIELDS

Resistance continues to GM crops

The European Commission and the GM seeds industry invented the idea of
coexistence between GM and conventional farming to get GM crops
accepted. So why are the GM companies backing a plan to set up a seed
bank near the North Pole where it can't be contaminated?


By Robert Ali Brac de La Perriere and Frederic Prat

The Norwegian government has revived plans to build an artificial cave
inside a frozen mountain on the island of Svalbard on the edge of the
Arctic Circle. The idea is that the genetic diversity currently found
in the crops we grow can be preserved by freezing their seeds in the
cave. Two million sets of seeds representing all currently known
varieties of crop would be put inside this end-of-the-world safe.
According to Cary Fowler, head of the Global Crop Diversity Trust,
which is promoting the idea: "Should the worst happen, this will allow
the world to restart agriculture on this planet." The project's donors
include Dupont and Syngenta, two multinational agrochemicals companies
which own a significant share of the world's biotechnology patents,
and produce large numbers of genetically modified crops.

So the companies that promote GM crops are among the keenest advocates
of the need to safeguard the world's plant life. This should provoke
concern, since it reflects compelling evidence that conventional
plants are being contaminated by transgenic ones. The Consultative
Group on International Agricultural Research has also raised the
alarm. The group maintains a genebank containing more than half a
million samples of seeds and covering most major crops. In 2004 it
deemed that the probability of genebank collections becoming
contaminated was high for maize and rape, medium for rice and cotton.
Its report recommended immediate action (1)

Contamination also threatens sources of diversity within a single
species. These specific geographical locations are known as original
centres of domestication. Mexico is the original centre of
domestication and source of the diversity of maize. In 2001
researchers from Berkeley, California, revealed that local Mexican
maize varieties had been contaminated by commercial, transgenic
varieties from the United States, even though Mexico had a moratorium
on GM crops at the time (2).

Transylvania in Romania is a centre of domestication for Prunus
species (plum, peach and cherry trees). In 2005 it was discovered that
transgenic plum trees, resistant to the Sharka (plum pox) virus, were
being cultivated experimentally at a plantation near Bistrita. For 10
years the plantation had been receiving dozens of specimens of
transgenic plants from the Bordeaux branch of France's National
Institute of Agronomic Research, without official authorisation from
the Romanian government, as part of a programme supported by the
European Commission.

In Iraq, original centre of domestication for wheat, a USAid programme
created 54 sites to grow "improved" US wheat varieties, shortly after
the coalition had issued Order 81, setting out the circumstances under
which the re-use of seeds by farmers would constitute patent
infringement. This provided Monsanto with a readymade market for its
transgenic wheat. The agribusiness giant had a setback in 2004 when
pressure from US and Canadian farmers, fearful they would lose markets
in Europe and Japan, and from a highly mobilised Italian wheat
industry, blocked its plans to sell this worldwide.

Since they were first introduced on the world market 10 years ago, GM
crops have spread to cover some 90m hectares, 1.8% of all farmed land.
For some industrial-scale plantations, such as soya, GM varieties are
on the way to complete replacement of conventional varieties. More
than 90% of soya in the US and Argentina is now transgenic.
Contamination occurs at all stages of the production cycle. The
genebank can become contaminated, via samples from fields or during
outdoor breeding near a GM plantation. In fields, cross-pollination
spreads GM varieties into neighbouring plots. After the harvest, seeds
get mixed up in transit, in the warehouse, and while the crops are
being processed into food.

In some areas contamination has become endemic. Brazilian soya,
Canadian rape and maize in parts of Spain are examples. When it
penetrates breeders' seed stocks, and even the soil, this
contamination becomes permanent.

EU regulations

In 1990 the European Union introduced regulations to govern the
marketing of GM crops. The risk involved in each initiative had to be
evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but the assessed risks did not
include the crops' wider impact on the diversity of farm produce and
on ecosystems in general. In 1999 a strong popular movement against GM
crops, combined with resistance from local and regional governments,
won an official EU moratorium on new permits for GM crops. A new
directive, 2001/18 CE, based on the precautionary principle, was
issued in 2001 but the moratorium effectively remained in place until
2004.

During this period the main exporters of GM plants, the US, Canada and
Argentina, lodged a complaint against the EU at the World Trade
Organisation. But to widespread surprise, the WTO's expert panel did
not rule against Europe in its interim report (3).

The precautionary measures in directive 2001/18 CE are limited to
certain environmental and health risks, and the procedure for
evaluating those risks is opaque and of questionable effectiveness. In
theory, it is up to the European Council (the relevant ministers from
each member state) to decide. But the council has to achieve a
qualified majority decision. As that rarely happens, the European
Commission deals with the cases. The commission bases its decisions on
reports by experts who base their decisions on risk assessment studies
produced by the GM crop companies themselves, not by independent
laboratories.

