|Doing things like lobbying local councillors. MSPs, MPs and MEPs can never be underestimated. It is an invaluable campaign tool whether it be by writing a letter, phoning or attending a politician's constituency surgery. Politicians reckon one letter they receive from a constituent represents 100 votes - they just have to respond. It is vital to keep the pressure up on elected representatives as and when the latest information bearing on an issue arises. It needs to be brought to their attention as an act of reinforcement. Politicians have to learn and learn continually. An active electorate ensures this. The dissemination of information has been crucial in the successes of the Munlochy GM VIgil campaign and with the support of good people will continue to be so. Information and argument provide the bedrock context in the effective resistance and opposition to GM crops and food. Beat the paper tigers with paper and use your voice!
Supermarkets failure to phase out GM animal feed could threaten the availability of non-GM ingredients in our food
Take action to protect GM free seeds
Please take a few minutes to respond by 5 June, and demand our seeds are kept GM free!
The argument about whether there should be thresholds for GM contamination in seeds, and if so at what levels, has been raging in Europe for years.
After a long period of silence, the European Commission has snuck out an online consultation, with no publicity and a very short deadline. The consultation is mainly multiple choice, but the questions are very ambiguous and in some cases misleading. Friends of the Earth and GM Freeze have put together a short guide to help people respond at: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/action_guides/gm_seeds_action.pdf
A number of organisations have also formally complained about this consultation and are demanding a fully inclusive process and detailed information about how this consultation fits in to any decisions being made on seed thesholds.See: http://www.saveourseeds.org/en/frame.php?page=consultation
Please email DEFRA in response to it's consultation on environmental liability
The UK Government is implementing a new European law on environmental liability. In theory it will help to prevent environmental harm and shift the cost of putting things right from the taxpayer to the polluter. Unfortunately their proposals are very weak. Unless they are strengthened it is highly unlikely that biotech companies would be expected to pay if environmental damage arose from the use of their GM organisms. The Government's approach would also fail to protect many endangered species
and threatened habitats.
We've made it quick and simple for you to take action, please email DEFRA in response to it's consultation on environmental liability at:
URGENT ACTION ALERT - Environmental Liability Regulations
GeneWatch UK has alerted us to the latest Defra consultation on the Environmental Liability Regulations.
This Regulation has been in the pipeline since the late 1980s but does not appear to have been improved by such a long gestation period. The regulations are supposed to ensure that companies are liable for any harm their activities or products cause to the environment the polluter pays principle. GM organisms are covered by the new Regulations which bring the EU’s Environmental Liability Directive into law in the England.
However, from a GMO perspective the Regulation will fail to ensure that companies can be brought to book if their products cause harm because the scope of the Regulations is so narrow. For instance, agricultural land is not covered at all and even some of the at risk farmland birds, such as the corn bunting, linnet and tree sparrow, will not be given any protection despite the clear findings of the FSE that GM herbicide tolerant rape and beet would further reduce the food supply of these species would reduced. Even brown hares are also excluded as is the soil.
What you can do
Please respond to the consultation with your concerns. You do not have to write a long letter, just make some key points.
GeneWatch has prepared an excellent briefing on grounds for objections and how to object at http://www.genewatch.org/sub.shtml?als[cid]=546897. Make the point that GMOs should be a special case because of their ability to reproduce (unlike other pollutants) and the uncertainty about their long-term impacts.
Please try and respond before 16th February 2007 in England and Wales to email@example.com or by post to:
ELD Consultation, Environmental Liability Branch, Environmental Regulation Policy Division, Zone 4/A1, Ashdown House, 123 Victoria Street, London SWIE 6DE
In Wales responses should be sent via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or by post to:
Waste Policy Branch, Welsh Assembly Government, ELD Consultation, First Floor, Room: 1-002, CP2, Cardiff CF10 3NQ
NB Wales has opted to disapply the permit defences which allows companies with licences to release GMOs in to the environment to be exempt from any environmental liability.
In Scotland reply by 23rd March 2007 to email@example.com or by post to:
International Environmental Issues Team, Environmental Futures, Environment Group, Scottish Executive, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ
Many thanks, Carrie.
Carrie Stebbings, Co-ordinator, GM FREEZE CAMPAIGN, 94 White Lion Street, London, N1 9PF
Tel: 020 7837 0642, Fax: 020 7837 1141 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.gmfreeze.org
PETITION: Say "No" To India's Crops Being Genetically Engineered - Created by Arun Shrivastava on Jan 02, 2007
A writ petition is being heard in the Supreme Court of India seeking direction to stop all open field trials of GM crops. The issue is very serious and we need global support from people who eat Indian rice and those who are opposed to GMOs. Open field trials of GMOs will contaminate the global environment forever, destroy food sovereignty and our biodiversity.
This petition has been initiated by:
1. Dr Krishan Bir Chaudhary, Executive Chairperson, Bharat Krishak Samaj - Email: email@example.com
2. Steve Solomon, Scientist, farmer and founder of Soil & Health Library - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Rodney Nelson, Independent farmer, USA - Email: Rodneygm@aol.com
4. Chris Gupta, Health and nutrition educator and inventor - Email: email@example.com - http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/chris/about.htm
5. Kul Bhushan Upamanyu, Member of Himalaya Policy Campaign Committee and Chairperson of Navrachna [a confederation of environmental groups working in the Himalayan region], Founder of Chipko Movement in Himachal Pradesh - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Vijay Jardhari, Founder of Beej Bachao Andolan ["Save the Seed Movement"] Village Nagni, Uttaranchal, India [No email]
7. Arun Shrivastava CMC, Management Consultant, Member of the Governing Council of Navrachna, Member of Himalaya Policy Campaign Committee - Email: email@example.com [Coordinator of this petition]
Petition: To: Dr. Man Mohan Singh, Prime Minister of India
Dear Dr. Singh,
Indian rice, vegetables and feed crops are now seriously under threat of almost certain contamination from genetically engineered seeds. This is because the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee [GEAC], an inter-ministerial body charged with the responsibility of approving field trials of food and feed crops is facilitating open field trials of genetically engineered seeds of trans-national corporations. The profound truth is that:
* GM crops remain untested and present unique risks to the bio-safety of our planet. Their potential harmful impacts of many magnitudes are still not understood and will affect our lives in ways unimaginable.
* Transgenic contamination of the natural environment is a biological certainty and is not disputed. Along with Climate Change, GMOs threaten us with unprecedented global ecological crises, whose impacts will be in perpetuity.
* The stated goal of these biotech GE companies is to have monopoly control of the world's seed supply and eventually genetically modify global seed stock. To achieve this diabolical objective, India's precious biodiversity and genetic wealth is a particular target.
* Small and poor farmers are manipulated into field-testing experimental GM crops through the inducement of paltry sums of money and the trust reposed in the 'approvals' granted by the official Regulator. Our farmer's have no real comprehension of what they are being asked to grow, nor the enormity of the adverse implications for farm economics, their livelihoods, contamination, food safety and health.
Despite the evidence of serious hazards, the GEAC, the official Regulator appointed by the Government of India, has not discharged its responsibilities with due diligence. At a single meeting of its committee, it approved wholesale, and with recklessness unmatched in any other country, an astonishing array of over 150 open field trials of every conceivable variety of GM Crops. The approvals cover bulk commodities like rice, wheat and oilseeds among others as well as the full range of vegetable crops, e.g. aubergine, tomato, potato and okra, etc.
Indian rice [both Basmati and non-basmati] is exported to 92 countries. People buy Indian rice in good faith that the rice is a natural, not a genetically engineered, crop. In 2006, the GEAC has approved open field trials of six varieties of Bt rice in 10 out of 25 States in India. Farmers' associations have filed law suits against officials in charge of supervising field trials. Some, fearing contamination, have burnt fields in which GM crops were being tested. If not immediately stopped, open trials of genetically engineered rice seeds can cause havoc through cross-pollination and contamination of natural rice crops. Many rice importing countries have zero tolerance for contamination, which will seriously affect India's farmers and rice traders.
In India every intelligent farmer saves seeds and the onslaught is on farmers' rights around seeds: the right not to be contaminated and grow Non-GM crops. If contamination is not halted and the diverse traditional varieties are not protected, our seed stock will be contaminated irreversibly; farmers will be unable to keep their lands and our earth GM-free. Therefore, opposition to the merciless onslaught of the big biotech seeds companies is growing and rightly so.
Sovereign issues of biodiversity, safe food, food security and trade, are being compromised to promote the commercial interests of big biotech seeds companies.
Therefore, time is of the essence for remedial action. We request you to
1. Bring forth an Act or an Ordinance banning all open field trials of genetically engineered seeds. If you do not decisively intervene terminating all field trials, India and its neighbouring farming nations will be irreversibly contaminated and lose security of food and nutrition forever.
2. Establish an independent and autonomous Ombudsman with a mandate for the protection of India's bio-safety starting with the impacts of GMOs. If the GEAC?s reckless rush into GM foods is not checked, this process will be the fastest and riskiest experiment ever conducted, anywhere in the world, with irreversible impacts on our farmers, their crop choices, our food and health, our forests, our wilderness and our countryside. GM crops, unless stopped right now, will change the molecular structure of the world?s food in perpetuity.
Genetically engineered crops and foods truly present the gravest global threat to biodiversity and to survival. We are not against science. We are against spurious technology that is being promoted as sound science.
We, the undersigned, appeal to you, Honourable Prime Minister, to urgently take all appropriate measures to effectively stop all open field trials of all genetically engineered seeds in India. Because of the seriousness of the matter, we ask that you consider this issue with highest priority.
GO HERE TO SIGN:
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORTY TO KEEP ECUADOR GE FREE
The Ecuadorean Parlament has passed a reform to the Health Code with several provisions on GE food and genetically modified organisms.
The industry is pressuring the Government to reject the articles related with GMOs. They want to introduced GMO in this country rhat has being keep GE Free until now.
Please support us by directing a letter to the President of the countrym who has to approved this law in the next days.
We include a model. You can send your letters to:
firstname.lastname@example.org c.c. email@example.com
Doctor Alfredo Palacio González
República del Ecuador
Dear Mr. President:
Fistly at all, we would like to congratulate you for the work of your government, that has always defend the health and the Precautionary Principle in favour of the of the welfare Ecuadorean People.
