GENET archive

[Index][Thread]

POLICY & REGULATION: Heated GE crop debates in Australia



                                  PART 1


------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   GREENPEACE GOES TOO FAR

SOURCE:  Stock & Land, Australia

AUTHOR:  Opinion, by Colin Bettles

URL:     http://sl.farmonline.com.au/news/nationalrural/agribusiness-and-general/political/greenpeace-goes-too-far/2231264.aspx

DATE:    20.07.2011

SUMMARY: "GREENPEACE have finally crossed the credibility line in Australia, moving past the point of no return, after irresponsible activists dressed in theatrical costumes and destroyed valuable scientific Genetically Modified wheat trials at CSIRO facilities in Canberra last week. [...] Following such a blatant attack on approved scientific process and the Australian government, and the taxpayers our elected office bearers represent, the multinational Greenpeace can no longer be seen as a credible, peaceful charitable organisation, working to protect the planet?s future and must be held to full account ? not just those who committed the GM wheat vandalism."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


GREENPEACE GOES TOO FAR

GREENPEACE have finally crossed the credibility line in Australia, moving past the point of no return, after irresponsible activists dressed in theatrical costumes and destroyed valuable scientific Genetically Modified wheat trials at CSIRO facilities in Canberra last week.

The government approved research was growing under protected conditions, designed to provide invaluable data for future technology development, while being monitored by respected scientists.

Does that sound like a genuine threat to the environment or to the planet?s future which requires rescuing by juvenile delinquents?

Following such a blatant attack on approved scientific process and the Australian government, and the taxpayers our elected office bearers represent, the multinational Greenpeace can no longer be seen as a credible, peaceful charitable organisation, working to protect the planet?s future and must be held to full account ? not just those who committed the GM wheat vandalism.

Greenpeace gains profits from its acts of non-peaceful actions and deliberate scaremongering campaigns, which may be easily swallowed by the uninformed but fail the true litmus test when placed under genuine scrutiny; like GM?s.

If the arguments against GM wheat were strong and credible, would these activists need to break the law to make their point then issue media releases promoting their disgraceful, illegal acts?

If the argument was anywhere near credible, they could lobby Federal politicians in Canberra and let facts speak for themselves in a free and open democracy.

Bit I suspect quite a few doors have now been slammed on Greenpeace after last week?s disgusting attack on the CSIRO; not just by politicians.

It now begs the question; should the Australian government stand up to Greenpeace and sanction the entire organisation from eligibility to raise money through local fundraising activities and receive associated tax concessions?

When Greenpeace charity collectors extend their hands and ask for money at the local shopping mall, people should be entitled to know how their money will be used and if the funds will go towards illegal activities and acts of virtual terrorism, in pursuit of ideological bents.

I know of at least one Greenpeace charity collector who won?t be returning to Kojonup any time soon, to make such charitable requests.

Regardless, the global organisation needs a major reality check on its governance and culture in Australia before they take the law into their own self-righteous hands again and do more than cut down a scientific field trial in the name of thrill-seeking, attention-grabbing, pseudo-environmental pursuits.

They need the kind of reality check that the News of the World has recently experienced after being forced to close its doors due to illegal phone tapping activities - exposed, not as acts of journalism in the name of public interest, but as illegal acts of self-appointed righteousness, born out of a dangerously self-absorbed culture, not dissimilar to Greenpeace.

The silence on this issue has also been deafening from the Federal Greens who normally oppose GM?s but that?s another story.

However I was impressed by Victorian Democratic Labor Party Senator, John Madigan, who didn?t hold back in displaying his utter disgust at Greenpeace?s blatant destruction of science and the ACT Green Shane Rattenbury who condoned the activists? actions, saying sometimes the ends justifies the means.

Senator Madigan clearly identified the Greenpeace wolves dressed in protective clothing, armed with whipper-snippers, describing them and their organisation as nothing more than ?criminally-minded vandals?.

In this case, Greenpeace wasn?t saving endangered whales from pending death in deep arctic waters or preventing underwater nuclear tests in the south Pacific.

