Christina Goes to the No! GMO Alfalfa Rally Apr. 9, 2013

Tuesday April 2, 2013. Ottawa. Today, the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network released a new report documenting the means by which genetically modified (GM) alfalfa will contaminate non-GM alfalfa and hay crops , if GM alfalfa is released

“We can clearly see how farmers will pay the heavy costs of this inevitable contamination,” said Ontario organic sheep and vegetable farmer Ann Slater, member of the National Farmers Union, “The only way to stop contamination from GM alfalfa is to keep it off the market.”

Alfalfa is an important crop for dairy farming in Ontario as well as for livestock farmers and vegetable and field crop producers. Some Ontario farmers also save alfalfa seed.

The report details the role of seeds, pollen, and volunteer/feral plants in the predicted contamination of non-GM alfalfa from GM alfalfa. If released, GM alfalfa would be the first GM perennial crop introduced in Canada.

“While the conditions for contamination in Eastern Canada differ from those in Western Canada where alfalfa seed is produced, contamination in Ontario is assured, as are the economic costs to farmers,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.

“Our report documents the many means by which farmers can expect to see contamination from GM alfalfa. Contamination is assured, the only question is how long it will take and which will be the first or primary means of gene escape,” said Taarini Chopra, also with the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.

“This report puts an end to discussions about coexistence with GM alfalfa, its just not possible.” said Phillip Woodhouse, President of the Ontario Grey County NFU local 344 who also attended an October 2012 meeting of the Canadian Seed Trade Association where the industry attempted to construct a coexistence plan to pave the way for GM alfalfa. “Forage Genetics International appears willing to sacrifice the livelihoods of Ontario farmers to get their product on the market somewhere in Canada.”

“No farmer can shield themselves from this genetic pollution. Does anyone really believe that introducing GM alfalfa into Eastern Canada will protect Prairie farmers from this contamination?” added Woodhouse.

The National Farmers Union-Ontario has called for consumers to support farmers in a Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa on April 9. Ontario farmers have organized protest rallies in 12 communities, outside of constituency offices of federal Members of Parliament as well as outside the Variety Registration office of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in Ottawa where a final rubber-stamp to release Roundup Ready alfalfa is expected any day. There are also 11 rallies confirmed in support of Ontario farmers happening in towns in BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan (at the office of the Minister of Agriculture), Quebec, and Nova Scotia.

For more information:Ann Slater, National Farmers Union, 519-349-2448; Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network 613 241 2267 ext 25, Phillip Woodhouse, National Farmers Union, 519 599 5041.

Details on the April 9 Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa, including a list of actions, can be found at www.cban.ca/april9

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Chris Cook

Author: Chris Cook

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday, 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, on the internet at: cfuv.ca, and archived at: www.gorilla-radio.com. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, www.pacificfreepress.com, which you can now support at Petreon.com. Check out the GR blog at: gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/. G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the corporate media. Some past guests include: M. Shahid Alam, Joel Bakan, Maude Barlow, Ramzy Baroud, David Barsamian, Eva Bartlett, William Blum, Luciana Bohne, Helen Caldicott, Noam Chomsky, Michel Chossudovsky, Paul Cienfuegos, Jon Elmer, Yves Engler, Laura Flanders, Eva Golinger, Amy Goodman, Glenn Greenwald, Denis Halliday, Chris Hedges, Patrick Henningsen, Julia Butterfly Hill, Robert Jensen, Dahr Jamail, Chalmers Johnson, Diana Johnstone, Malalai Joya, Kathy Kelly, Naomi Klein, Frances Moore Lappe, Ingmar Lee, Dave Lindorff, Andrew Gavin Marshall, Janos Maté, Jennifer Moore, Alexandra Morton, Sharmine Narwani, Andrew Nikiforuk, Ken O'Keefe, Greg Palast, Dawn Paley, Michael Parenti, Robert Parry, John Pilger, Kevin Pina, Ted Rall, Paul Craig Roberts, John Ross, David Rovics, Danny Schechter, David Schindler, Vandana Shiva, Tim Shorrock, Norman Solomon, David Swanson, Linn Washington, Jr., Andy Worthington, Mickey Z., Howard Zinn and many others.