Category Archives: CBAN

Bill C-474: Chronological Order

Liberals and Conservatives Vote Down Bill C-474

Inaction on genetic engineering will cost farmers – groups vow to protect alfalfa in ongoing controversy

Thursday, February 10, 2011. Ottawa – Last night, a majority of Liberal MPs joined with Conservatives to vote down an important Private Members Bill on genetic engineering (GE). Bill C-474 would have required that “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.” The Bill was defeated 176 to 97.

“Farmers had everything to gain if the Bill was passed. Now we have everything to lose while biotech companies once again have everything to gain,” said Colleen Ross, Vice President of the National Farmers Union. “Our government has been supporting genetic engineering at any cost. But we refuse to accept their willingness to sacrifice some farmers and some crops for the sake of the biotech industry,” said Ross. “Our democracy has to work for farmers and consumers and not just for multinational biotech corporations.”

“The excuses for not supporting the Bill were never truly valid,” said Maureen Bostock, speaking for the Ecological Farmers of Ontario, “This is a clear case of politicians siding with the powerful biotech industry.”

“The Bill was voted down but a real debate about the impacts and future of genetic engineering has now started,” said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, “Canadians defied the tremendous power of the industry lobby by pushing the Bill further than any other on this issue.”

“Its crazy that the economic risks to farmers are not considered before GE crops are put on the market,” said Genevieve Grossenbacher a young Quebec farmer speaking for the Canadian Organic Growers. “Its farmers who pay the costs of GE contamination, not the biotech companies.”

An immediate concern shared by both conventional and organic farmers is the threat of crop contamination by GE alfalfa. On January 27th, the US Department of Agriculture approved plantings despite widespread opposition from farmers and consumers, and after protracted legal cases. Canada is only one step away from allowing GE alfalfa to be planted here. “It’s urgent that our Members of Parliament take action to stop GE alfalfa from being imported or being approved and grown in Canada. This is the only way to protect our conventional and organic alfalfa from loss of markets and loss of livelihoods,” said Cathy Holtslander speaking for the Organic Agriculture Protection Fund of the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate. Because alfalfa is a perennial crop pollinated by bees, GE contamination is inevitable. In addition to export markets for processed alfalfa products, alfalfa is used as pasture and high-protein feed for animals like dairy cows, beef cattle, lambs, and pigs and is also used to build up nutrients in the soil, making it particularly important for organic farming.

“Genetic engineering has become more controversial over the years, not less,” said Eric Darier, Director of Greenpeace Quebec, speaking on behalf of the Quebec Network Against GMOs, a coalition of over 20 groups. “The problems with genetic engineering are not going away and the federal government is still refusing to address the issues head on.”

“Building a strong future for food and farming in Canada will take political leadership. Elected representatives must listen to what farmers and consumers are saying,” said Tony Beck of the Society for a GE Free BC, a coalition of local grassroots groups, “Canadians are becoming more involved in farming issues and want to support a sustainable food system.”

Private Members Bill C-474 was introduced by NDP Agriculture Critic and MP for BC Southern Interior, Alex Atamanenko.

For more information:
Colleen Ross, National Farmers Union, Cell: 613 213 1522;
Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, 613 241 2267 ext 25;
Cathy Holtslander, Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, 306 384 2141;
Maureen Bostock, Ecological Farmers of Ontario, 613 259 5757;
Eric Darier, Quebec Network Against GMOs, Cell: 514 605-6497 (English or French);
Tony Beck, Society for a GE Free BC, Cell: 604 671 2106.

This post is long but has chronological information on Alex Atamanenko’s Bill C-474. It is about to “heat up” again, so for those that need a little history, read on.

It is imperative that this Bill be passed. It asks to take a closer look and do more testing on the introduction of GM crops/seeds/plants. It is a Bill that protects all farmers: organic, conventional and GM.

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) petition: please sign!

– – – –

September 30, 2010: Important Updates on Bill C-474

Please see below an article from this week’s “The Hill Times”
newspaper that reports on Parliamentary happenings – it exposes the
biotech industry’s extensive lobbying against Bill C-474. Please also
see below some important updates. Join us to make this concrete change
happen! http://www.cban.ca/474

INDUSTRY IS WORRIED: The Bill is having an international impact – the
global biotech industry is concerned that we might be able to make
this concrete change happen in Canada. Industry associations around
the world understand that this simple, reasonable Bill has the power
to stop them from commercializing GM alfalfa and GM wheat as well as
other GMOs. CBAN attended a recent industry conference where CropLife
International and the Biotechnology Industry Organization both warned
industry audiences that they need to fight the inclusion of social and
economic considerations in assessments of GMOs. Agribusiness giant
Syngenta has also been speaking directly against the Bill. The issue
of GE salmon and the GE “Enviropig” have heightened this conflict.