The authorisation of Monsanto's 863 variety of maize is one case.
Compulsory toxicity tests showed that rats fed 863 developed
abnormalities in their internal organs (their kidneys got smaller) and
changes in the composition of their blood. Monsanto's report said
these anomalies were of no concern: they were typical of variations
observed in rats, and probably due to chance. But when experts from
Germany's biosecurity authority looked at the study, they noted "a
long list of significant differences" between different groups of
rats, and criticised the methodology. This has not prevented 863 from
being authorised.

The European Parliament is not consulted when the EU deliberates the
authorisation of new varieties of GM crops. Nor is the Committee of
the Regions, nor the European Economic and Social Committee. So the
strongest democratic opposition to transgenic produce has come from
local and regional authorities that have declared themselves GM-free.
It is a burgeoning movement: 172 regions and more than 4,500 local
authorities have signed the Florence Charter, drawn up in February
2005, which demands "the activation of procedures to identify areas
left out from growing GMO produce... so as to ensure that the
result of such procedures are not regarded by the EU as a hindrance or
barrier to the operation of the internal market at Community level"
(4). The charter also stipulates that GM produce should only be
marketed if it is demonstrably useful to the consumer and to society
at large.

On 23 July 2003 the European Commission asked its member states to
organise the coexistence of transgenic, conventional and organic
farming. Regulation no 1829/2003, saying how GM food and feed should
be labelled, appeared in the EU's official journal. According to these
rules, a product would only have to be labelled as GM when the amount
of transgenic material in it topped a tolerable level. The idea of
tolerable levels is essential in labelling: without it, contaminations
would lead to the declassification of products containing only a trace
of the unwanted ingredient. For conventional produce, the tolerable
level of GM matter is 0.9% of each ingredient, as long as this is
"adventitious or technically unavoidable". Under the new rules, the
same level would also apply to food labelled as organic. Until then,
only entirely GM-free products could call themselves organic.

The commission backed its recommendations on coexistence with
substantial financial support for research programmes that could help
legitimise it. Yet opinion poll data has continued to show that a
large majority of European citizens are against GM food (5). A recent
report by the EU's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies is
aimed at reassuring them: "If GM presence in seeds does not exceed
0.5%, coexistence in crop production is technically feasible for the
target threshold of 0.9%. For maize, additional measures are needed
for some specific situations" (6).

Plans for co-existence

Europe is developing sophisticated systems for farming regulation.
Germany has drawn up public registers that note the precise location
of GM crops. This allows local authorities to provide accurate
information to residents and to mediate in compensation cases when
farmers claim to have suffered economically as a result of
contamination. At the European level, the Institute for the Protection
and Security of the Citizen (a subsidiary of the European Commission's
joint research centre) is working on a database listing all GM plots
and their surroundings.

But plans for "coexistence" between GM and non-GM crops are
unrealistic, not least because nearly 60% of farms in the 25-member EU
cover less than five hectares. The commission claims that it wants
ensure freedom of choice and democracy. But the systems it is setting
up can only lead to authoritarian regulations that impose crop and
seed varieties on farmers according to what the seed companies' lobby
wants, where and when it wants it. The totalitarian farming that the
French Peasants' Confederation denounced 10 years ago, when it
attacked the first patented GM crop plantations in France, is becoming
a reality.

The commission and the GM industry conjured coexistence to calm
opposition to GM crops. But contamination of seeds and crops is
inevitable and rising. Contamination affects all crops, but it
particularly threatens landraces (an early, cultivated form of a crop
species, evolved from a wild population) and to products sold and
labelled according to their specific origin. The damage is
immeasurable. For organic and biodynamic farming, contamination
ultimately means doom. It makes it impossible to use only seeds that
are wholly GM-free, removing the right to choose, today and for future
generations. The title of the European Commission's conference this
month, "Freedom of choice, coexistence of GM, conventional and organic
crops", is hypocritical.

Contamination occurs as much via the sale of contaminated seeds as by
cross-pollination between fields, so responsibility for all
contamination should be laid at the door of the procurers and
importers of GM products, who should have to bear the costs of
effective separation of the different forms of agriculture, from seed
to field to sale. Some regions, in Italy in particular, have
introduced laws whereby GM crops can only be introduced once a full
study into their impact on local farming and quality products,
including organics, has been carried out. These procedures should be
mandatory in evaluating all requests for authorisation to market GM
products in the EU.

