2-Plants: Council of Canadians will launch an all-out attack against GE wheat
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TITLE: Council will launch an all-out attack against GE wheat
SOURCE: The Council of Canadians
DATE: Jan 9, 2003
------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------
Council will launch an all-out attack against GE wheat
OTTAWA, ONTARIO - Concerned with the increasing pressure mounted by the
biotechnology industry on the federal government, the Council of Canadians
is launching an all-out attack to raise awareness regarding genetically
The last few weeks have been fertile in biotechnology-related events.
First, Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser has filed an appeal to the
Supreme Court, asking that the Federal Court decision to uphold his guilty
verdict in the case opposing him to Monsanto for alleged violation of
patent rights on GE canola. Then, the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate
filed a $14-million class action suit against Monsanto and Aventis as a
result of the large degree of crop contamination by GE canola.
More recently, Monsanto Canada, a biotechnology company, applied to the
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for approval of the environmental
release of genetically engineered wheat. An application has also been filed
at the same time to U.S. regulators.
Part of these efforts will be a 12-city tour of the Canadian Prairies this
winter to raise awareness on the consequences of allowing GE wheat to grow
in the country. The launch of the tour is currently set for February 27, in
Winnipeg. Spearheaded by the Council of Canadians, the tour will be co-
organised by the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, the National Farmers'
Union and the Alberta-based Parkland Institute.
"Approving GE wheat, for example, would have consequences that are not
limited to health safety concerns," says Nadège Adam, biotechnology
campaigner for the 100,000-member Council of Canadians. "The farmers
traditional right to reuse part of the crop to seed the following year is
also in jeopardy, as this practice would infringe the patent. And when you
think you can go around this problem by switching back to natural seeds,
you are faced with a contamination problem that is impossible to contain."
We warned this would be happening with other crops such as canola, and it
happened. Why the Canadian government would openly consider opening our
wheat crops to such risks is beyond me. There is absolutely no evidence
that GE crops have higher yields and are in any way beneficial for farmers.
However, the potential for contamination is so high that the future of
organic farming would be truly threatened by the release of GE wheat in the
Back in 1999, the Council of Canadians was part of a multi-sectoral effort
that won a hard-fought and long battle against Monsanto's attempt to have
Health Canada approve the Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) that would have found
its way through the milk supply consumed by Canadians.
For more information, please contact:
Nadège Adam, Biotechnology Campaigner - Council of Canadians, +1-
613.233.4487 ext. 245
Guy Caron, Media Officer - Council of Canadians, +1-613.233.4487 ext. 234
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