We have known that the Ecuadorean Congress has passed a reform of the Health Code, and some provisions are related with the application of the Precautionary Principle on the use of genetically modified organisms, specially food.
In the last ten years of commercialization of genetically modified organisms, evidences has shown that they are deep concerns related with their use, both in the human health and the environment.
These impacts include alergies, effects on some vital organs such as the liver and kidney, resistance to some antibiotics, increase in the use of pesticides and therefore an increase of the presence of these pesticides in the food, etc.
We hope that as a Medical Doctor, you will keep the spirit that has the characterised you government, and you ratified the Health Code, in the terms that has being presented by the Congress, in relation with genetically modified organisms.
ACTION ALERT - From: SAFeAGE, The South African Freeze Alliance on Genetic Engineering
Dear Wine Buyer
Keep our wine GM-Free: Stop South African GM grape vine trials.
An application for field trials of genetically modified (GM) grapes has just been lodged with the Registrar of GMO's in South Africa. While the applicants have undertaken to implement stringent measures to prevent GM contamination, 132 recorded cases of such contamination have already occurred worldwide. In some instances procedures to prevent contamination under experimental conditions were allegedly followed. It appears it is not possible for co-existance between GM and non-GM crops, as even where attempts at pollen drift are contained, human error and mix-ups in laboratories occur.
The majority of consumers in the UK and EU don't want GM ingredients in their food and beverages due to health concerns. For more information visit:
Protect Yourself from Genetically Engineered Foods - http://www.seedsofdeception.com/DocumentFiles/32.doc
Should you object to the possibility that in the future South African wines may contain GM ingredients, kindly email the form letter below to any or all of the addresses listed below. We strongly recommend that you add your own wording and personalise the message and send it individually to each recipient.
Charmaine Treherne, National Co-ordinator of SAFeAGE, The South African Freeze Alliance on Genetic Engineering
P O Box 358, Woodstock, 7915, South Africa - Tel: + 27-21-447-8445 - Fax: +27-21-447-5974 - website: www.safeage.org
Dear Sir /Madam
In South Africa an application is under consideration for field trials for GM grapes for wine production. Since there is clear evidence that it is impossible to prevent GM crops from contaminating non-GM varieties (the recent contamination in the US by LL601 GM rice when grown in field trials of a substantial quantity of long grained rice shows this, as did the Starlink GM maize debacle it is clear that field trials in South Africa could contaminate South African wine.
Furthermore if these GM grapes were ever to be grown commercially then widespread GM contamination would be inevitable - so there is simply no point in allowing the trials to take place.
Because of the risk of GM contamination, if the current application to plant GM grapes in South Africa were successful, I would definitely not buy another bottle of South African wine, and I would ensure that friends joined me in a boycott.
We, as consumers, have thus far ensured that GM food products do not appear on our supermarket shelves since we are acutely aware of the health risks involved. This application in South Africa could be just the beginning of a renewed battle to keep GM in its many guises at bay.
Email addresses to which to send your message [In order of importance]:
Wines of South Africa UK Office. Sophie Waggett <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wines of South Africa Head Office, Su Birch <email@example.com>
[ Emails for WOSA offices in other countries are listed at www.wosa.co.za/contact.aspx ]
South African Wine Exporters, Pinotage Association <Pierre.firstname.lastname@example.org> KWV <email@example.com>
UK Wine Retailers, Majestic Wines <firstname.lastname@example.org> Oddbins <email@example.com> Corney & Barrow <firstname.lastname@example.org>
UK Supermarkets selling South African wine [Some need contacting via online forms at these URLs]
Marks & Spencer www2.marksandspencer.com/help/contact/contact.asp?q=onl
Waitrose www.waitrosewine.com/Help/Email.aspx or <email@example.com>
Tesco Customer Service, PO Box 73, Baird Avenue, Dryburgh Industrial Estate, Dundee. DD1 9NF Telephone 0845 7225533
Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC, Hilmore House, Gain Lane, Bradford BD3 7DL Telephone 0845 611 5000
Via Campesina occupation of Syngenta - Update from Darcy Frigo, Coordinator, Terra de Direitos, Curitiba, Brazil
Thank you to everyone who made the effort to mail a letter in support of the Via Campesina's occupation of Syngenta Seeds' experimental test site in Santa Teresa do Oeste, Paran, Brazil, to Governor Roberto Requiao. The Via Campesina, an international movement of peasant social movements, and Terra de Direitos, a Brazilian human rights NGO, appreciate your efforts.
Syngenta is one the largest multinational agribusiness corporations in the world, and in 2005, realized profits of US$ 8.1 billion. Syngenta has a long history of human rights abuses, environmental contamination and illegal activities, including the largest case of genetic contamination in history (for an in-depth report on Syngenta's history and crimes, please see the attached document written by Terra de Direitos).
The occupation occurred on the 14th of March, 2006, after the Via Campesina learned that Syngenta had illegally planted genetically modified (GMO) soy at the site, situated within a protected boundary zone of the IguaÁu Falls National Park, which was declared the Patrimony of Humanity by the United Nations in 1986. This occupation is a non-violent method for Brazil's rural poor and disenfranchised to demand that Brazil's natural resources be used to produce food and livelihoods for Brazilians - not to enrich the coffers of Syngenta's shareholders.
Under Brazilian law, in Article 186 of Brazil's constitution, land in Brazil must fulfill a social function. The Via Campesina argues that the land at Syngenta's experimental site was not fulfilling its social function because profits generated at the site do not go to the Brazilian people; they go to shareholders in the Global North. Additionally, Syngenta's illegal planting of GMO soy endangered Brazil's biodiversity, which can be viewed as a human rights abuse because it threatens traditional food sources and livelihoods. The Via Campesina occupied the land to demand that Governor Requiao expropriate the land and put it to a use that will fulfill its social function through the creation of a school for agroecology for small, rural farmers.
Thanks to your letters to Governor Requiao, the Via Campesina occupants remain at the site, protecting Brazil's biodiversity, demanding that their rights be respected - and costing Syngenta lots of money.
Syngenta is threatening to divest from the country, and continues to refuse to pay the $500,000 that the federal environmental agency has fined the corporation. Syngenta is also stepping up the pressure on Requiao to expel the occupants. In an attempt to criminalize the Via Campesina, this week Syngenta's lawyers in Brazil (the same lawyers that represent Monsanto) filed a police inquiry against six Via Campesina members, including the state leader of the Movement of the Landless Rural Workers (MST). Syngenta is also trying to compel a state judge on the side of agribusiness to fine Requiao US$10 million for each day that the
occupation continues. To his credit, Requiao has so far not expelled the occupants.
We are stepping up the pressure on Syngenta by asking you please send the... letter [below] to Pedro Rugeroni, the head of Syngenta in Brazil, as well as Syngenta's Board Members in Switzerland. This letter (in English) declares support for the Via Campesinaís occupation, demands that Syngenta pay the government's fine and obey federal environmental regulations, and that Syngenta stop criminalizing the Via Campesina and MST. It is important that these individuals understand that people and organizations outside of Brazil are aware of what is going on in the country.
To send the letter:
1. Cut and paste the... letter [below] into a blank email, inserting your name or the name of your organization into the highlighted areas.
2. Cut and paste this email into the 'address' line: Pedro.firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Cut and paste these emails into the 'cc' line:
4. Put Isabella@kenfield.us into the 'bcc' line so that Terra de Direitos can track this effort.
5. Hit send.
In advance, thank you for taking the time and effort to do this! It is very important!
Darcy Frigo, Coordinator
Terra de Direitos
Attention Mr. Rugeroni,
I, (insert name/organization here), write to you to declare that I support the Via Campesina's occupation of Syngenta Seeds in Santa Teresa do Oeste, in the state of Parana. The Via Campesina occupied the site after the federal government confirmed that Syngenta had illegally planted transgenic soy at the site.
Mr. Rugeroni, I am aware that Syngenta broke Brazilian federal environmental law by planting transgenic soy within the boundary area of the Iguaçu Falls National Park. Your corporation has endangered Brazilian biodiversity, and threatened the livelihoods of the rural poor. For this, I demand that you immediately pay the Brazilian Institute for the Environment (IBAMA) the fine that it has demanded. I also demand that Syngenta obey Brazil's federal environmental laws in the future.
I also demand that Syngenta immediately cease the criminalization of the Via Campesina and Movement of the Landless Rural Workers (MST) by retracting the criminal investigation you instigated this week. Under Article 184 in the Brazilian constitution, land in Brazil must serve its social function, and the land at Syngenta's experimental test site was not serving its social function. Thus, I believe the occupation of Syngenta is legal and just.
Thank you for your attention.
(insert name/organization here)
From the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside
As you may be aware, the new interest in the agricultural production of bio-fuels opens the door for GM oilseed rape and other GM seeds to be imported into European Countries for the purpose of processing into bio-fuels. At first glance this may not look like a problem, but the reality is that it can be a 'Trojan Horse' for contaminating the seed chain and by-passing existing controls.
WE THEREFORE URGE YOU TO SUPPORT OUR EFFORT TO PREVENT THIS HAPPENNING IN POLAND WHERE A STRONG POSITION HAS ALREADY BEEN TAKEN TO KEEP THE COUNTRY GMO FREE. BY SIGNING AND SENDING THE LETTER BELOW TO THE POLISH PRESIDENT, YOU WILL BE HELPING TO RAISE AWARNESS OF THIS DANGER AND KEEPING THE DOOR FIRMLY CLOSED TO ALL GMO IN POLAND.
With kind greetings
Jadwiga and Julian
ICPPC - International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside,
Miedzynarodowa Koalicja dla Ochrony Polskiej Wsi
34-146 Stryszów 156, Poland tel./fax +48 33 8797114
email@example.com - www.icppc.pl - www.gmo.icppc.pl - www.eko-cel.pl
Pan Prezydent Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej
Kancelaria Prezydenta RP
00-902 Warszawa, Poland
Fax.: +48 22 695-22-38,
We are writing to you concerning the Bio Fuel Act which has, we understand, just passed through the Upper and Lower houses (Sejm and Senat).
There is a serious danger that the passing of this act will allow into Poland large consignments of genetically modified oilseed rape seeds (and possible other GM seeds in the future) intended for processing into bio-fuels in Polish factories.
If these imports are accepted, there is a strong likely hood of cross contamination occurring through spillage and through the intentional or unintentional mixing of conventional and GM seeds.
