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[genet-news] CONTAMINATION & COEXISTENCE: Western Australian GM crop trial not deterred by legal threat



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  GM CROP TRIAL NOT DETERRED BY LEGAL THREAT

SOURCE: Weekly Times, Australia

AUTHOR: Australian Associated Press, Australia

URL:    http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2009/04/09/69491_latest-news.html

DATE:   09.04.2009

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GM CROP TRIAL NOT DETERRED BY LEGAL THREAT

WEST Australian farming groups say genetically modified canola crop trials won?t be hindered by threats of legal action from a lobby group.

The Network of Concerned Farmers revealed on Wednesday it is preparing to send letters to GM-trial farmers outlining their legal liabilities if non GM crops are contamination during the trial, due to start next month.

The WA Farmers Federation and Pastoralists and Graziers? Association have labelled the threat a ?scare tactic? which would not intimidate farmers.

WAFF chief executive Andy McMillan said farmers selected for the trial had been subjected to stringent tests, including those to prevent contamination.

?The conditions on these farmers are heavy and they are going to have to display a high level of professionalism to be be quality assured,? Mr McMillan said.

?I think once they have gone through that process, a letter from a minority group of agitators threatening legal action isn?t going to make an impact on the trial at all.?

NCF spokeswoman Julie Newman said the group was concerned Australian non-GM farmers would lose markets and be forced to pay fees for using a patented product they did not want and could not avoid.

However PGA grains spokesman Leon Bradley said once GM canola seed became available, thousands of WA farmers would adopt the technology.

He called claims contamination would cost markets as ?completely bogus?.

?Every year since they introduced GM canola in 1996, Canadian farmers have taken a bigger share of the market,? Mr Bradley said.

?Part of the reasons for the trial in Western Australia is to ensure that our system for segregating our GM from non GM has integrity.?

WA opposition agriculture spokesman Mick Murray on Wednesday said the GM canola trial was cloaked with uncertainty and called on the state government to provide compensation to non-GM farmers when crops were contaminated.

The GM canola trial is due to start this winter and finish when the crops are harvested in summer.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:  GM FARMERS GET CONTAMINATION WARNINGS

SOURCE: Farm Weekly, Australia

AUTHOR: Colin Bettles

URL:    http://fw.farmonline.com.au/news/state/grains-and-cropping/general/gm-farmers-get-contamination-warnings/1482256.aspx

DATE:   09.04.2009

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GM FARMERS GET CONTAMINATION WARNINGS

THE Network of Concerned Farmers (NCF) has issued a warning to the 20 farmers planning to participate in the Genetically Modified (GM) canola crop trial in WA this season, saying they could face legal action if contamination of non-GM crops is discovered.

The NCF is opposed to GM technology and issued the warning in a media statement othis week saying the legal processes are already in motion.

The media release said non-GM farmers would not accept losses associated with contamination by GM canola.

To back that statement up, the NCF promised they would seek the recommended legal recourse against GM farmers if required.

NCF spokesperson and farmer Julie Newman it was a sad day when governments made negligent decisions and deny fair risk management, resulting in farmers suing farmers.

?Governments recommend common law as suitable for recovering any damage and economic loss associated with GM crops, but early action is required if there is any chance of success,? she said.

?Very few people realise that common law recommendations means that we are faced with a ridiculous outcome where farmers are to take legal action against farmers, but all farmers need to be prepared.

?We will not follow the international trend where non-GM farmers have tolerated contamination, lost markets and are now being forced to pay fees for using a patented product they did not want and could not avoid.?



                                  PART 3

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TITLE:  ACADEMIC PLAYS DOWN GM CONTAMINATION RISK

SOURCE: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/04/09/2539291.htm

DATE:   09.04.2009

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ACADEMIC PLAYS DOWN GM CONTAMINATION RISK

A crop researcher has dismissed claims genetically modified (GM) canola can contaminate non-GM crops. The Western Australian Government has lifted the state?s ban on GM canola and will allow trial crops to be planted on a commercial scale this year. Critics say farmers who trial GM canola could face legal action if their crops contaminate non-GM paddocks. Professor Rick Roush from the University of Melbourne says he has researched cross-pollination for the past decade and the risk of contamination is extremely low. ?To the best of my knowledge, and I?ve tried to look at this in great detail, there?s been no case in the world where a non-GM farmer has sued a GM farmer over a mixture of crops, or pollen flow or anything like that,? he said.



                                  PART 4

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TITLE:  NON-GM GROUP WARNS OF LEGAL ACTION OVER WA CROP TRIAL

SOURCE: The Independent Weekly, Australia

AUTHOR: Australian Associated Press, Australia

URL:    http://www.independentweekly.com.au/news/national/national/general/nongm-group-warns-of-legal-action-over-wa-crop-trial/1482365.aspx

DATE:   08.04.2009

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NON-GM GROUP WARNS OF LEGAL ACTION OVER WA CROP TRIAL

Farmers who volunteer to trial genetically-modified canola crops in Western Australia this month risk being sued individually by non-GM farmers, a lobby group says.

The Network of Concerned Farmers has revealed it is preparing to send letters to GM-trial farmers outlining their legal liabilities.

The group has threatened to launch action on ?a whole range of fronts?, NCF spokeswoman Julie Newman said in a statement.

?Legally, non-GM means no GM, not even 0.001 per cent,? she said.

The basis of the group?s action will be that it will be up to the GM farmer, and not the conventional farmer, to ensure that crop contamination doesn?t occur.

If contaminations occur, farmers will take legal action against farmers and not seed-maker Monsanto, she said.

?GM growers, not Monsanto, will be liable for any damage or economic losses to conventional farmers.

?Farmers who?ve volunteered for GM trials only need to look at their contracts to know that Monsanto will not protect their liability in the courts, or support their legal defence.?

Australian non-GM farmers won?t follow counterparts overseas who had tolerated contamination, lost markets and were being forced to pay fees for using a patented product they did not want and could not avoid, Ms Newman said.

It wasn?t good enough to say ?she?ll be right?, she said.

Comment was being sought from Monsanto.


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