It was unsurprising that GM products, foisted on Europe by a coalition
of private interests supported by the commission and most member-state
governments, would be resisted by European citizens. Local government
GM-free zones are one example. Another is the movement known in France
as the Faucheurs Volontaires (volunteer reapers) whose supporters take
direct action, destroying GM plantations. This has led to judicial
proceedings against several people, including the Peasants'
Confederation's former spokesman, Jose Bove. The movement (founded as
a civil disobedience movement in 2003 at the counter-globalisation
gathering in France's Massif Centrale) works on the principle that
every participant bears responsibility for his or her own actions,
without implicating any organisation. Today the Faucheurs have more
than 5,000 campaigners in France and are spreading to other European
countries.

Some of the Faucheurs have received heavy fines, backed by threats
from bailiffs. But two recent decisions suggest that things may be
changing: in December 2005 an Orleans court ruled that the
destructions were legal, because of a state of necessity clause in the
Environmental Charter adopted by the French government in February
2005, which enshrines the precautionary principle in the constitution.
In January 2006 a Versailles court followed suit. When representative
democracy no longer works and the fate of biodiversity lies with
frozen seeds in a cave near the North Pole, resistance makes the law.

Translated by Gulliver Cragg

Robert Ali Brac de la Perriere is a phytogenetics specialist and
administrator of Inf'OGM, a non-profit-making watchdog on the GM issue
in France. Frederic Prat is an agronomist, also with Inf'OGM

(1) http://www.ipgri.cgiar.org/

(2) David Quist and Ignacio Chapela, "Transgenic DNA introgressed into
traditional maize landraces in Oaxaca, Mexico", in Nature, no 414,
2001. The biotech lobby hotly contested this article, sparking a major
controversy.

(3) According to Le Monde, 2 March 2006, media reports that the WTO
had ruled against the EU were wrong: the WTO is critical of some EU's
countries' decisions and of procedural delays in the issue of permits,
but concludes that there is "no need to rule". The WTO will issue a
final report this month.

(4) http://www.gmofree-europe.org/

(5) A BVA survey in January 2006 found that 75% of French people were
opposed to GM food. For Britain in 2003, the figure stood at 56%,
according to Mori.

(6) "New case studies on the co-existence of GM and non-GM crops in
European agriculture," http://www.jrc.es/home/index.htm

Copyright GM Watch

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From: GM Watch, Apr. 1, 2006
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FAMILY FARMERS IN SWEDEN STRONGLY OPPOSE GMOS

The following letter has been sent -- on behalf of small family
farmers in Sweden -- to the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister
of the Environment in the Swedish Government, to Monsanto and Syngenta
and other chemical companies, and to Mariann.Fischer-Boel and Margot
Wallstrom in the EU, as well as to the WTO [World Trade Organization].
(English translation of Swedish original)


The Smallholders in Sweden
30 March 2006

We, members of the Smallholders in Sweden, are terrified to see how
the European Union, WTO, and other authorities and governments are
dealing with the GMO and pesticide debates. We are also seeing how
Monsanto and the other companies in their ambition to make more money
out of agriculture and consumers do not care what many EU-countries as
well as farmers and consumers feel about genetic modification/genetic
manipulation.

What frightens us most is how authorities and governments in Sweden
and some other countries, as well as the European Union and WTO, are
trying in every possible way to silence the debate and in that way
introduce GMOs against most people's wishes.

Furthermore, not only authorities, governments, the EU and the WTO but
also Monsanto and other companies are trying to keep the results of
the research on GM strictly secret.

We, members of the Union of Smallholders in Sweden, call for:

- Monsanto and other companies immediately to be instructed to give
further details about their research findings to every authority and
organization who asks for it;

- Monsanto and other producers of GMOs immediately to stop their
efforts to make farmers and consumers accept the contamination of food
and nature by GMOs;

- the European Union and the WTO immediately to stop forcing upon
their citizens something they neither need nor want;

- Monsanto and other companies to give a written guarantee that the
products of genetic modification/genetic manipulation are not
dangerous and that they take full responsibility for any future
damage. They must also guarantee that they will pay for all the direct
and indirect economic consequences on anyone who might be affected by
their GM products. They must also undertake to make good any damage to
nature where possible;

- governments, the EU and the WTO immediately to stop making decisions
in the name of all the citizens they claim to represent regarding
pesticides and genetic modification/genetic manipulation;

- governments, the EU and the WTO to explain in writing how on such
vital issues they dare to deviate from the so called precautionary
principle and how they dare to trust the so called experts who are
often dependent on commercial interests;

- an immediate ban on all genetic modification/genetic manipulation,
to be followed by a ten-year moratorium. During this period reliable
studies into whether these products are dangerous or not must be
undertaken and their results published. Furthermore, at the end of ten
years there should be a further review;

- all international and national organizations who take an interest in
these matters to be consulted, because of the difficulty in trusting
politicians, researchers and officials;

and that if the above demands are not satisfied, we insist upon an
immediate prohibition on the production, distribution and cultivation
of such products.