All the good work done to keep GMOs out of Poland in the Seeds Act (which we understand is not stopping the import of GM seeds for industrial purposes) and the Animal Feed Act will be undermined if GM seeds are allowed into your Country for bio-fuels production.
We do not believe that it will be possible to maintain effective segregation of GM and non GM seeds once they are allowed into Poland. There is no visible distinction between them. This virtually guarantees GMO getting into the Polish food chain, to the environment(ex. spread during transport, packing) and quite possibility into agriculture, as they will be unwittingly planted on the assumption that they are conventional seeds.
A much better solution will be to encourage Polish farmers to grow their own biomass crops, without recourse to agrochemicals and mono cultural systems that destroy soil fertility and the rich biodiversity of the Polish countryside.
First and foremost, we strongly urge you to use your prerogative and not sign the current Bio Fuel Act until appropriate changes have been incorporated. In this way you will maintain the integrity of the excellent policies so far enacted, to keep Poland and Polish food completely free of GMO.
The future of maize under question
Mexico is the home of maize (corn) and has around 200 different varieties growing locally. But companies like Monsanto and Dow are trying to pressure Mexico to allow them to contaminate this natural diversity with GE maize.
We joined with local farmers in Mexico and sent a message by creating a huge crop circle in the shape of a question mark in a maize field to highlight the dangers of GE contamination.
You can send your own message to Mexican President Vicente Fox to ensure the home of maize remains GE free.
GET RID OF GM ANIMAL FEED - http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/real_food/press_for_change/gm_labelling/index.html
UK Government public consultation on GM 'coexistence' for England
After a delay of almost two years the Government public consultation on GM 'coexistence' for England was launched on 20 July. The Government is proposing weak measures that will allow contamination of conventional and organic crops, paving the way for biotech companies to get their crops grown.
There is until 20 October to get a maximum number of responses calling for no GM contamination of our food, farming and environment.
Go to - http://www.stopgmcontamination.org - to download a step-by-step guide which makes it easy to respond to the consultation. There is also an email action for those with not much time. Please circulate this link far and wide.
Note that this consultation is for England only. Consultations for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will follow in the next few weeks.
Organic Consumers Association launches, "Millions Against Monsanto" grassroots activism campaign - http://www.newstarget.com/019789.html
Sign the Millions Against Monsanto petition, demanding that the Monsanto Corporation:
Stop intimidating small family farmers.
Stop force-feeding untested and unlabeled genetically engineered foods on consumers.
Stop using billions of dollars of US taypayers' money to subsidize genetically engineered crops - cotton, soybeans, corn, and canola.
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) recently launched a grassroots campaign "to mobilize one million consumers to end Monsanto's global corporate terrorism."
The "Millions Against Monsanto" campaign website says it seeks to end the Monsanto Corporation's intimidation of small family farmers, its use of unlabeled genetically engineered (GE) foods in consumer products and its use of U.S. taxpayer money to subsidize GE crops such as corn, cotton and soybeans.
The OCA website for Millions Against Monsanto cites the experiences of small farmers such as Percy Schmeiser, a Canadian farmer whose crops were contaminated by a nearby field of Monsanto GE canola. Schmeiser was then sued by the corporation, which demanded he pay an expensive technology fee for the GE plants in his contaminated field.
Oakhurst Dairy - a company that produces milk from cows free of the synthetic hormone rBGH - was also sued by Monsanto, which claims the dairy should not be allowed to inform its customers that its products do not contain the Monsanto-patented chemical.
The campaign also calls for an end to Monsanto's environmental pollution, as well as the company's close ties to members of the federal government, which include Justice Clarence Thomas, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Anne Veneman and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, among others.
Consumers wishing to join the OCA action campaign can find more information at http://www.organicconsumers.org/monlink.html
In solidarity with the people of Peru
We want to send the letter below to Presidente Toledo (president of Peru) to petition him NOT to sign the law promoting biotechnology in Peru. We have received some editorial amendments to the first draft (the latest version is pasted below), but it is important that many more organisations sign up to it.
At the moment, we only have a few signatures, and we fear that maybe it will be end up being counter-productive to send a letter with so few signatories.
I ask this of you in solidarity with the people of Peru.
Open Letter to
SENOR ALEJANDRO TOLEDO MANRIQUE
CONSTITUTIONAL PRESIDENT OF PERU
The organisations signed below, members of the network for a GMO free South America, - RALLT (and their international colleagues) write this letter to you to express our concerns over the risks presented by the "Ley de Promocion de la Biotecnologia Moderna en el Peru", or the Law to Promote Modern Biotechnology in Peru, which was read in the Peruvian Congress on July 12th and seeks to promote the introduction of GMOs in Peru.
The network for a 'Latin America free from Transgenics' - RALLT- is made up of over 100 organisations representing environmental, consumer, small scale farmer and Indigenous groups, as well as academics who, conscious of the risks posed by the cultivation of transgenic crops, have united to oppose them, and who work to inform the public and raise awareness on their impacts
We have already seen that cultivation of GMOs have had devastating effects on food security, ecosystems and on families and local economies of several countries in South America. GMOs have been opposed everywhere in the world and have been rejected by the consumers in several countries, especially in the European Union, Japan and Korea, which has meant the closing of markets to the
While in the rest of the world the ongoing and serious debate on GMOs is focused on questions of biosecurity and risks in the use of genetic engineering, this Law seeks only to promote the development of this technology, ignoring the risks to the environment, agriculture and the health, justifing its position by a series of supposed benefits that have not been demonstrated. At the moment, commercialised GMOs have been engineered to tolerate herbicides (84% - which paradoxically has increased dramatically herbicide useage) or to give toxic resistance to insects (Bt). In both cases, they are failing in their intentions, since the weeds are developing resistance to the herbicides and insect pests are developing resistance to the toxins made by the transgenic plants.
Even if these facts are discounted, it is possible to demonstrate that GMOs are incompatible with ecological, organic and even 20th century 'conventional' agriculture. The coexistence of these agriculture systems is not possible because the use of GMOs introduces new risks that alter the ecological balance and food and seed processing systems have been shown to be unable to guarantee control of genetic contamination . Therefore this Law is incompatible with an effective application of the LEY DE FOMENTO Y PROMOCION DE LA AGRICULTURA ECOLOGICA Y ORGANICA - LAW OF PROMOTION and PROMOTION OF ECOLOGICAL and ORGANIC AGRICULTURE.
Peru as a country posseses an immensely rich cultural heritage, integrally rooted in the use and cultivation of its biodiversity which encompasses the agricultural systems and traditions of its many different and diverse regions. Agriculturalists can find answers to their agronómic problems using this rich existing biodiversity.
Peru is a center of origin and diversity of plants that now feed the world such as potato, casava, tomato, maize and others of industrial importance like cotton, (all of which are objects of the genetic manipulation). Peru is, in addition, the centre of orgin as far as the diversity of the potato, Andean sweet potato and many grains, has 623 species of fruit trees, 1408 species of known medicinal plants, 78 species of biopesticidas plants, as well as dyes, condiments (spices) and aromas. (Brack, 2005).
The introduction of transgenic crops would put at risk this heritage of the Peruvian people, indeed of humanity, because the thousands of traditional (and even the conventional) varieties that are seeded in Peruvian fields would be exposed to genetic contamination, as has already happened in Mexico to countless traditional varieties of maize.
This proposed law constitutes an open invitation not only for the introduction of transgenic crops into Peru, which would have serious impacts in these traditional systems, but also could turn Peru into an experimental testing ground for technologies neither approved nor accepted in other parts of the world, as was exemplified in a recent press story exposing the experimentation done with Peruvian infants with genetically engineered proteins that have not been evaluated nor approved anywhere else in the world.
In respect of fishing and aquaculture, another sector covered by the proposed law, we would like to stress that the scientific community everywhere in the world has expressed its doubts and preoccupations about the development of genetically modified fish, because (among other reasons,) it is impossible to assure secure confinement, and escapes would put in danger populations in the wild, through cross breeding. This would constitute a serious problem for Peru, a country that depends strongly on international fish exports.
For all of these reasons, RALLT presents the position of many organisations, (both) in Peru and internationally that in their opinion, this proposed law should not be approved, and ask you to intervene in this matter.
Tell NZ Govt. to shape up on biosafety protocol - http://www.greenpeace.org.nz/campaigns/ge/biosafety-action.asp
10-Mar-2006 : The Biosafety Protocol is an important safeguard against harm to biodiversity and human health and has been ratified by over 130 countries including New Zealand. But NZ Government representatives have recently blocked consensus on strong wording in the Protocol and seem to be siding with the big GE producers such as the US. On top of this NZ is supporting Canada's call to lift the current global de-facto ban on field trials of sterile seed technology or "Terminator" seeds. Around the world 1.4 billion people (mostly poor) depend on farm saved seed for food and that's what Terminator threatens.
Tell NZ Govt. to shape up on biosafety protocol
The Biosafety Protocol is an important UN agreement which requires countries to take precautionary measures to stop Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) from causing harm to biodiversity and human health. The Protocol has been ratified by over 130 countries including New Zealand, but NZ representatives have recently blocked consensus on strong wording in the Protocol and seeming to side with the big GE producers such as the US. On top of this NZ is supporting Canada 's call to lift the global de-facto ban on field trials of sterile seed technology or "Terminator". Around the world 1.4 billion people (mostly poor) depend on farm saved seed for food and that's what Terminator threatens.
Please use this form to send a message to the NZ Government asking them to shape up on bio safety and stop Terminator!
Biosafety Protocol - Tue, 14 Mar 2006
From: Adrian Bebb firstname.lastname@example.org
We urgently need to take action against the New Zealand government who are attempting to block the Biosafety Protocol from being implemented. The negotiations are currently taking place in Curitiba in Brazil. We would like to ask you to send either a fax or, if not possible, an email to the New Zealand Prime Minister.
The key issue is whether developing countries will have the right to know whether shipments coming into their country contain genetically modified organisms. If they do not know if a shipment has GMOs in then they cannot implement any biosafety legislation. Their food and environment will become contaminated.
We have attached below a draft letter. Please feel free to edit it into your own words. Please send a fax as soon as possible. If you cannot then please send an email.