Continue reading

Coalition demands FDA deny approval of controversial Genetically Engineered Salmon

FDA Considers Approval of GE Salmon–the First GE Food Animal–Yet
Fails to Inform the Public of Environmental and Economic Risks

August 27, 2010
JOINT PRESS STATEMENT, from:

CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY

FOOD AND WATER WATCH

SALMONAID- NORTHWEST ATLANTIC MARINE ALLIANCE

ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION

FRIENDS OF THE EARTH

THE LIVING OCEANS SOCIETY

SMALL BOAT COMMERCIAL SALMON FISHERMEN?S ASSOCIATION

THE GEORGIA STRAIT ALLIANCE

CALIFORNIANS FOR GE-FREE AGRICULTURE

THE ORGANIC & NON-GMO REPORT

PLANETARY HEALTH, INC.

SIERRA CLUB

SAY NO TO GMOS!

CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH

CANADIAN BIOTECHNOLOGY ACTION NETWORK

INSTITUTE FOR FISHERIES RESOURCES

AMERICAN ANTI-VIVISECTION SOCIETY

PACIFIC COAST FEDERATION OF FISHERMEN’S ASSOCIATION MANGROVE ACTION PROJECT

FOOD FIRST / INSTITUTE FOR FOOD AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY

EDEN FOODS, INC.

THE NON-GMO PROJECT

NORTHWEST RESISTANCE AGAINST GENETIC ENGINEERING

PCC NATURAL MARKETS

AMBERWAVES

GLOUSTER FISHERMEN?S WIVES ASSOCIATION

FRESH THE MOVIE

WASHINGTON BIOTECHNOLOGY ACTION COUNCIL

OREGON PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Washington, DC August 27, 2010

A coalition of 31 consumer, animal
welfare and environmental groups, along with commercial and
recreational fisheries associations and food retailers submitted a
joint statement criticizing an announcement this week by the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) that it will potentially approve the
long-shelved AquAdvantage transgenic salmon as the first genetically
engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption.

Continue reading

Developer of genetically engineered salmon eyes Canadian regulators

Sarah Schmidt August 27, 2010

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Developer+genetically+engineered+salmon+eyes+Canadian+regulators/3446972/story.html#ixzz0xl0EAw6L

OTTAWA: The developer of genetically engineered salmon for human
consumption is now setting its sights on Health Canada, after U.S.
regulators on Wednesday announced their review of AquaBounty
Technologies Inc.’s historic application for the American market is
nearly complete.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration published details of the last
stages of its review for AquAdvantage Salmon, made from eggs produced
in a hatchery in Prince Edward Island. The genetically engineered fish
can grow at twice the normal rate, and the company, headquartered in
Massachusetts with Canadian operations in P.E.I. and Newfoundland and
Labrador, has been trying for a decade to get approval to become the
first genetically engineered animal that people would eat.

After the FDA’s special veterinary medicine committee convenes next
month to consider issues of animal health, food safety, environmental
concerns, and data validating the claim that AquAdvantage Salmon grow
faster than their conventionally bred counterparts, the Center for
Food Safety and Applied Nutrition will lead a public hearing to
consider legal issues around labelling, should the AquAdvantage Salmon
be approved in the next few months.

“We’re very encouraged,” AquaBounty president and chief executive
officer Ronald Stotish said in an interview Wednesday of the FDA review.
“This is the first food animal, we hope the world’s first FDA-approved
genetically modified food animal.”

