French environmentalists want longer gene crop ban March 16, 1999
PARIS, Reuters [WS] via NewsEdge Corporation : French environmental groups,
spurred on by talk of a possible freeze on gene-crops in Britain, on Monday
called for a longer, broader moratorium in France so wider tests could be
carried out. ``This is a sign of encouragement which should push the French
government to reconsider the risks from gene modified foods,'' said
campaigner Etienne Vernet at Ecoropa. ``We want a moratorium on all types
of GM food for three to five years so we can do more tests. If Britain did
impose a three year freeze, France should do the same thing.''
Greenpeace France Director Bruno Rebelle also backed a freeze on GM crops
until at least 2002 and more rigorous tests. France imposed a two-year
freeze on genetically engineered oilseed varieties last July after
concerns the modifications could be transmitted to other crops.
Here are the Conclusions and Recommendations of the Scientific Committee on
Animal Health and Animal Welfare on the Animal Welfare Aspects of the Use
of Bovine Somatotrophin (Adopted 10 March 1999).
Full text is on website
BST is used to increase milk yield, often in already high-producing cows.
BST administration causes substantially and very significantly poorer
welfare because of increased foot disorders, mastitis, reproductive
disorders and other production related diseases. These are problems which
would not occur if BST were not used and often results in unnecessary pain,
suffering and distress.
If milk yields were achieved by other means which resulted in the health
disorders and other welfare problems described above, these means would not
be acceptable. The injection of BST and its repetition every 14 days also
causes localised swellings which are likely to result in discomfort and
hence some poor welfare.
BST use causes a substantial increase in levels of foot problems and
mastitis and leads to injection site reactions in dairy cows. These
conditions, especially the first two, are painful and debilitating, leading
to significantly poorer welfare in the treated animals. Therefore from the
view of animal welfare, including health, the Scientific Committee on
Animal Health and Animal Welfare is of the opinion that BST should not be
used in dairy cows.
March 17, 1999
Canada Approved Genetically Modified Canola Tolerant to an Herbicide
Causing Birth Defects
by Joe Cummins, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Genetics, University of Western
Canada has approved genetically engineered canola patented by the
multinational chemical company Rhone Poulenc for their herbicides Bromoxynl
and Ioxynil. The herbicide Bromoxynil has a history of controversy in its
use after it was found that it caused birth defects in rats and mice.
In the United States, the use of Bromoxynl on cotton was a source of
controversy. However, in Canada (where government departments of
Agriculture and Health take multimillion dollar payments from chemical
companies) the herbicide was quietly approved and used extensively to
control weeds in grain crops that are innately tolerant to the herbicide.
The herbicide Bromoxynl is sprayed on the Bromoxynl-resistant canola. As
the herbicide is very persistent in treated soil, when farmers rotate
crops, Bromoxynl residues can accumulate in grains rotated on the same
Residues of the teratogenic herbicide are likely to accumulate in the
harvested canola oil and in the cattle and pig food from the residues
recovered from pressing canola seed to recover oil. Such pressing
residues have also been used as fertilizer on organic farms, a procedure
that should be reviewed on the basis of transferring genetic modifications
and teratogenic herbicides.
The journal Biotechnology noted that there was a very high likelihood
that the herbicide tolerant gene would be transferred to unpatented canola
and to at least seven wild plant species but the transfer to wild plant was
a minimal threat as the resistant species could be controlled by other
herbicides as they became weeds.
The impact of use of the genetically modified crop on biodiversity was
given brief discussion with no data and no fundamental knowledge of
Another genetically modified canola, Liberty Ready canola, also employs a
highly teratogenic herbicide glufosinate. Importers of canola oil or animal
feed from pressed seed should be made aware of these developments and that
the products are not labeled. Clearly the Canadian approval process bears
the stamp of the millions of dollars from chemical companies.
The information on approval of Bromoxynil resistant canola was taken from
Plant Biotechnology Canada August 19,1998
ASHDOWN URGES SPECIAL WTO GROUP ON GENETIC FOODS GENEVA,
March 11 (Reuters) - Britain's outgoing Liberal Democratic leader Paddy
Ashdown said on Thursday the controversial issue of genetically-modified
crops should be part of the next global round of trade liberalisation
Speaking after talks at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and with trade
ambassadors of the European Union and the United States, he warned tha
t the issue could become a "huge problem" that could poison relations
between the two powers.
"The WTO regulations were not set up to handle GMOs," he told a news
conference, using the acronym for genetically-modified organisms which are
rapidly emerging as a potentially explosive topic in international trade.
From: genetics <email@example.com> Subject: GE - news 17th March
Greenpeace welcomes major global steps to get out of genetically modified food
AMSTERDAM, March 17, 1999 - Greenpeace International today welcomed two
major steps towards a genetically modified (GM) free food supply at two
different ends of the world.
Monsanto, the world's most aggressive seller of genetically engineered
seeds yesterday announced that it had withdrawn applications for approval
of their herbicide resistant (Roundup Ready) soyabeans in Brazil. The step
comes after massive protests by environmental and consumers organisations
as well as scientists and lawmakers in Brazil. Brazil is the worlds second
biggest exporter of soyabeans. Soyabeans are used in 60 per cent of
processed supermarket food products including bread, pasta, yoghurt,
chocolate and ice-cream.
At the same time the UK retailer J. Sainsbury's announced that it will not
sell any genetically engineered products under it's own label. Sainsbury's
also revealed that it had formed a consortium of major European retailers,
including Marks & Spencer (UK), Carrefour (France), Superquinn (Ireland),
Migros (Switzerland), Delhaiz (Belgium) and Effelunga (Italy), who will
jointly source GM-free products.
"This is the beginning of the end of trying to forcefeed consumers unwanted
and unneeded genetically manipulated food", commented Greenpeace
International's campaigner Benedikt Haerlin. "We hope to see more
supermarket chains and food producers join the GM-free consortium in the
next few days." Haerlin added that other major food producers and
retailers, such as Unilever in Germany and Austria, and 90 percent of all
supermarkets in Austria and countless small producers have already declared
that they are GM free. "No supermarket or food producer can claim that it
was not possible to avoid GM ingredients in their products."
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
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