For further information on the Protocol: http://www.haerlin.org/bsp/news//index.html
FAX Number: +64 4 473 3579
Helen Clark email@example.com
Hon Parekura Horomia firstname.lastname@example.org
Hon Jim Anderton email@example.com
Hon Phil Goff firstname.lastname@example.org
Hon David Benson-Pope email@example.com
Hon Chris Carter firstname.lastname@example.org
Hon Lianne Dalziel email@example.com
Don’t block the world from strong biosafety laws
Dear Prime Minister Helen Clark
I am writing to express my grave concern that New Zealand intends to play a blocking role on the issue of identification and documentation of genetically modified organisms in food and feed at the Biosafety Protocol meeting currently being held in Curitiba, Brazil.
The Biosafety Protocol was born out of the visionary objectives of the Rio Earth Summit and is focused on protecting the world’s magnificent biodiversity and human health from the risks associated with trade in genetically modified organisms.
There are indications that New Zealand delegates instead intend to undermine consensus, as they did already at MOP2 in Montreal in 2005, and shut down agreement on precise and efficient wording within article 18.2(a) of this all-important environmental Protocol.
I am very concerned that New Zealand may remain the only nation prepared to block an international standard, designed to provide equal rights of information and protection from the risks of GMOs to all citizens of the world.
The Protocol is most important for the world’s poorest nations who often lack dedicated biosafety legislation and the complex biosecurity infrastructure that New Zealand enjoys. These nation’s food security and biodiversity are most at risk from unidentified and potentially illegal imports of GMOs for food feed and processing.
In the spirit of New Zealand’s good reputation as an international citizen, defender of the environment and advocate of sustainable development and the right of nations to know what is entering their borders, I urge you to ensure that the New Zealand delegation in Brazil actively seek a constructive solution to securing consensus on this core environmental treaty.
Biosafety Protocol MOP 3 - Cyberaction: Letter to Lula
Two very important conferences are coming up: the 8th meeting of the 188 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity from 20-31 March (COP-8) and the 3rd meeting of the 132 Parties to the supplementary Biosafety Protocol, also known as the Cartagena Protocol (MOP-3) from 13 to 17 March, both to take place in Curitiba, Brazil.
During the 3rd Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol, to be held in Curitiba, from 13 to 17 March, the Protocol member states will finally have to decide on methods of identification and documentation for all international shipments of genetically engineered organisms (GMOs).
Just a few days remain before the Meeting, however the Brazilian Government, host to the event, has not yet disclosed its position to the civil society. This is a worrisome situation, especially considering that, at the second meeting of the Parties, Brazil, together only with New Zealand, blocked agreement and stood in the way of international consensus.
Action: Please send letters to President Lula and his ministers urging them not to stand in the way of meaningful identification and labelling of GMOs for food, feed and processing. Spread as widely and as fast aspossible.
ENGLISH Direct link to the cyber-action: - http://www.greenpeace.org.br/biosseguranca/?lang=en&ref=GPI
PORTUGUESE Direct link to the cyber-action: - http://www.greenpeace.org.br/biosseguranca/?lang=pt&ref=GPI
Email your Minister against WTO decision on GMOs
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) released its provisional ruling on the GMO trade dispute to the countries involved. The ruling is a mixed bag. The US-led coalition failed to win many of their arguments against Europe. But the WTO has partly sided with the US and biotech companies, ruling that the European national GM bans are a barrier to free trade and WTO-illegal. The US, Argentina and Canada had filed a legal challenge at the WTO against the European Union. They claimed that EU measures to protect consumers and the environment from the risks posed by GM food and crops were blocking trade in GM products. This case is a desperate attempt by the biotech companies to force feed us to eat GM food.
Email your Ministers for Trade and Environment to stand up to the WTO and protect our right to restrict GM crops and foods at: http://www.bite-back.org/objection/our_food.php
Thanks a lot for your time!
Best wishes, Carmen Olmedo
Bite Back: WTO Hands off our food! Campaign
Friends of the Earth Europe - http://www.bite-back.org - http://www.foeeurope.org
Online petition against GM potatoes in Ireland
Sign the petition against the imminent field-testing of GM potatoes at or near the Teagasc Grange Research Centre at Arodstown, Summerhill, Co. Meath. The location is near the Hill of Tara in the Boyne Valley, one of the oldest cultivated sites in the world. Go to http://gmfreeireland.org/action/index.php
GM-free Ireland petition now ready for online signature - GM-free Ireland Network - 19 January 2006 To: GM-free Ireland Network
We invite you to sign the GM-free Ireland Petition online at http://www.gmfreeireland.org/action
Michael O’Callaghan, Co-ordinator, GM-FREE IRELAND NETWORK, Little Alders. Knockrath, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow. Ireland
tel: + 353 404 43 885 - fax: + 353 404 43 887 - mobile: + 353 87 799 4761 - email: firstname.lastname@example.org - website: www.gmfreeireland.org
The GM-free Ireland Petition form, which can also be downloaded as a small PDF file from the home page of our website, or directly from http://www.gmfreeireland.org/petition/GMFIpetition1.pdf
The GM-free Ireland Network is now collecting signatures for this petition requesting Bertie Ahern, Mary Coughlan and Dick Roche to protect our health, environment and food security by legal action to keep Ireland free of genetically modified (GM) animal feed, seeds, trees, crops, livestock, fish and food.
Please print out the form, collect signatures, and return it to us as soon as you can by post to:
GM-free Ireland Network, Little Alders, Knockrath, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow.
I suggest you print multiple copies of the second page when collecting signatures.
Michael O’Callaghan, Co-ordinator, GM-FREE IRELAND NETWORK
Greenpeace GM Free Feed Petition - http://www.greenpeace.org/gefeedpetition
BAN TERMINATOR SEEDS - JOIN THE GLOBAL CAMPAIGN
Please circulate widely and get involved. (posted October 2005) - http://www.banterminator.org - (English, Español, en français)
Terminator Technology - "Suicide seeds" are back! Your action is needed.
Unfortunately Terminator is not yesterday's news. Corporations and governments are again pushing hard to commercialize Terminator technology - plants that are genetically modified to render sterile seeds at harvest. The Canadian government tried to overturn the international (United Nations) de facto moratorium on Terminator in February 2005. To meet this new crisis and re-build global opposition, we ask you to join the new Ban Terminator Campaign and take action with us.
Mobilization is needed now to pressure governments to ban Terminator nationally and internationally. There are two important United Nations meetings coming up where debates on Terminator are planned. We will work to establish a ban on Terminator at the major meetings of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity: January 23-27 in Spain and March 20-31 in Brazil.
Your action is needed NOW to make this happen.
We ask individuals, communities and groups across the world to take action locally, nationally, and internationally as part of the new global strategy.
Many of you are working to secure Farmers' Rights, food sovereignty and the self-determination of your peoples and communities. You have successfully opposed Terminator in the past. Please add Terminator to your campaign work now - and please add your work and voices to the Ban Terminator Campaign.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Groups and communities please "Endorse the Campaign" so we can show governments how strong the global opposition is http://www.banterminator.org/take_action/sign_on_to_ban_terminator
- Subscribe to receive Action Alerts and breaking news so that you can take immediate action when it is needed the most
- Join with others in your area to pressure your government to ban Terminator nationally and at the United Nations. We can help provide materials and contacts.
- Organize events and actions - Become a Ban Terminator contact and organizer.
- Share information on Terminator in your community so that we can work together
- Pass a resolution in your group or community against Terminator to communicate your protest and reasons clearly for all to see
- Visit http://www.banterminator.org for action ideas, information and campaign materials
Your input is important to us - join the strategy - participate in the campaign.
COMING SOON! to www.banterminator.org : "Select Your Country" Action and Frequently Asked Questions
HOW YOU CAN CONTACT US:
Full contact details are below.
Purpose: The Ban Terminator Campaign seeks to promote government bans on Terminator technology at the national and international levels, and supports the efforts of civil society, farmers, Indigenous peoples and social movements to campaign against it.
Strategy: The international de facto moratorium on Terminator technology at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is under attack. Two upcoming meetings of the CBD where Terminator is on the agenda - the Working Group on Article 8 (j) in Granada, Spain January 23-27 and the 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the CBD in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil March 20-31 2006 - offer important opportunities to strengthen the moratorium. The build-up to these meetings is also an important opportunity to encourage governments to establish national prohibitions on Terminator technology - just as Brazil and India have done. Corporations will not stop their efforts to commercialize Terminator until governments prohibit the technology.
Origins: The Ban Terminator Campaign was initiated in response to recent efforts by governments and corporations to push for Terminator field trials and commercialization. Despite widespread opposition, in February 2005, the Canadian government attempted to overturn the CBD's international de facto moratorium on Terminator technology. The Ban Terminator Campaign was formed in response, following discussions initiated by Canadian-based civil society organizations (ETC group, Inter Pares, National Farmers Union, and USC Canada).
History: In 1998, ETC group (then RAFI) discovered Terminator patents. In 1999, in response to the avalanche of public opposition, two of the world's largest seed and agrochemical corporations, Monsanto and AstraZeneca (now Syngenta), publicly vowed not to commercialize Terminator seeds. In 2000, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a de facto moratorium on Terminator seeds. As a result, many people believed that the crisis had passed, and the issue faded from public view. Unfortunately, Terminator is still being developed and is now being heavily promoted.
The Ban Terminator Campaign's steering committee:
AS-PTA - Assessoria e Serviços a Projectos em Agricultura Alternativa www.aspta.org.br
ETC Group - Action group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration www.etcgroup.org
Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism www.ipcb.org
ITDG - Intermediate Technology Development Group www.itdg.org
Pesticide Action Network - Asia and the Pacific www.panap.net
Third World Network www.twnside.org.sg www.biosafety-info.net
Via Campesina www.viacampesina.org
Ban Terminator Campaign email@example.com www.banterminator.org
431 Gilmour Street, Second Floor, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2P 0R5 Phone: 1 613 241 2267 Fax: 1 613 241 2506
Ban Terminator Campaign - see reports page.
Supermarkets failure to phase out GM animal feed could threaten the availability of non-GM ingredients in our food. See this FoE link:
GM_FREE_BRITAIN: 13-18 June: GM extravaganza needs you! - Call to action on GM animal feed - GM-free chocolate could depend on it!