GM wheat is seven to ten years away from commercialisation and genuine work is under way to ascertain its value, according to rigorous business principles and scientific processes.

If all that rigour fails, Monsanto and other biotech companies like Dow Agrosciences, Syngenta or Bayer, the kind of companies stereotypically named in Greenpeace media releases, which on GM?s seem to contain more conspiracy theories than JFK?s assassination, won?t make any profit, if the associated technology fails.

Farmers will simply walk away from the product and understand this Greenpeace - you may sell snake oil once in Wheatbelts around Australia but not twice.

There will be no invisible chain or legal glue that compels farmers to use the technology and if the end markets actually reject it, then that takes care of that, once and for all through a commercial, non-violent, legal solution.

We don?t need celebrity chefs to predict the future and tell us GM may be no good in 2018, while promoting their city restaurants but all the while failing to condemn Greenpeace for breaking the law and disrespecting science and Australian values.

Whoever gave the green light at Greenpeace for last week?s act of scientific destruction and lawlessness also needs to be held accountable.

A broom needs to go through the entire organisation because its culture gives the green-light for employees to commit illegal acts, simply because the ball doesn?t bounce their way.

If you don?t like the decision here in Australia, it?s just not cricket to simply go up and punch the umpire in the nose because that?s how things are done on the team you play for, where you also get to act as judge, jury and executioner.

If our Prime Minister and the Greens are fair dinkum about a green future, they will also stand up to Greenpeace?s behaviour in the same way they have condemned the New of the World.

But it?s funny; I can?t hear Bob Brown calling for a parliamentary review into whipper-gate?

The entire Greenpeace experience of last week leaves me fully understanding of why Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore, walked away from the organisation he gave birth to and now stands opposed to its acts of scientific and environmental debauchery.

Dr Moore has described Greenpeace as ?eco-extremist,? believing the organisation is ?anti-human, anti-technology, and anti-science?.

Given events of last week, many more in Australia would now agree.



                                  PART 2

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   CATHBLOG - GOD?S GIFTS SHOULD NOT BE PATENTED

SOURCE:  CathNews, Australia

AUTHOR:  Charles Rue

URL:     http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=27276

DATE:    19.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Last week Greenpeace protesters broke into a CSIRO experimental farm in Canberra and destroyed a crop of genetically modified wheat. The wheat?s genes had been modified to lower the glycemic index and increase fibre to create a product which will improve bowel health and increase nutritional value. But Greenpeace says it took the action because of concerns over health, cross-contamination and the secrecy surrounding the experiments. [...] To these dangers can been added Spiritual and Cultural confusion - the God given gift of life falling under the ownership of patents; Eucharistic bread loses its symbolism; family meals and celebrations focused on the ?staff of life? lose their meaning."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


CATHBLOG - GOD?S GIFTS SHOULD NOT BE PATENTED

Dr Charles Rue is a Columban missionary who coordinates Columban Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation Australia. Click here for more information on GM foods.

Last week Greenpeace protesters broke into a CSIRO experimental farm in Canberra and destroyed a crop of genetically modified wheat.

The wheat?s genes had been modified to lower the glycemic index and increase fibre to create a product which will improve bowel health and increase nutritional value. But Greenpeace says it took the action because of concerns over health, cross-contamination and the secrecy surrounding the experiments.

An anti-Genetic Modification (GM) Alliance of concerned citizen groups has published, through Greenpeace, a paper on field trails of GM-Wheat underway in most Australian States. The paper is well argued and referenced ? important reading for any informed Catholics, and required of any group addressing ethics.

It outlines many dangers inherent in gene replacement technology affecting multiple sectors of Australian society, each of which is significant in its own right.

Risks to human health and denial of consumer choice ? unexplained allergens and birth defects; altering human genetics; the danger of spreading viruses and resistance to anti-biotics; non-labeled GM products on shelves and in restaurants

Farmer economics - contamination of conventional and organic wheat crops; inability to segregate grains leading to loss of premiums and sales (WA); patenting laws and control of seeds and fertilizer prices by biotech companies; loss of traditional wheat varieties and specialty grains

Regulation and Research - vertical control of the food chain from seeds to shelf; white-anting government agencies by biotech company employees and secrecy in crop approvals; diversion of public research funds to GM ends and no published public test results; PR lies about greater yields, less pesticides, climate change adaptation

Biological Diversity and Natural Systems - changes to soil biota (bugs, fungi and all that) frustrating the natural services they provide; social fertility; carbon absorbing ability; contamination of natural grasses with horizontal gene leak.