Continue reading

US Unsure if Cloned Meat Has Been Sold in North America

Lucy Sharratt: Please note there have already been 2 food contamination cases in Canada with experimental GM pigs : In 2002 experimental Enviropig piglets at the University of Guelph were accidentally sent to a
rendering plant and turned into animal feed instead of being destroyed
as biological waste. The GM pigs were not approved for animal feed but
contaminated 675 tonnes of poultry feed that was sold to egg farmers,
turkey farmers and broiler chicken producers. In 2004, experimental
genetically engineered pigs from the Quebec firm TGN Biotech were
accidentally turned into chicken feed instead of being incinerated.
The pigs were engineered to produce a pharmaceutical compound, (the
company no longer exists). You can write to the Minister of Health
instantly from http://www.cban.ca/enviropigaction

U.S. unsure if cloned meat has been sold in North America

By Sarah Schmidt, Postmedia News August 10, 2010
http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/unsure+cloned+meat+been+sold+North+America/3382347/story.html

OTTAWA: The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on Tuesday said he doesn’t
know whether cloned cows or their offspring have made it into the
North American food supply.

But Tom Vilsack, in Ottawa to talk trade with food exporters and
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, emphasized that if they have, the
animals are safe to eat.

“I can’t say today that I can answer your question in an affirmative
or negative way. I don’t know. What I do know is that we know all the
research, all of the review of this is suggested that this is safe,”
Vilsack told reporters, pointing to an assessment of the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration.

Continue reading

GMO Plants establish in the wild

By Richard BlackEnvironment correspondent, BBC News
6 August 2010

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-10859264

April: David Suzuki has been speaking out about this issue for years. Eventually “volunteer” GM plants will become part of the wild environment. Because the majority of them are Roundup Ready, meaning they can be sprayed with pesticides and survive, weed management will carry a new set of problems. Weed control on roadsides will cost more. It’s simple. And who will bear this cost? The taxpayer, likely. Not Monsanto. Dr. Suzuki has stated for years, that should Terminator plants spread into our forests and begin to destroy natural plants, who is responsible (to pay) for the damage? How can you even begin to control and eradicate the damage? Here in BC, we have been privy to the Japanese pine beetle, a small insect that bores into pine trees and kills them. We have not been able to manage the forests and keep up with the problem, so we now have millions of acres of dead forests and a logging industry that took the hit. We need to stop and think about the ramifications of GM plants and their technology in the wild environment. It has been proven, time and time again, that GM genes do indeed transfer to non-GM species. These stray GM plants also travel for miles, and move into Organic and non-GM fields, quietly altering the DNA of every crop. While it may appear fine and dandy for farmers to make higher yields, somewhere, somehow, there will be a price to pay. Look beyond the obvious: this is what we are fighting for. We see the future, and it’s not pretty…

Researchers in the US have found new evidence that genetically
modified crop plants can survive and thrive in the wild, possibly for
decades.

A University of Arkansas team surveyed countryside in North Dakota for
canola. Transgenes were present in 80% of the wild canola plants they
found.

They suggest GM traits may help the plants survive weedkillers in the
wild.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Ecological
Society of America in Pittsburgh.

Over time, the build-up of different types of herbicide resistance in
feral canola and closely related weeds could make it more difficult to
manage these plants.

Continue reading

GMO Workshop Thursday July 22 2010

This is a GMO Workshop for active Activists! Here’s an opportunity to learn, take action and meet like-minded people. Join us this Thursday!

No GMO Alfalfa in the USA! Courts rule!

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a case brought by
Monsanto to stop the current injunction on planting GM alfalfa in the
U.S., has upheld the injunction! The National Farmers Union brought
forward Canada’s experience with GM canola to support the case. Now the US Department of Agriculture will be the deciding party on GM alfalfa – they
are preparing their final Environmental Impact Statement (as ordered by
the courts). Canadian groups also submitted comments to the USDA as part
of this process.

You can write to your MP today to support alfalfa farmers and request that
your MP supports Bill C-474 http://www.cban.ca/474action

July 21

SUPREME COURT ruling in “Monsanto Case” is victory for Center for Food Safety, Farmers

High Court Delivers Ruling That Leaves Ban on Planting of Roundup Ready Alfalfa in Place in First-Ever Case on a Genetically-engineered Crop

Washington, DC June 21, 2010 – The Center for Food Safety today celebratedthe United States Supreme Court’s decision in Monsanto v. Geerston Farms, the first genetically modified crop case ever brought before the Supreme Court.  Although the High Court decision reverses parts of the lower courts’ rulings, the judgment holds that a vacatur bars the planting of
Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Alfalfa until and unless future deregulation
occurs.  It is a victory for the Center for Food Safety and the Farmers
and Consumers it represents.

Continue reading