Below is some information about an exciting week long extravaganza of street theatre and protests, outside Sainsbury's HQ, against GM animal feed. Please have a read and help out if you can:
* Join in with the actions in London between 13 and 17 June in London (for more details ring the Genetic Engineering Network on 01803 840098).
* Write to the supermarkets demanding they stop selling GM-fed animal products, details are at the end of this email
* Forward this to anyone else who might be interested
The GM-free Britain newsletter will be back in its usual format next month
The Milk Monitor- 13 ˆ 17 June 2005 - A week long extravaganza of street theatre and protests against GM animal feed. http://www.milkmonitor.co.nr/
The campaign against Genetically Modified crops has been incredibly successful, but the continuing import of GM to feed European livestock now threatens to undermine much of what has been achieved in making Britain‚s shelves GM free. To encourage supermarkets to keep their commitment to stop selling GM fed meat and dairy a wide range of organisations have come together to hold morning vigils outside Sainsbury‚s Head Quarters in central London.
Because this is a rapid response to a new development we really need all the help we can get. We appreciate that it‚s short notice, but please join us in reminding the big retailers that until the problem goes away, we won‚t either.
What follows should tell you all you need to know about the issues, the strategy, and how you can get involved.
Last year a coalition of independent farmers unions and activists formed to try and persuade Sainsbury's to keep its promise to phase out GM. The idea is that if one supermarket bows to pressure the others will follow. There are plenty of good reasons for starting with Sainsbury's, not least because Lord Sainsbury the UK science minister has huge investment in biotechnology and has actively promoted it while in government. Paradoxically the chain also view themselves as the quality end of the market, and were one of the first supermarkets to promote organics.
After several months of campaigning from the coalition and Greenpeace, Sainsbury's started selling a trial range of non GM fed milk in 190 of its stores. Sainsbury's are due to decide in early June whether or not to extend the trial range or discontinue it. If Sainsbury's slide on their trial at this stage, it will be extremely hard to convince the other major supermarkets to start phasing out GM. If on the other hand they extend it, an increasingly viable market for non-GM feed will be created.
What's the plan?
The plan is to do a series of demonstrations outside Sainsbury's massive HQ in central London. It should provide interesting photos for the media to hang the story on, and is conveniently located just one block down from Fleet Street It's also hoped that it will give Sainsbury's decision makers a clear idea of how many different groups of people are concerned about GM animal feed. Every day staff coming to work will be greeted by the sight of a specific group of people demonstrating a specific problem with GM animal feed who will distribute a daily moosletter‚ leaflet, explaining who the group is and the concern they wish to convey. (these will be produced for the groups by the Genetic Engineering Network, but please contact us if you want to contribute text or images.)
Monday 13th - The Womens Institute will be knitting banners, handing out milk and biscuits and talking about the lack of labeling for GM fed milk. A recent survey by the Fair Price for GM Free Milk Coalition showed that 99% of Sainsbury's shoppers think milk from cows fed GM should be labeled as such.
Tues 14th - Samba bands will be accompanying Brazilian dancers in full chocolate headgear regalia who will be talking about Brazils new legislation and the need for supermarkets to make contracts with non GM Brazilian soya farmers, to ensure a future supply. They will also be raising the devastating impact GM soya production has had on the communities and ecosystems of Argentina. Meet the previous night at Rampart Street.
Wednesday 15th - Farmers, and a herd of pantomime cows (more bovines needed, no special skills necessary) will be pointing out the lack of liability legislation and insurance for the risks associated with GM (especially in the aftermath of BSE), and reminding Sainsbury's that they need to be paid a fairer price for their milk if they‚re to buy the more expensive non-GM feed. Meet the previous night at Greenpeaces‚ HQ.
Thursday 16th - Circa's contamination clowns will be laughing at the idea that you can have safe uncontaminated GM imports, and will be talking about the risks associated with recent mix ups, like BT10. They may even, rumor has it, be escorting the UK's ex-environment minister and articulate GM opponent, Micheal Meacher. Meet the previous night at Rampart Street.
Friday 17th - Mums, dads, babies and small kids will be pointing out the long term safety concerns expressed by many families, and highlighting the fact that Sainsbury's has still not delivered on a 4 year old promise to phase out the use of GM feed. (rumor has it that the celebrated family band Seize the Day will be attending) Meet the previous night at Greenpeaces HQ.
Why mid June?
This week has been chosen because of its proximity to the European wide GM solidarity day called by French farmers on June 18th.
How it will work
The vigils are intended to be a sincere and surreal way of engaging with Sainsbury's staff and the public, and will last for about an hour, starting at 8am and finish at 9am. Video activists will be on hand to record the spectacle, and peoples views. At the end of the week these will be converted into a video letter to be sent to Sainsbury's chief executive. The website www.milkmonitor.co.nr will report each morning and give everyone a chance to see how they fit into the week's events.
If possible people should arrive the night before, as there will be an hours planning meeting from 8pm-9pm to give people a chance get to know each other and to ensure everyone has what they need and knows where they're going.
Directions to the meeting places are:
Greenpeace, Greenpeace, Canonbury Villas, London, N1 2PN.
Get off at the Angel tube, go along Upper Street and take the right fork onto Essex Road. Five or ten minutes down, passed the stuffed animal shop, and off to your left will be the beginnings of a strip of park with boulders and a footpath, at the end of there turn left and you'll be at RampART, 15-17 Rampart Street, London E1 2LA. Get off at Whitechapel tube and turn left. At the major junction with traffic lights, turn left again, and at the bottom of the longish stretch with lots of kids cloths shops turn left. You should be on Commercial Road. Cross at the lights, and Rampart is a tiny road to your right. It takes about 15 minutes.
Accommodation can be arranged for those who need it, though if you can stay with friends or relatives that would be helpful. The good people of Rampart Street can offer floor space in their inspiring squatted social centre. There will also be more conventional rest space available in peoples homes, but if you require this it would be appreciated if you could let us know as soon as possible.
Travel expenses can be covered if needed, by retaining all petrol receipts or travel tickets and posting them to PO Box 77 Totnes Devon, TQ9 5UA. with your address. If you need cheep coach travel to and from London try megabus.com - you have to book tickets on line, and they only run from the more major cities, but you really can get a single ticket for one pound fifty if you book far enough in advance - they go up to a tenner if you book very late.
The campaign is supported by the GM Freeze, Friends of the Earth, the Genetic Engineering Network, the Fair Price for GM Free Milk Coalition and the National Federation of Women‚s Institutes.
Please consider coming along for a morning, and passing this information on to anyone else you know who may be interested in getting involved.
To get in touch or for more details ring the Genetic Engineering Network on 01803 840098.
The text of the leaflet that will be handed out to the public:
Your milk comes from cows fed GM. It's not labelled, it's not tested, and it could mean the end for GM free chocolate... .
In 2000 all the major supermarkets made commitments to phase out the use of GM feed to the animals which produce their meat and dairy products, but tonnes of GM animal feed are still being shipped into the UK to feed the animals that supply the milk in most supermarkets.
Is it Safe?
There have been no published independent safety tests to find out what effect eating GM may have on cows, or on the people that drink their milk. No one will insure against the risks associated with GM feed because of this lack of data. Yet the government's Food Standards Agency continues to issue assurances that it is safe to feed GM crops to cattle. An official report published in 2005 strongly criticised the food safety regulatory body for it's unbalanced attitude to GM food and feed. In March 2005 it was revealed that an illegal variety of GM maize (Bt10) may have been imported into Britain. The Food Standards Agency failed to respond quickly to this news and consumers were only protected when the EU banned all imports of maize from the USA until proven to be free of Bt10 contamination. The latest news is that Monsanto's own research showed changes to rats fed with GM maize. This research was kept secret by the company until revealed in May 2005.
How feeding cows GM could leave you snacking on GM
Pressure from the public has ensured that there are virtually no GM ingredients on supermarket shelves. Many processed foods contain soya, but this has been bought from Brazil, which until recently was a reliable source of non GM crops. However, a change in Brazilian law means that from now on many larger farms may start growing GM. Eighty percent of the soya grown in Brazil goes to animal feed. If GM crops for feed are grown on a large scale these will cross pollinate with their non-GM neighbours, contaminating future seed stocks. Non GM soya grown for animal feed is also the source of products such as soya oil and lecithin used in human food. An expansion of GM soya would leave us with little or no non-GM soya for animal feed or for biscuits, chocolate, and many other favorite foods.
What can be done?
Supermarkets need to place firm orders with growers in Brazil for non-GM soya for animal feed and ingredients. Then Brazilian farmers will have an incentive to stay GM free. Marks & Spencer already sell non-GM fed milk, showing that it can be done. The Co-op are currently phasing out milk from GM fed cows. Other ways to be certain of avoiding GM fed dairy products are to buy organic, or the non-GM fed trial range in selected Sainsbury's
Please write to your supermarket and explain that you want animal products like milk to be non-GM fed as standard, and ask for a deadline by which they intend to implement this. Tell them to make agreements with the soya producers of Brazil now.
Tesco Head Office, Tesco House, Delamare Road, Cheshunt, EN8 9SL. tel: 0800 505 555 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Customer Services, ASDA House, Southbank, Great Wilson Street, Leeds, LS11 5AD tel: 0500 100 055 Email via web page: http://www.asda.co.uk
Justin King, J Sainsbury plc, 33 Holborn, London, ECIN 2HT. tel: 0800 636 262 Email via website: http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/contactus/
Customer Service Department, Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc, Parry Lane, Bradford, BD4 8TD. tel: 01622 712987
CANADIAN GOVT DENIES VISA FOR CHIEF AFRICAN BIOSAFETY NEGOTIATOR - PROTEST!
The Canadian government has denied a visa to the chief African biosafety negotiator, preventing him from attending a vital Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety meeting in Montreal, 25 -27 May 2005.
Demand that the Canadian Government issue a visa immediately.
The Protocol is the United Nations treaty that governs the international movement of genetically modified (GM) organisms. Dr. Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, the Ethiopian government's chief expert and its representative to the Montreal-based UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) had his passport returned without the requested Canadian visa yesterday after a long delay, and without explanation.
The renowned scientist submitted his passport to the Canadian embassy on May 5 and had planned to fly to Oslo, Norway for inter-regional negotiations prior to attending the Montreal meetings that begin Wednesday, May 25. Because his passport was returned May 17, Dr. Tewolde was also forced to miss the Oslo meeting.