Union of Smallholders in Sweden

Jan-Erik Necander (responsible for GMO questions and pesticides in the
Union of Smallholders in Sweden)

Forbundet Sveriges Smabrukare
c/o Jan-Erik Necander
Hultabergsvagen 6
511 91 Skene, Sweden
Tel: +46-320-41070
Mob: +46-704-185800
E-post: garda@tele2.se

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From: Minda News (Mindanao, Philippines), Apr. 10, 2006
[Printer-friendly version]

MORATORIUM ON TERMINATOR SEED TECHNOLOGY STAYS

By Walter I. Balane

[Rachel's introduction: The U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity
recently upheld a ban on terminator technology. Developed with
taxpayer money by the U.S. Department of Agriculture but patented by a
seed company now owned by Monsanto, terminator technology is a genetic
technique that renders seeds sterile after one or two years. This
assures that Monsanto's seeds cannot be illegally saved and re-planted
year after year.

With terminator technology, anyone who becomes dependent upon
Monsanto's genetically-modified seed will have to come back to
Monsanto each year to purchase new seed. By this means, Monsanto will
gain a substantial measure of control over the food supply of any
nation that widely adopts the company's genetic technologies. It is
clear that Monsanto's goal is effective control of many of the staple
crops that presently feed the world. --RPR editors]

DAVAO CITY, Philippines -- An agricultural research group called the
decision of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UN-
CBD) to maintain the moratorium imposed on the Genetic Use Restriction
Technologies (GURTS) terminator technology a victory to the small
farmers.

"It landmarks the victory of small farmers," the Southeast Asia
Regional Initiative for Community Empowerment (Searice) said in a
press statement to MindaNews.

The Conference of the Parties of the CBD, in its 8th Meeting in
Curitiba, Brazil from March 20 -- 31, reaffirmed the moratorium on
GURTS as contained in an earlier decision of the same body.

CBD rejected the proposal for a "case-by-case" risk assessment clause
proposed by Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Indigenous groups, peasant and farmers movements, and civil society
groups who staged protests during the 2-week CBD meeting criticized
the proposal as a move to weaken the de facto moratorium.

Searice believed that the clause will lead to field testing and
eventual commercialization of the terminator technology.

"Even though the moratorium was reaffirmed, we must not stop
campaigning against this technology. The battle has not ended. The
companies, backed by the US government and biotech corporations that
own the patent of this technology will not stop in finding ways to
lobby and commercialize the terminator technology. Let us remain
vigilant and observant", said Vincent Malasador, Searice technical
officer.

In December 2005, during the "Go Organic Mindanao" forum in Davao
City, around 200 Mindanawons from different sectors sought a total
phaseout of synthetic agricultural inputs in the country by 2015 and a
ban on field releases of all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in
food and agriculture.

Mindanao has become a haven for high value export crops with the
spread of banana, pineapple and other mono-crop plantations.

After the government approved the release of GMOs in the country in
2003, the anti-GMO movement has "changed strategy."

Roberto Verzola, sustainable agriculture campaigner of Philippine
Greens, told participants to the forum that promoting sustainable
organic agriculture is the new strategy in campaigning against GMOs.

"The promotion of sustainable organic agriculture is a positive step
towards attaining environmental sustainability," according to a
covenant signed in the forum.

Also, the Philippine Senate has to ratify immediately the Cartagena
Protocol, a protective instrument against the damaging effects of
genetic engineering and GMOs which has been signed by 120 countries as
of 2003.

The forum, which discussed GURTS, likewise called for the
implementation of the precautionary principle in dealing with
synthetic technology.

The forum was organized to help revitalize debates on genetic
engineering and at the same time strengthen and promote organic
agriculture as an alternative.

Farmers who attended the forum considered the technology unfair,
selfish and beneficial only to the interests of hybrid seed companies.

Copyright Copyright 2006 MindaNews

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Rachel's Precaution Reporter offers news, views and practical
examples of the Precautionary Principle, or Foresight Principle, in
action. The Precautionary Principle is a modern way of making
decisions, to minimize harm. Rachel's Precaution Reporter tries to
answer such questions as, Why do we need the precautionary
principle? Who is using precaution? Who is opposing precaution?

We often include attacks on the precautionary principle because we
believe it is essential for advocates of precaution to know what
their adversaries are saying, just as abolitionists in 1830 needed
to know the arguments used by slaveholders.

Rachel's Precaution Reporter is published as often as necessary to
provide readers with up-to-date coverage of the subject.

As you come across stories that illustrate the precautionary
principle -- or the need for the precautionary principle --
please Email them to us at rpr@rachel.org.

Editors:
Peter Montague - peter@rachel.org
Tim Montague - tim@rachel.org

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