Let your MP know that on June 7th, alfalfa farmers told the House of Commons Agriculture Committee that they support the Bill C-474:
“Bill C-474 is the first step in offering some protection in the future for Canadian family farms. Market acceptance must be made part of the evaluation process and incorporated into the Seeds Regulation Act.” - Kelvin Einarson, Director and Secretary Treasurer, Manitoba Forage Seed Association Inc.
This summer you can take action in your community to support Bill C-474 and alfalfa farmers. MPs need to hear from you this Summer and then again in the Fall, before the final vote on Bill C-474. For information and action options check http://www.cban.ca/474
More excerpts from June 7th testimony:
“Forage producers support Bill C-474 because we believe it would have the ability to protect the alfalfa industry from the truly dangerous effects of introducing GMO varieties that are not approved by our customers.” - Jim Lintott, Chairman, Manitoba Forage Council.
“The bill is perfect the way it stands. It's a perfect requirement. Why would you produce anything with no market for it?” - Jim Lintott, Chairman, Manitoba Forage Council.
“…the point is that we have a situation where we have a large corporate entity that does not care about the farmer's ability to market that product. They are moving that product, specifically the Roundup Ready alfalfa, and pushing that thing through regardless of market resistance from the producer and the consumer end.” - Jim Lintott, Chairman, Manitoba Forage Council.
“In closing, it has been said that Bill C-474 will create another layer of “red tape” for seed companies to go through in order to sell seeds in Canada. I feel this is better than creating “red ink” on the producer's bottom line.” - Kurt Shmon, President, Imperial Seed Ltd.
Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice 431 Gilmour Street, Second Floor Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 0R5 Phone: 613 241 2267 ext.6 Fax: 613 241 2506 firstname.lastname@example.org www.cban.ca
Health Canada could soon approve the first genetically modified (GM) animal for human consumption. The University of Guelph has applied for food safety approval of its GM pig - they call it “Enviropig™”.
The GM pig contains genetic material from a mouse and E-coli bacteria, and is engineered to excrete less phosphorus in its feces. Its owners claim that “Enviropig™” can reduce water pollution caused by excess pig manure that comes from industrial factory farms. A GM pig is not needed to solve this problem. Pigs can be raised without causing phosphorus pollution - by making changes to production practices or using an enzyme feed supplement that helps pigs digest grains.
“Enviropig™” is not needed by farmers and is not wanted by consumers. “Enviropig™” is unacceptable and will harm the markets for Canada’s hog producers at a time of severe economic crisis in the industry.
Health Canada is wasting precious public resources trying to assess the safety of a GM animal that no one wants. Health Canada does not have the capacity to regulate this complex technology for human safety.
Write to the Minister of Health today from http://www.cban.ca/enviropigaction and tell her that GM animals are not acceptable in our food system. Tell her that you don’t want to eat “Enviropig™”
Urgent Action Alert – Support GM Food Labeling - Take action before May 5, 2010.
Tell the Minister of Health that Canada must support the right of countries to label genetically modified (GM) foods. Send a letter instantly from http://www.cban.ca/labelingaction
Canada could work to shut down negotiations on GM labeling at the UN Codex meeting next week in Quebec City.
May 3-7, governments will negotiate food labeling standards at the UN Codex meeting, including recommendations on GM labeling. The US is trying to stop the negotiations from continuing, and Canada may also try to end the negotiations.
Developing countries want support from Codex for their right to label GM foods. The US and Canada want to make sure this doesn’t happen because Codex recommendations on GM labeling could protect developing countries from challenges brought through the World Trade Organization.
Canada and the US also argue that GM foods are not any different from foods created through conventional methods. This is not supported by science, including Codex’s own food safety guidelines!
Despite polls that show over 80% of Canadians want mandatory labeling of GM foods, the Canadian government continues to bow to intense pressure from the biotech industry and refuses to label GM foods.
March and April will be decisive for the future of alfalfa in Canada and the US:
March 17: Bill C-474 will be debated! - Write your MP today from http://cban.ca/Take-Action/Support-Bill-C-474 The Bill will require that “an analysis of potential harm to export markets be conducted before the sale of any new genetically engineered seed is permitted.” This Bill would create a concrete obstacle to GE alfalfa and GE wheat. This Bill could pass if enough Canadians write to their MPs before March 17 (this date could change).