To demand that the Canadian government issue a visa to Dr. Tewolde immediately, please e-mail, call or fax:
Hon. Pierre Pettigrew, Minister of Foreign Affairs, - Email:Pettigrew.P@parl.gc.ca - Telephone (613) 995-8872 - Fax: (613) 995-9926
Hon. Andy Mitchell ,Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, - Mitchell.A@parl.gc.ca - Telephone:(613) 996-3434 - Fax: (613) 991-2147
Hon. Stéphane Dion, Minister of the Environment, - email@example.com - Telephone: (613) 996-5789 - Fax: (613) 996-6562
Hon. Hon. Joseph Volpe, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration - Volpe.J@parl.gc.ca - Telephone: (613) 992- 6361 Fax: (613) 992-9791
Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher has been denied access to Canada to attend the COP/MOP 2 meeting in Montreal, 30 May-3 June 2005, the next important round of the negotiations on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Please view his statement and support his stand here.
http://act.greenpeace.org/ams/e?a=1756&s=gen2Free Thailand's Papaya Activists!
In July of 2004, Greenpeace exposed illegal contamination of Thailand's papaya crop by Genetically Engineered seeds from an agricultural research station. Today, instead of prosecuting the scientists responsible for the crime, the Thai Department of Agriculture is persecuting two Greenpeace activists, threatening jail terms of up to five years.
Write to the Prime Minister of Thailand and ask that the government go after the real criminals, and set free Patwajee Srisuwan and Dr Jiragorn Gajaseni, who have protected Thailand's environment and agriculture from the spread of GMO contamination.
Complete the form here: http://act.greenpeace.org/ams/e?a=1756&s=gen2
The destruction of GE papaya field trials of the DOA's Khonkaen research station as well as in farms that were contaminated showed that Thailand cared very much for its reputation as the Kitchen of the World.
The GE papaya contamination case, however, is far from over.
When the investigation conducted by the Human Rights Committee confirmed the GE papaya contamination, there should have a been a recall of all papaya seeds sold by DOA's research station, destruction of all papaya plants suspected to be contaminated, the closure of all GE papaya field trails, and punishment of DOA officials who have perpetrated such widespread contamination.
Clearly, the DOA has violated the Quaratine Act and the cabinet ban on GMOs. All evidence suggests that the DOA's Khonkaen research station was the source of GE papaya contamination in Thailand.
The DOA, however, is left unpunished and is pursuing this legal case to prevent Greenpeace from further exposing its role in this scandal.
The DOA should withdraw this case against the Greenpeace activists and instead pursue legal action against government officials who have caused havoc in Thai papaya farms.
INDIA'S BIOTECHNOLOGY POLICY
Indian Government has circulated the draft National Biotechnology Strategy for public comments by May 16, 2005. Thereafter this draft will be finalised for implementation.
This draft can be viewed at http://dbtindia.nic.in/biotechstrategy/Biotech%20strategy.doc
Suggestions and comments can be sent to the panel chairman and secretary, department of biotechnology, Dr MK Bhan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr MK Bhan (Office) 24362950 / 24362881 Dr MK Bhan (Residence) 26964173 These Tele Nos pertains to Delhi, India. Please apply city code/ country code
Indian Society for Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development
GM-free Britain update - February/March 2005 - Ask Margaret Beckett to bite back - and say no to GMO contamination
The European Commission's response to the US complaint to the World Trade Organisation about Europe's cautious approach to GM food has been simply to bend to WTO pressure by attempting to overturn national bans on GM food or crops. A recent attempt to do just this was defeated. Now the proposals are to be discussed at the EU Council of Environment Ministers' meeting. UK Environment Minister, Margaret Beckett, will be attending and it's vital that she votes to keep our right to choose GM free food. Email Beckett online at
GM Free Britain - http://www.gmfreebritain.com
1,000 IRISH GM-FREE ZONES TO BE LAUNCHED ON 22 APRIL, EARTH DAY 2005
If you can support the GM-free Ireland Network go to - http://www.gmfreeireland.org
To support the U.S. dairy association standing up to Monsanto over its genetically engineered growth hormone: http://www.organicconsumers.org/rbgh/tillamook.cfm
A Center for Food Safety Call to Action - February 18, 2005
Please fax or email your comments today and forward to everyone you know in Missouri!
A small pharmaceutical company called Ventria Biosciences is attempting to plant its varieties of genetically engineering pharmaceutical rice - engineered with human genes - in the bootheel of Missouri, the heart of the state's rice-producing region. They have applied to the US Department of Agriculture for permits to grow up to 204 acres of their rice, and hope to plant it this spring.
The US Food and Drug Administration has not certified that this rice is safe for human consumption, and their policy states that drugs in food is unacceptable. However, many scientists, rice farmers and regulators acknowledge that it is impossible to guarantee that contamination of the food supply won't happen. The Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council is opposed to the planting of this rice, and the National Food Processors Association demands "no use of food or feed crops for plant-made pharmaceutical production without a '100% guarantee' against any contamination."
One year ago, Ventria attempted to plant their drug-producing rice in California. A huge outcry from rice farmers, environmentalists, consumers, and legislators forced the California Department of Food and Agriculture to delay a decision, which prevented the planting in 2004. Ventria has since moved its operations to Missouri, where it expects to meet with less resistence and regulations.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture will ultimately have the authority to stop the planting of Ventria's rice, protect the food supply from contamination by drugs, and protect the economic well-being of rice farmers. But they need to hear from from you to influence their decision.
The letter below demands that the Director of Agriculture call for a 30-day comment period to hear from all concerned constituents about this important issue. Please fax or email it right away - time is of the essence since the rice could be planted as early as April 2005.
Email your letter to email@example.com , Attn: Mr. Ferrell, Director. Or, if you prefer, you can fax your letter to (573) 751-1784 or (573) 751-5002.
Fred Ferrell, Director
Missouri Department of Agriculture
PO Box 630
1616 Missouri Boulevard
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102
Dear Mr. Ferrell,
[state your business or organization, profession, etc.]. I/We am/are very concerned about the proposed introduction into Missouri of drug-producing pharmaceutical rice produced by Ventria Biosciences. Such an introduction puts the integrity, economy, and reputation of the rice industry at risk, and presents a threat to the safety of the food supply.
Currently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reviewing applications from Ventria Biosciences to plant up to 204.5 acres of pharmaceutical rice in southeastern Missouri (the main rice growing region of the state) under three field trial permits. The Missouri Department of Agriculture will have the opportunity to concur, not concur, or suggest changes to the conditions of the field trial permits.
The recombinant human proteins produced by these pharmaceutical rice varieties have not been assessed or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although Ventria Biosciences has sought FDA approval for unintended or "adventitious presence" of the pharmaceutical rice in human food, they have not obtained that approval, and are not required to obtain it prior to planting the pharmaceutical rice in Missouri. Ventria is assuring state officials, farmers and food companies that food-grade rice will not be contaminated by its pharmaceutical rice varieties. Yet in a letter to the FDA dated Nov. 24, 2003, Ventria Vice-President Delia R. Bethell states: "In addition, we recognize the possibility of the inadvertent introduction of LF164 [pharmaceutical rice] at low, adventitious levels into commercial rice varieties."
Although buffer strips may reduce the risk of cross-pollination, pharmaceutical rice grains could be dispersed large distances from the production site during transportation to and from fields, in irrigation water, through vectoring by wildlife, as the result of extreme weather events, during the handling stages, via equipment usage (even if dedicated equipment is stipulated), or as the result of human error or negligence. The result of almost certain contamination will be the presence of unapproved drugs in our food supply.
The proposed production of this pharmaceutical food crop is planned to occur at a time when many scientific, food manufacturing, and agricultural organizations are opposing the use of food crops for drug production. This is an issue of great significance to the entire rice industry in the South, the agricultural economy of the region, to the environment, and to domestic and foreign consumers of American rice.
Neither Ventria Biosciences nor their partners Northwest Missouri State University solicited input from rice industry members in Missouri or neighboring rice producing states. Given the significant economic issues at stake for the rice industry of Missouri and the region, their input must be solicited. Also, because of the potential human and environmental health impacts, it is incumbent upon you to consider the concerns of the citizens of Missouri at large, and consumers of Missouri rice internationally. Therefore, I urge you, prior to your decision on the USDA field trial permit, to submit a request to the Governor to execute an executive order mandating a minimum 30 day public comment and hearing period.
Thank you for your careful consideration of this matter.
From: "Carrie Stebbings" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Organization: Five Year Freeze - 13 Jan 2005
Consumer Organisation Which? are launching a 'GM - don't lose the right to choose' online action on their website to add fuel to the co-existence consultation. The action involves sending an email to Mrs Beckett asking her to protect our right to GM-free food.
The url is http://www.which.net/campaigns/food/gm/gmaction.html
Carrie Stebbings, Co-ordinator FIVE YEAR FREEZE CAMPAIGN, 94 White Lion Street, London, N1 9PF -
Tel: 020 7837 0642, Fax: 020 7837 1141 - email@example.com http://www.fiveyearfreeze.org
GM Tree Watch Network
-Initiative letter for involved activists
We have asked the signatories of the global ban on GM trees petition campaign to join in a network study monitoring the releases of GM trees and have asked for information about the GM tree situation in different countries.
This letter is now posted for all of you who responded or have earlier been somehow supporting this campaign.
Great thanks for your existence!
..........I also post this message for the quite parallel campaign by Global Justice and Ecology and the GE tree list they have opened. I hope that all GM tree campaigns can have good synergy and cooperation creating this GM tree campaigning and monitoring network which we now really need.
Here are some suggestions for cooperation:
1. Join in GE tree e-mail list
We need an e-mail list and I suggest that this existing GE tree list would be the list for all GM tree movements and activists to work together. If you are interested to join in that list please send your message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
'2. Building the databases on GM trees
We also ask all of you to continue creating the GM tree databases on People´s Forest Forum´s interactive working sites.
Please view the discussion for monitoring the situation on this site: http://elonmerkki.net/dyn/forum/topic/?catid=106
We also hope that you follow this public GM tree forum on the site - http://elonmerkki.net/forestforum - updated by interesting news and reports you find or produce. Just visit the site and at the end of it open a new discussion for the material you want to present. The address for this GM tree forum is: http://elonmerkki.net/dyn/forum/topic/?catid=71
I think that together with these tools we can quite easily keep ourselves updated and also achieve cooperation for global campaigning."