To these dangers can been added Spiritual and Cultural confusion - the God given gift of life falling under the ownership of patents; Eucharistic bread loses its symbolism; family meals and celebrations focused on the ?staff of life? lose their meaning.

Are our governments and its agencies bedazzled by biotech PR, or are they collaborators in the GM agenda? Victoria jumped on the GM-medical bandwagon while Queensland wants GM bio-fuels.

Are the Federal Ministers for Agriculture, Health and Trade held captive by their bureaucracies which control analysis (ABARE), gene and health regulation (OGTR and FRANZ) patenting and trade agreements (TRIPS)?

Both major political parties seem to trot out the same messages about jobs, wealth creation, smart economy and ?best practice?, yet, the USA and Canada have rejected field trials of wheat as too dangerous. Any public questioning of such trials in Australia is stone walled, hidden behind impersonal government bureaucracy and ?commercial in confidence? agreements.

An alliance of groups troubled by the field trails of GM wheat has in their frustration resorted to protests. Public submissions and logic arguments presented to governments seemed to have failed. In the Christian tradition prophets spoke of consequences and preached against lies. Many suffered for doing so and some are named as martyrs.

The World Council of Churches took a lead on the ethics of GM food and Canadian churches published the document, Who wants it? Who benefits? Catholic social teaching highlights the dangers of control of food by international biotech companies. Concern to feed the hungry of the world led the Vatican to be pushed towards endorsing GM food. It failed because of Jesuit and Columban campaigning.

Concern for gene therapies led Catholic ethicists to focus on social aspects but they have been slow to consider the long term biological effects of gene-technology itself. The Winter edition of Australian Catholics may be the first Australian religious journal to connect replacement gene technology (GM) with the two fields of medicine and food.

Catholic institutions are challenged to response to the field trials of GM: medical, nursing, nutritional and ethics departments in universities; meals in schools, hospitals and age care facilities can be GM free.

Individual Catholics can make powerful responses ? buy non-GM foods and tell suppliers from supermarket managers to restaurant owners now that they will not buy GM wheat products; write to and phone you local government member to express you concern over the field trails of wheat.



                                  PART 3

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   A DAMAGING PLOY BY GM DENIALISTS

SOURCE:  Business Spectator, Australia

AUTHOR:  David Leyonhjelm

URL:     http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/food-GM-security-Greenpeace-France-Germany-destroy-pd20110720-JX2ZF?opendocument&src=rss

DATE:    20.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Such hypocrisy often seems more entrenched in Europe, where anti-fast food and pro organic lobbies are government subsidised and the merits of food processing, food irradiation and genetically modified food are hotly disputed notwithstanding abundant scientific support including most food scientists. But it seems we are catching up. Those lobbies are certainly present here, and now the multinational activist group Greenpeace has imported one of its favourite European tactics ? destroying plots of genetically modified crops. This has been common in parts of Europe for some years now."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


A DAMAGING PLOY BY GM DENIALISTS

David Leyonhjelm works in the agribusiness and veterinary markets as principal of Baron Strategic Services and Baron Senior Placements.

One of the biggest complaints made by advocates of action to reduce global warming is that the sceptics disregard the science. In support they point to the majority of climate scientists who believe human activity is causing global warming.

It is quite hypocritical, therefore, for the same people to be so reluctant to accept science when it comes to agriculture and food production. They have, it seems, two versions of science ? one that supports their views and one that does not. In other words, the science is used to support a predetermined opinion rather than the basis upon which the opinion is formed.

Such hypocrisy often seems more entrenched in Europe, where anti-fast food and pro organic lobbies are government subsidised and the merits of food processing, food irradiation and genetically modified food are hotly disputed notwithstanding abundant scientific support including most food scientists.

