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Date: Sat, 26 Dec 1998 11:50:04 -0500
From: Richard Wolfson <email@example.com>
The following 2 articles were reposted from
genetics <firstname.lastname@example.org> Dec 25, 1998-- GE - christmas GE news
SCIENCE COULD SPELL END OF THE MONARCH:
GENETICALLY ALTERED CROPS COULD ELIMINATE THEIR MAIN FOOD SOURCE
National Post (Canada)
Genetically engineered crops, which are revolutionizing agriculture in the
Midwest, could, according to this story, pose serious problems for monarch
Dr. Chip Taylor, head of the University of Kansas entomology department and
director of Monarch Watch, a group dedicated to the conservation of the
celebrated butterflies, was cited as saying the new corn and soybean crops
have the potential to ``raise hell with monarchs.''
Dr. Len Wassenaar, an Environment Canada scientist in Saskatchewan, was
citing as agreeing the new transgenic crops, which are being increasingly
used from Nebraska to Pennsylvania, are something to be very concerned
The story says that the scientists believe the new ``Round-up ready''
varieties of corn and soybeans, which have been engineered to withstand
applications of the herbicide Round-up, could drastically reduce the amount
of milkweed in farmers' fields. Milkweed, which is killed by Round-up, is
the host plant that monarch caterpillars live on.
Dr. Wassenaar was quoted as saying, ``They may eventually allow farmers to
completely eliminate milkweed from agricultural settings,'' adding that he
and his colleagues have found about half the monarchs that winter in Mexico
originate in the Midwest of the United States, where milkweed has long
proliferated in corn and agricultural fields.
Dr. Taylor was cited as saying that equally worrying is a new variety of
corn that has been genetically engineered to produce a toxin that is deadly
to the larvae of butterflies and moths, adding, ``If the toxin is in the
pollen the corn sheds, it would be a very significant biotoxin for anything
that's within the shadow of that corn.''
4) AGRICULTURE-INDIA: WARNING AGAINST TRANSGENIC SEEDS
December 23, 1998
RISHIKESH - Inter Press Service via NewsEdge Corporation : Farm experts and
activists from across theworld who met in this north Indian town in the
Himalayan foothills have sought checks on new crop technologies which they
say threaten food security in poor nations.
The meeting, held against a backdrop of protests in India against field
trials of genetically modified seeds by the American agribusiness company
Monsanto, noted that such technology is "highly hazardous" and must be
introduced with the "fullest caution."
About 40 people attended the Biodiversity Rights of Rural Communities and
Implications of GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) meet which was
jointly organized by the Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation of Switzerland
and the Indian non-governmental organization DISHA.
According to Edward Hammond of the Canada-based Rural Advancement
Foundation International (RAFI), the area sown with transgenic species has
risen dramatically from 1.7 million to 27.8 million hectares in the past
Going by seed industry forecasts, by the turn of the century, transgenic
seeds of major crops like rice and wheat could cover 177 million hectares
in South Asia, China, Brazil and large parts of Europe, he said.
The commercial sales of such seeds have grown from eight million dollars in
1995 to $1.35 billion this year and are likely to surge up to three billion
dollars by the year 2010.
Although transgenic seeds now account for only six percent of the world's
commercial seed market, RAFI estimates that this share will shoot up to 25
percent by the year 2005 and two-thirds by the year 2010.
Speakers alleged that while some transnational seed companies claim to be
developing pest-resistant crops, the real aim of transgenic seed trials is
to make developing world farmers dependent on the new seeds. The bulk of
farmers in countries like India still use seed saved from every harvest.
They cited examples of farmers who had suffered losses which, they claimed,
were caused by using transgenic crops.
A joint statement issued by the meet demanded a moratorium on commercial
release of such seeds till it has been ensured that "this helps, and does
not disturb, genuine food security of people and sustainable farming
"We note with concern that a lot of work relating to GMOs has been shrouded
in secrecy and misinformation. We call for complete transparency on the
part of governments as well as corporations on all issues concerning GMOs,
" it added.
Vivek Cariappa of the Karnataka State Farmers' Association which is
spearheading the agitation against the Monsanto trials in India, described
how association activists burnt the Monsanto crops on the company's
experimental farms in southern India. Trolle Arnaud told of similar
protests in France.
The Terminator seed technology came in for particular criticism with RAFI's
Hammond pointing out that this would be commercialized by the year 2005.
"We should clearly say 'no' to the Terminator technology and all related
technologies having a similar aim," he said. Terminator genes embedded in
such seeds make them go sterile after one harvest.
Kunwar Prasun from India and Lianchamroon Witcon from Thailand said that
such know-how undermines traditional farmers' rights. "Seeds belong to
farmers and not to corporations. Farmers have always protected the wide
biodiversity on their fields," they asserted.
Vijay Jardhari, a well known farmer activist from a Himalayan foothill
village not far from here, stressed the vital role tillers play in
[Copyright 1998, Inter Press Service]
Richard Wolfson, PhD
Consumer Right to Know Campaign,
for Mandatory Labelling and Long-term
Testing of all Genetically Engineered Foods,
500 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, ON Canada K1N 6N2
tel. 613-565-8517 fax. 613-565-1596
Our website, http://www.natural-law.ca/genetic/geindex.html
contains more information on genetic engineering as well as
previous genetic engineering news items
Subscription fee to genetic engineering news is $35 for 12 months
See website for details.
--Dan in Sunny Puerto Rico--
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