March 30: The Canadian government and seed industry will meet to change the regulations that would allow GE alfalfa onto the market! CBAN will be there.
April 27: CBAN will support the fight against Monsanto's challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court. Monsanto is seeking to end the injunction on GE alfalfa plantings at the U.S. Supreme Court. This case will have implications for all future court cases that aim to stop GE plantings in the U.S..
Please stay tuned for action alerts.
Thank you for your continued action and support at this critical time,
Appeal to farmers and consumers - Act now to stop GM alfalfa.
Send your comments to the US Department of Agriculture by February 16, 2010.
Its not yet legal for Monsanto to sell its GM alfalfa seeds in Canada but a US injunction on planting in that country could soon be overturned. If GM alfalfa is planted in the US, it will quickly contaminate our food system as well as Canadian alfalfa crops. It will also lead to the legalization of GM alfalfa in Canada (Canada approved Monsanto's GM Roundup Ready alfalfa in 2005 but it still needs variety registration as a last step before commercialization here).
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA ) was court-ordered to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS ) on alfalfa and GM alfalfa plantings were halted until this EIS was satisfactorily completed. This draft EIS is now out for comment until February 16. Farmers and their organizations in Canada are encouraged to send comments about the expected impact of GM alfalfa contamination. Consumers are also asked to express their concern.
Our strong action could stop GM alfalfa and result in an unprecedented ruling about the real contamination risks of GM.
Please take one of these three actions:
1.Send comments from the web: Our partner in the US, The Center of Food Safety, has launched an action where consumers and farmers can send comments from their website http://ga3.org/campaign/alfalfaEIS
2. Coordinate with us to write your substantial comments - Please also send us your comments and cc them to the Minister of Agriculture and Agriculture Critics from other Parties. Contact Lucy Sharratt, CBAN Coordinator at 613 241 2267 ext.6 or email@example.com
Tell the US Government That You Care About GE Contamination of Organic Food!
In 2006, the Center for Food Safety (CFS ) sued the Department of Agriculture (USDA ) for its illegal approval of Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE ) Roundup Ready alfalfa. The federal courts sided with CFS and banned GE alfalfa until the USDA fully analyzed the impacts of the plant on the environment, farmers, and the public in a rigorous analysis known as an environmental impact statement (or EIS ). USDA released its draft EIS on December 14, 2009. A 60-day comment period is now open until February 16, 2010. This is the first time the USDA has done this type of analysis for any GE crop. Therefore, the final decision will have broad implications for all GE crops.
CFS has begun analyzing the EIS and it is clear that the USDA has not taken the concerns of non-GE alfalfa farmers, organic dairies, or consumers seriously. USDA’s preliminary determination is to once again deregulate GE alfalfa without any limitations or protections for farmers or the environment. Instead USDA has completely dismissed the fact that contamination will threaten export and domestic markets and organic meat and dairy products. And, incredibly, USDA is claiming that there is no evidence that consumers care about such GE contamination of organic!
USDA also claims that consumers will not reject GE contamination of organic alfalfa if the contamination is unintentional or if the transgenic material is not transmitted to the end milk or meat product, despite the fact that more than 75% of consumers believe that they are purchasing products without GE ingredients when they buy organic.
USDA claims that Monsanto’s seed contracts require measures sufficient to prevent genetic contamination, and that there is no evidence to the contrary. But in the lawsuit requiring this document, the Court found that contamination had already occurred in the fields of several Western states with these same business-as-usual practices in place!
USDA predicts that the approval of GE alfalfa would damage family farms and organic markets, yet doesn’t even consider any limitations or protections against this scenario. Small, family farmers are the backbone and future of American agriculture and must be protected. Organic agriculture provides many benefits to society: healthy foods for consumers, economic opportunities for family farmers and urban and rural communities, and a farming system that improves the quality of the environment. However, the continued vitality of this sector is imperiled by the complete absence of measures to protect organic production systems from GE contamination and subsequent environmental, consumer, and economic losses.
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