But it seems we are catching up. Those lobbies are certainly present here, and now the multinational activist group Greenpeace has imported one of its favourite European tactics ? destroying plots of genetically modified crops.

This has been common in parts of Europe for some years now. Indeed, it has got to the point where trials are conducted in secret if they are conducted at all. In France, those who rip up GM field trials are often acquitted of any offence, despite the huge damage they cause.

Adding to the absurdity, just across the border in Spain, farmers have commercially grown insect-resistant GM maize for the past 12 years and just this month the Spanish government declared it to have had no negative effects on flora or fauna.

The Greenpeace attack on CSIRO?s wheat trials strikes at the heart of scientific inquiry. Not only is Greenpeace uninterested in the merits of the GM wheat, it actively opposes finding out. By contrast, it strongly endorses CSIRO research to support its position on climate change.

Its attitude is comparable to that of the animal rights radicals who attacked the homes, cars and business premises of the shareholders and employees of UK companies which use animals in medical experiments and pharmaceutical testing. The perpetrators set out to stop it at any cost.

Although field trials of GM crops are almost non-existent in most of Europe, this does not prevent them from occurring elsewhere. So, in the short term local European farmers and communities miss out on the economic benefits of the trials, while in the long term farmers are being left further and further behind, as Europe imports more of its food from countries in which science is more influential.

The environment misses out too. Most genetically modified crops are either insect resistant or herbicide resistant. Insect resistant crops obviously require less insecticide applications, while herbicide resistant crops require less soil tillage. Both are unequivocally beneficial to the environment.

The wheat destroyed by Greenpeace was being investigated by the CSIRO for altered starch composition, in the hope that it would contribute to greater dietary fibre intake. This would be valuable to all sorts of people, including those with bowel disease and diabetics who require low GI diets.

In all likelihood it is totally safe to eat, just as the GM crops already grown around the world are safe. There has not been a single case of harm to humans or the environment attributable to GM food since it first became available in 1994.

The action by Greenpeace will inhibit the development of crops that increase the sustainability of farmers and raise their productivity. Ultimately, that will limit the production of more food, thus increasing its price and forcing more people into marginal survival. That will increase food security tension, potentially leading to trade barriers and conflict between countries.

The attacks on medical researchers in the UK, which severely inhibited the development of new therapies to reduce illness and suffering, shows this to be true. Some projects were abandoned, scientists and laboratories incurred the cost of extra security, and some projects were moved to other countries.

There are other examples of how rejecting agricultural technology can have adverse consequences. One is the recent outbreak of E coli food poisoning in Germany, which led to 35 deaths and thousands made ill. This is now known to have originated in bean sprouts grown on an organic German farm that shuns modern farming techniques.

E coli are ubiquitous in nature but using manure rather than chemical fertiliser certainly increases the risk. And although the risk could have been eliminated if the sprouts had been irradiated prior to sale, food irradiation is another subject on which Greenpeace has strong views despite what the scientists say.



                                  PART 4

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   GENETICALLY MODIFIED WHEAT HAS NO PLACE ON THE MENU

SOURCE:  Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

AUTHOR:  Neil Perry & Martin Boetz

URL:     http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/genetically-modified-wheat-has-no-place-on-the-menu-20110718-1hlhq.html

DATE:    19.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Australia?s reputation as an outstanding food producer is at risk. We are proud to be two of Australia?s leading chefs and food industry spokesmen. Making and serving fresh and tasty food is a great pleasure for us. We have built our lives and careers around this passion. But we are disturbed by the prospect that Australia may become one of the first countries in the world to grow and eat genetically modified wheat. Wheat is a fundamental part of our daily diet, the basis of bread, pasta, noodles, pastries and many other foods."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


GENETICALLY MODIFIED WHEAT HAS NO PLACE ON THE MENU

 

...........................................................................