Support the call to keep Paraguay GM free - http://www.foei.org/cyberaction/paraguay.php
On October 2004, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock issued a resolution authorizing the addition of four species of genetically modified soy for the purpose of commercial production to the Cultivation Registry of Paraguay of four species of transgenic soy in the Registry of Crops of Paraguay, despite the opposition of environmental, human rights and rural civil society organizations in Paraguay.
This resolution ignores the active opposition by organized peasant communities who have campaigned against GM soya and the use of toxics in agriculture, which have already caused serious problems, including deaths among members of peasant families affected by this type of cultivation. It is a threat to the practices of crop selection, the oldest in human history, which are still safe and efficient in producing food for the majority of the world's population
Civil society groups in Paraguay are outraged by the Ministry's decision and they have expressed their absolute opposition to the resolution. They are making a call on the Minister to listen to and to take into account their arguments against GMO crops in hopes that he will consequently override his decision.
Please take part of this action and support the "Transgenic-free Paraguay" campaign that SOBREVIVIENCIA, Friends of the Earth Paraguay, is undertaking in coordination with other civil society organizations to oppose genetically modified crops. This campaign is part of the Friends of te Earth International campaign against genetically modified organisms.
Please send a letter to the Minister of Agriculture of Paraguay to request an immediate reconsideration of his decision.
Help Mauritius! - http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=4573
Help stop Mauritius being dragged into a system that will damage its biodiversity and farmers rights.
Mauritius is about to sign up to the Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV). UPOV does nothing to protect plant varieties - the basis of the world's food supply - but rather allows the corporate take-over of plant breeding.
UPOV gives plant breeders a legal monopoly over seeds and therefore allows them to collect bigger profits from farmers for genetic innovations. There are terrible problems associated with this kind of 'intellectual property' over plant varieties - threatening fundamental issues such as food security and human rights.
There is an alternative. The African Union, which represents all the countries in Africa, has developed its own model which avoids the problems of UPOV. In other words, if Mauritius adopts UPOV, it will not only be a disaster for the Mauritians but it will be bad for Africa as a whole.
Please give your support to this letter of protest to the Prime Minister of Mauritius about the proposed Plant Breeders' Rights Law being adopted in Mauritius. It will only take a minute: http://www.gmwatch.org/proemail1.asp?id=6
Below the Mauritian activist Selva Appasawmy makes an appeal for help.
There is also an article by Selva explaining all the problems that will arise from Mauritius adopting the UPOV model law as opposed to the African Union model, which you can read here: http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=4573
Appeal for help for Mauritius
As you are aware Mauritius is about to join UPOV and is adopting the UPOV model Plant Breeder's Right law instead of the African Union model.
This would be a disaster for the Mauritians and bad for Africa as a whole.
Below there is a URL link that leads you to a protest letter addressed to the PM of Mauritius. You just have to add your name and email address and click on send!
Please support the protest in Mauritius by circulating this letter as widely as possible. The more people we get to send this protest the more chance we have of success.
USE THIS LINK: http://www.gmwatch.org/proemail1.asp?id=6 )
Thank you for your support
Save our Seeds
for further information and news please check our web-site:http://www.saveourseeds.org
or contact us directly: SOS, Marienstr.19-20, 10117 Berlin, Germany - Tel. +49 (0)30 24047146 Fax. +49 (0)30 275903 12
José Manuel Durao Barroso, President of the Commission, Rue de la Loi 200, 1049 Brussels, Belgium - Tel: +32.2.2967246, +32.2.2991563
Fax: +32-2 295 0138/39/40, +32.2.2956336 - Email:
Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the Commission, Rue de la Loi 200, B-1049 Brussels, Belgium - E-mail: Margot.Wallstrom@cec.eu.int - Phone: + 322 2981800, Fax: + 322 2981899
Stavros Dimas, Commissioner for Environment, Rue de la Loi 200, B-1049 Brussels , Belgium - E-mail: email@example.com - Fax: +32 2 2982 099
Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Rue de la Loi 200, B-1049 Brussels , Belgium - E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Else Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture [no personal contact details available yet - ], Commissioner for Agriculture, Rue de la Loi 200, 1049 Brussels, Belgium - Fax: +32/2/29-59 225
To look up your Members of the European parliament go to the Parliament's web-site at: http://wwwdb.europarl.eu.int/ep6/owa/p_meps2.repartition?ilg=EN
Ten arguments for clean seeds
You may find this useful as a starting point for your own initiatives on the issue. From our point of view some key arguments for a strict labelling regime at the detection limit are:
1. Monitoring and withdrawal of GMO approvals will become impossible unless farmers and national authorities know exactly where certain GMOs are present.
2. As seeds replicate and multiply it is impossible to control and predict the level of contamination resulting from certain initial seed-impurities.
3. It would also become impossible to restrict the approval and use of certain GMO to certain areas for environmental or agro-ecological reasons.
4. Labelling of seeds is therefor not only for consumer information, but the prerequisite for proper risk-management and executing of the Unions GMO legislation.
5. If some GMO contamination has to be anticipated in all seeds on the market, farmers, food-processors and retailers will have to test whether the resulting contamination in the harvest and their products exceeds the level for mandatory labelling of GMO established for food and feed (0,9 %) in any case and all products.
a. This will massively increase the costs of non-GMO production and impose them on those, who don't want to use GMO.
b. As the harvest is between hundred and eight hundred times the quantity of seeds the overall costs for the economy would be unnecessarily increased by magnitudes.
c. The establishment of GMO free regions or zones would become impossible.
6. Seed companies, which have a sophisticated system of purity control in place already, will have to test for the presence of GMO in their products anyway. Therefor the establishment of thresholds, below which the presence of GMO need not be labelled, would in effect be a license for these companies to withhold essential information they have from their customers.
7. If GMO are grown on a commercial basis in Europe in the future, additional contamination of non GMO fields and products along the production chain will occur. Should such unavoidable contamination add up to an initial contamination of seed, measures to prevent outcrossing, co-mingling and others forms of contamination will need to be respectively stricter in order not to exceed the labelling threshold for food and feed. Coexistence between GMO and non-GMO farming and food production will become even more difficult and costly and liability issues will become extremely complicated.
8. Organic farmers, who are legally obliged not to use any GMO in their production, could no longer use conventional seeds and reproduce organic seeds from conventional sources. They would be excluded from general seed exchange and seed development.
9. All farmers right to save and use seeds from their own production would be jeopardised as they would have to anticipate increasing levels of
seed contamination in the second generation. While seed companies would profit from this fact, farmers income would suffer as well as the diversity of cultivated seeds.
10. Seed testing conducted by national authorities since some years clearly proves that a purity level of 0,1 % has been achieved both in Europe
and in seeds coming from countries where GMO are grown commercially. The Austrian Seed-law, which prohibits the use of any seeds contaminated with GMO also shows that this purity level can be achieved without problems. Any threshold above the realistic detection limit of 0,1 % would in effect unnecessarily reduce the standards presently observed by the seed industry.
Help fight de-forestation and GM soya production in Argentina!
Argentina forest protest begins - Thursday 29 July 2004
Campaigners from environmental group Greenpeace launched a protest this week in Argentina's north western forests, in response to biotech company Monsanto using the land to plant genetically modified soya. Using trail bikes, the activists found bulldozers in Salta, by the Great Chaco and Yungas forests. They then chained the bulldozers, immobilising them. Combined, the two forests are largest in South America, behind the Amazon. Millions of people live in the Great Chaco and Yungas, and rely on the forest's natural biodiversity for their livelihoods. The forests are also home to numerous vulnerable animal species such as jaguars, and contain rich plant life. "We're here to stop these jaguar forests being destroyed and the land turned into a genetically engineered soya desert," said Emiliano Ezcurra from Greenpeace Argentina. "Every hour, a forest area the size of twenty football fields is cleared in Argentina. Important ecosystems are destroyed, people lose their homes and wildlife is endangered," he added. The protest is intended to last several days.
More than 5000 people have already made calls to Argentine embassies worldwide. Keep calling!" MORE INFO & HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Please help to protect China by building a cyber Great Wall to keep GE Soya out of China!
Adopt an MP!
Unfortunately most MPs seem to think that GM is a technical issue, and something for the experts to sort out. This attitude appears to cover every aspect of GM including the two big issues of coexistence and liability. But it will be the UK Governments who will decide whether or not our food and countryside is contaminated with GM. In Wales and, to a large degree in Scotland, the political mode is against GM commercialisation and supportive of measures to prevent contamination. However, that does not mean they will not bow to pressure from Whitehall and approve weak legislation, so we still need to maintain pressure on AMs and MSPs.
In England, most MPs are far behind their Welsh and Scottish colleagues in their attitude towards and knowledge of GM. The Prime Minister is depending on them remaining ignorant. We need to educate them over the next twelve months or so that when the legislation on the rules for GM crop growing is put forward by the Government they will automatically know which way and why to vote.
Educating MP and parliamentary candidates on a complex and difficult issue might sound daunting but remember you will know far more than most of them and we will be there to back you up if needed with technical and legal arguments. You will also be backed up by hundreds of letters and post cards from other concerned citizens.
If you would like to sign up to 'adopt' your local MP and help to educate them on GM issues, please contact email@example.com to receive an action pack.
Elections Challenge local candidates and parties on their position on GM.
Europe Write to your local MEP and the European Commission and emphasise the continuing widespread opposition to GM crops, food and animal feed substantiated by existing and emerging scientific research, consumer rejection and increasing political support. Mention, labelling and traceability of animal products, seed purity, coexistence and liability. (For information, background and current news see Europe)
Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the Commission, Rue de la Loi 200, B-1049 Brussels, Belgium - E-mail: Margot.Wallstrom@cec.eu.int - Phone: + 322 2981800, Fax: + 322 2981899
Stavros Dimas, Commissioner for Environment, Rue de la Loi 200, B-1049 Brussels , Belgium - E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org - Fax: +32 2 2982 099
Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Rue de la Loi 200, B-1049 Brussels , Belgium - E-mail: email@example.com
Else Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture [no personal contact details available yet - ], Commissioner for Agriculture, Rue de la Loi 200, 1049 Brussels, Belgium - Fax: +32/2/29-59 225
Contact details for the commissioners can be found at http://europa.eu.int/comm/commissioners/index_en.htm and details of UK MEPs can be found at www.europarl.org.uk/uk_meps/MembersMain.htm
Lobbying of local politicians (see above in this page)
Dear signatories of the Bite Back: WTO Hands Off Our Food campaign,
This is a final call to help gather more citizen's objection to the WTO GM trade dispute!!!
