Tag Archives: Human rights

Mexican GMO Corn’s First Harvest This Year

Mexico’s first crop of genetically modified maize – due to be harvested later this month – is stoking anxiety about the risks of biotechnology. Chinese environmentalists, concerned about the potential effects of gene-spliced rice in the world’s rice bowl, now look to Mexico as a test-case of how to counter the multinational seed companies’ push to raise so-called Frankenfoods that were created in their laboratories. In Argentina and Brazil, such GMO corn already is sown freely. At China Dialogue, an environmental website, pharmers and their mutant kernels are under scrutiny. Excerpts from ‘Corn Conundrums’:

The decision to allow genetically engineered corn to be sown inside Mexico, the birthplace of this cereal crop, is anathema for many Mexicans. In the central highlands, where wild grass called teosinte was first cross-bred into the staff of life some 9,000 years ago, corn is viewed not only as a staple food but as a sacrament of Mesoamerican civilization. Some indigenous tribes in Mexico still worship Centeotl, the Aztec corn god who protects harvests, and passions run high if any threat to corn is perceived.

Yet laboratory-altered corn, patented by the seed giants Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, is already ripening on 13 hectares in Sinaloa and Sonora states, and the first harvest is expected later this month. An analysis is due in July. Farm groups and environmentalists filed an appeal with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in February, arguing that Mexican officials have been unwilling or unable to prevent the illegal spread of genetically modified crops in their country and that it is too soon to permit biotech plantations before the consequences of genetic contamination – possibly irreversible – are fully understood. They are concerned that Mexican seed dealers have smuggled in thousands of sacks of genetically modified corn with impunity. The commission can refer cases to the Inter-American Human Rights Court if a government does not comply with its recommendations.

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Genetically Modified Mosquito’s: What’s Next?

From: The Huffington Post, June 20, 2010

Most of us probably don’t think about insects when we hear about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Yet many scientists believe that genetically modified (GM) insects hold great promise by providing a powerful tool to prevent unnecessary deaths. Approximately half the world’s population is at risk from insect-borne diseases such as malaria, sleeping sickness and dengue fever. Millions of people are killed by insect-borne diseases and hundreds of millions more are incapacitated every year. At the same time, damage and disease transmission to crops and livestock by insects has a significant global socio-economic impact. Increasing resistance to pesticides, GM crops and climate chaos are making these insect-pests a growing problem. In laboratories around the world, scientists are using genetic engineering technologies to modify insects at DNA level to address important concerns including:

1. Socio-economic challenges such as increasing crop yield and production;
2. Public health challenges such as human and animal well being.

It is also possible that GM insects released to control the spread of disease could actually have the unintended consequence of enabling an insect to more effectively spread disease or even carry a human disease it was never before able to transmit.

There are concerns about how this GM technology fits in with other approaches to manage insect-borne diseases and the long term consequences of releasing GM insects into the wild. What are the benefits, risks and scientific uncertainties associated with such transgenic insects?

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US Supreme Court case one of history’s most important for GMO’s

April: while this case may appear to be about GE alfalfa contaminating organic crops, it has a secondary, and in my opinion, worse outcome.

Monsanto is petitioning for an injunction to stop any future law suit against them for anything. This is the worst part, as no one could ever take them to court again for anything: this is very broad: crop damage, human diseases, environmental failures and chemical contamination.

What does this mean? Now we can only sit back and watch, as Monsanto can now do whatever they want, to whomever they please. And we can’t do a thing about it, legally.

Here is a lengthy post filled with information about the beginnings of this historic case. Remember fellow Canadians, this could be us. Bees don’t need passports. We wait on the edge of our seats to hear the outcome….

Supreme Court to take first look at Genetically Modified Crops in Case
with NEPA Implications

The New York Times, USA by Gabriel Nelson    22.04.2010

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Tuesday
involving a federal judge?s temporary ban on a breed of pesticide-
resistant alfalfa, setting the stage for the court’s first-ever ruling
on genetically modified crops.

Legal experts do not expect a blockbuster decision on the merits of
regulating modified plants such as Monsanto Co.’s Roundup Ready
alfalfa, but the case, Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms, has drawn
widespread interest because the justices could issue a ruling that
would raise or lower the threshold for challenges under the National
Environmental Policy Act.

Environmental groups, which frequently use the statute to bring
lawsuits against government agencies and industry groups, ‘don’t
expect anything good’ to come from the Supreme Court’s eventual
decision, said David Bookbinder, chief climate counsel at the Sierra
Club. It seems that some of the justices are ‘on a kick to gut NEPA
remedies,’ he said earlier this year during a panel discussion on
environmental law at Georgetown University.

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