Doctor calls for more reseach on effects of GM food on health

http://www.abc.net.au/rural/telegraph/content/2011/s3272704.htm?site=centralwest

Leone Knight, 19/07/2011, listen at:

http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rural/telegraph/201107/r801945_7068887.mp3

To some, genetically modified food offers a solution to feed a hungry world but to others there are too many unanswered questions about the implications of GM for human health. As the GM debate continues, some medical educators are among those who believe consumers and media not asking the right questions. Dr Carole Hungerford, a GP and nutritional and environmental medicine expert, is concerned about the current focus of the debate. In this report: Leone Knight speaks with Dr Carole Hungerford GP, author and medical educator to the Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine 

...........................................................................

 

Australia?s reputation as an outstanding food producer is at risk. 

We are proud to be two of Australia?s leading chefs and food industry spokesmen. Making and serving fresh and tasty food is a great pleasure for us. We have built our lives and careers around this passion.

But we are disturbed by the prospect that Australia may become one of the first countries in the world to grow and eat genetically modified wheat. Wheat is a fundamental part of our daily diet, the basis of bread, pasta, noodles, pastries and many other foods.

Whether or not you agree with its methods, Greenpeace?s destruction of GM wheat from a CSIRO trial site just outside Canberra last week has stirred up the debate. And the state of our food - and the ways it is produced - is a debate worth having.

?As leading chefs, we will stop using wheat products if GM becomes prevalent.? Photo: Louise Kennerley

The integrity of our food is continually being depleted by the demands of a fast-paced modern lifestyle. Our relationship with food is generally an unhealthy one. Agri-food manufacturers play on people?s time poverty to sell ultra-processed fast foods full of salt, sugar, highly refined carbohydrates, additives and preservatives. These foods have nothing in common with the fresh fruit and vegetables and whole cereals that should make up the bulk of a healthy diet.

The CSIRO claims its experimental GM wheat could help reduce bowel cancer rates because of more ??resistant starch??, which is good for digestive health. Encouraging people to eat more brown bread, rice and oats would seem eminently safer and more sensible and affordable. And this can be done without turning to GM crops, which we consider to be unsafe. But of course that?s not attractive to big international biotech firms that see a commercial advantage in GM crops.

The CSIRO and the Australian government are contradicting their own health advice that people should eat more wholegrains and a more varied diet. If people carry on eating the same kind of processed foods, drained of all the nutrients and life-giving energy we need, we can expect health problems to continue. GM wheat won?t help this; the likelihood is it will only increase the amount of unnatural, processed food on supermarket shelves.

Even more troubling is the fact that GM plants have never been proven safe to eat. Through trial and error over many thousands of years, we have found what we can eat for health and nourishment and what we must stay away from.

New forms of food such as GM wheat have never been tested for safety. They have not undergone the kind of trial and error that all our naturally occurring foods have over thousands of years of being consumed - they are a whole new form of genetically modified life. And they have not been through the kind of safety testing demanded of new pharmaceutical products.

Food is a fundamental part of life. Protecting the integrity of our food and the reliability of our food supply is critical. We must ask what kind of world we are building for ourselves and for our children where we would prefer to spend billions of dollars creating unnecessary and risky genetically modified products, rather than following our grandmothers and mothers? advice of simply eating a balanced diet.

In a few generations our food and farming systems have been radically transformed. Once based around nature and human need, they are now controlled by corporations, from seed to supermarket, for the purpose of profit.

The menus in our restaurants, like those of other restaurants, cafes and family kitchens all around the country, feature wheat products such as bread and pastry every day. GM wheat will jeopardise our capacity to serve wholesome food we can rely on.

As leading chefs in Australia, we will stop using wheat products if GM becomes prevalent, or we will exclusively use certified organic wheat.

Australia?s reputation as one of the best food producers and places to eat in the world is at risk. We are urging the Australian government to stop risking Australia?s food industry and to put a stop to GM wheat trials.

Neil Perry is the owner of Spice Temple and The Waiting Room in Melbourne, and Rockpool Bar and Grill in Sydney and Perth. Martin Boetz is the owner and executive chef at Longrain restaurants in Melbourne and Perth. Both are signatories to Greenpeace?s Chef?s Charter, which aims to protect the quality and diversity of Australia?s food.