The US, Canada and Argentina made their official submission to the WTO panel last week attacking Europe's precautionary stance on genetically modified food and farming. Europe will make its submission in the next 2 weeks and then it is time to hand in all the citizen's objections to the WTO. We want to send a loud and clear message that the WTO must not undermine the right of the European Union and others to take appropriate steps to protect their citizens and the environment from GMO food and farming. We would be very grateful if you could help in the last push to get more citizen objections. After a hearing in June, the highly secretive dispute settlement panel of the WTO will then make a ruling in the summer on whether the EU's policy on GM food imports is an illegal barrier to trade. If the WTO rules in favour of Bush, then Europe will either have to face billions of Euros in financial penalties or weaken its rules in favour of the biotech industry at the expense of people's health and the environment. This would also send a wrong signal to developing countries warning them not to develop restrictions on GM food and farming.
We have gathered objections from over 400 organisations representing 35 million citizens and more than 70000 individuals. However, we would like to increase the numbers still significantly in order to show the global resistance against this case at the WTO.
Here is what you can do:
EMAIL YOUR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES to ask them to sign the objection online or download a multi-signature paper objection and ask them to sign http://www.bite-back.org
EMAIL THE ARGENTINEAN AMBASSADOR to ask him to persuade the Government of Argentina to withdraw from the WTO complaint http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/global_trade/press_for_change/email_ambassador_argentina/index.html
PUBLIC BITE BACK IN GM TRADE WAR http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/public_bite_back_in_gm_tra.html
(Friends of the Earth Press release, 11/9/03) Stakes were raised today in the Europe-US trade dispute over genetically modified (GM) food and farming as a new alliance of civil society groups pledged to create an unprecedented mass citizen objection to the dispute . The organisations involved , spanning more than 140 countries, aim to collect objections from citizens from all 146 World Trade Organisation (WTO) member countries, as a challenge to the WTO's secretive trade dispute mechanisms. The groups representing consumers, environmentalists, farmers, trade unionists and developing countries, launched their campaign on the day the United Nations Biosafety Protocol  regulating GM food worldwide comes into force, September 11, 2003.
The new campaign launched today - 'Bite Back: WTO hands off our food' - invites the public to make their own legal submissions to the GM dispute in the form of a citizen's objection , insisting that the WTO must respect people's right to choose what they eat and allow them to protect their environment.
The WTO, currently holding its 5th Ministerial Meeting in Cancun, promotes its disputes mechanism as its most individual contribution to the stability of the global economy. However it is conducted in secrecy with no access to the general public. The `Bite Back` campaign (online at www.bite-back.org ) will directly challenge this and put the WTO inadequacies in dealing with food in the public spotlight. If the WTO deems that the European Union (EU) is breaking trade rules it will allow the US to force Europe to approve more GM foods and crops - or face huge financial penalties.
The Cartegena Biosafety Protocol is the first treaty that officially seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by GM. It will require all exporters of GM which are to be released into the environment to take measures to prevent the contamination of GM seed products by implementing an `identity preservation' system. It also allows countries to take a precautionary approach if faced with scientific uncertainty over the impacts on the environment.
Friends of the Earth Policy and Campaigns Director Liana Stupples said: "The US Administration, lobbied by the likes of biotech giant Monsanto, is using the undemocratic and secretive WTO to force feed the world genetically modified foods. The public should have the right to decide what they eat. Decisions about our food should not be made by the WTO or by Monsanto. It is clear that the WTO is neither fit nor independent enough to judge whether or not the public should eat GM foods ."
Notes to Editors:
 After the US, together with Canada and Argentina, submitted a complaint to the WTO over the EU's de facto moratorium on GMOs, the WTO established a panel on 29 August. The US and EU are now preparing their submissions. A verdict is expected for spring 2004.
 The campaign was launched by Friends of the Earth International with support of Jose Bove's Confederation Paysanne, Vandana Shiva's Research Foundation for Science, Technology Ecology, Lori Wallach's Public Citizen, the trade union network Public Services International, the International Gender and Trade Network and more
 information on the Cartegena Biosafety Protocol at www.foeeurope.org/biteback/download/factsheet_biosafety_protocol.pdf
 The citizen's objection is a legal submission to the WTO. In general there is great resistance by WTO Members to intervention of non-members in their disputes.
The US Government has filed a complaint with the WTO regarding the EU's policy on GM food. It follows heavy lobbying by big US-based biotechnology multinationals like Monsanto. The US will argue that the EU reluctance to take GM foods is an illegal barrier to free trade. Friends of the Earth believes this is just the latest Bush government-led attempt to bulldoze over other countries' rights to protect their people and the environment.
For more information see: http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/global_trade/news/index.html
Email your US Ambassador and ask them to express your dismay to their government and seek the withdrawal of this WTO complaint: http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/global_trade/press_for_change/email_us_embassy/
Thank you for your help with this urgent campaign!
Campaign Assistant - Real Food & Farming
Friends of the Earth,74 Kirkgate, Leeds LS2 7DJ
GM STORE DETECTIVES SOUGHT
From the 18th April 2004, under EU law, the following products must be labelled as GM:
*Any food product or animal feed with an ingredient that is over 0.9% GM
*Any food product or animal feed with a 'derivative' (oils, starches, lecithin etc) made from a crop that is more than 0.9% GM. [Meat and dairy products from GM-fed animals will still not be labelled]
What is new is that the oils and starches will now have to be labelled if it is GM, and that animal feed sold by agricultural suppliers will now have to be labelled if it is GM.
It is important that there is clear market rejection of any product labelled as GM as soon as it appears on the shelf - so we are seeking "GM Store Detectives" to spot these products.
CAN YOU HELP?
If you feel you can commit to an hour or so of detective work once a fortnight then please contact Genetic Food Alert <firstname.lastname@example.org> or 01803 868523 to arrange which supermarket chain or product range to monitor. If you see any products with a GM label then please alert us by email <email@example.com> with details of the exact brand and product description, what it says on the label and where you saw it. We have arranged to share this information with the main GM campaigning organisations. It would greatly help the campaign if you complain about any GM products you find at customer services or write to the manager. [We're also interested in the labelling of animal feed. Do you know any farmers willing to check the products available at their nearest agricultural supplier?]
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
As there are tens of thousands of food products in the shops it makes sense to narrow down the search for products. Here are some suggested guidelines.
The products and ingredients most likely to be labelled are:
1. "Edible vegetable oils" - ie cheap cooking oils and the oils added to highly processed foods.
2. Starches such as cornflour - and processed foods that contain them. [NOTE: Many products contain a product called "modified starch" - this refers to modification by heat and is nothing to do with genetic modification.]
3. Lecithin - an emulsifier, made from soya, that is used in oily processed foods and commercial salad dressings.
If these ingredients are genetically modified there will be an asterisk beside the ingredients and a note in italics at the end of the ingredient list saying "genetically modified".
Brands worth checking include Kelloggs, United Biscuits, Muller and San Marco- sold in any supermarket (especially budget stores such as Asda, Nisa, Lidl, Aldi and Morrisons). In addition it would be worth checking Asda own-brand products. [If you have the means to check bulk products and brands used by school and hospital caterers then your help with this is especially welcome].
Monsanto has worked with a Swedish brewery to create a GM beer called "Kenth". It comes in small bottles with a black label with silver writing. Please tell us if you see this in Asda or any other supermarket - or any off-licence.
Finally there are a few specific products that need checking in case they start carrying GM labels:
1. Kelloggs Pop Tarts - all flavours
2. Kelloggs Nutri Grain Morning Bars - all flavours
3. Kelloggs Rice Krispie Squares - all flavours
4. Supercook cake spray (a non-stick oil)
5. Schwarz Baco Bits (bacon flavoured soya bits)
Please ONLY email product information if you find a GM label on it.
Many thanks for your help,
Robert Vint, Director, Genetic Food Alert UK, Hope House, 75a, High Street, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5PB UK
+44 (0)1803 868523 - Robert Vint <firstname.lastname@example.org>
GM MILK CAMPAIGN - http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/GMmilk.htm
HELP STOP MONSANTO GE WHEAT
Wheat is the single biggest food source in the world -- and the oldest.
Canada and the US sell one fifth of the world's wheat -- second only to China. Now Monsanto is asking for permission to sell genetically engineered wheat in North America.
Take action today by signing this petition urging the Canadian government to ban GE wheat:
PLEASE SEND A FAX TO THE CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER TODAY- TELL HIM THAT YOU DON'T WANT MONSANTO'S GE WHEAT IN YOUR FOOD. PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY
Greenpeace needs your help in the fight against GE wheat. For the past several years, the Canadian government has been collaborating with Monsanto on the development of Monsanto's GE Roundup Ready wheat. This is despite near-unanimous protest from farmers, environmentalists and wheat buyers around the world. Canada continues to allow open air field trials that could contaminate farmers fields and also refuses to reject Monsanto's application for commercial growing of GE wheat. They need to hear from the world that no one wants GE wheat! Ask Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin to Say NO to Monsanto and YES to the environment. Fax the Canadian Prime Minister TODAY at: http://www.wildcanada.net/greenpeace/faxengine.asp
Supermarkets Continue to lobby major supermarkets and food producers to maintain and source GM-free produce throughout the food chain. Asda www.asda.co.uk Co-op, email@example.com Iceland Foods, firstname.lastname@example.org Marks & Spencer, email@example.com Safeway, firstname.lastname@example.org Sainsbury's, email@example.com Somerfield, www.somerfield.co.uk Tesco, firstname.lastname@example.org Waitrose, email@example.com
Major Dairy Companies and Products Dairy Crest www.dairycrest.co.uk/email/mail.htm Express Dairies, firstname.lastname@example.org Glanbia Cheese, email@example.com Arla Foods, www.arlafoods.com Robert Wiseman & Sons, firstname.lastname@example.org Co-operative Wholesale Society, email@example.com Nestle UK Ltd, firstname.lastname@example.org
THIS PAGE WAS LAST UPDATED ON 21/5/07