GM canola up as protests continue

18 Jun, 2009 02:00 AM
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OGAWA members covered their mouths, and tied their hands, during the Parliament House protest.
OGAWA members covered their mouths, and tied their hands, during the Parliament House protest.

THE Organic Growers Association of WA (OGAWA) staged a silent vigil on the steps of Parliament House last week, to voice their concerns against the growing of genetically modified (GM) canola in WA this year.

OGAWA vice-president Dr Maggie Lilith, said her organisation's members were extremely upset and angry about the GM plantings.

She said they were gravely concerned about being exposed to GM contamination and faced the potential loss of their organic accreditation because of the controversial canola crops.

Under Australian organic certification requirements, the use of GM inputs, growing GM crops and the presence of GM in certified organic product is prohibited.

Dr Lilith said these certification standards also stated that GM contamination may alter organic status.

She said organic growers have been left to fend for themselves, despite repeated requests for more information on the GM canola trials and for issues such as segregation and transparency to be addressed.

"Our members have been told that there are no buffer requirements set for organic properties from GM trials and that the onus is on them to protect their own accreditation," she said.

"But organic growers are unable to protect themselves due to the proximity of some of these trials to their farms.

"The WA government is not protecting our organic farmers and our premium organic markets."

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READER COMMENTS

amicus curiae
18/06/2009 9:47:50 PM

Since when has a minority been able to gain such sway? Since BIG money corrupted ill-informed/gullible Government Ministers like Mr Redman! For the supposed "trials" on a few properties, the many organic growers are all at risk of contaminated paddocks, higher fees to test and store their seeds. And also risk loss of lucrative European markets for our NON GM Canola. Just because USA companies ruined their own, and Canada's markets for organic product, why should we follow like the sheeple they would like us to be?? When is the next election???
Vicki Wilson
19/06/2009 8:32:30 AM

The few GM growers do not care about the rest of the farmers. They may say that their neighbours do not mind them growing GM but do the neighbours know that when they get contaminated they will have to pay the fees and become GM growers? I doubt it. They will soon find the idiocy of accepting these GM growers into their community when they get sued by Monsanto as has been proven in every other country that did these stupid trials of contamination.
Margaret Lamb
22/06/2009 9:18:00 AM

As a consumer I am very concerned of what I eat and consequently how it is grown. If GM is so great why is it being forced down our necks with the loss of alternative choices. The question to ask is: "WHO BENEFITS?" The levels of contamination in Canada, USA and Victoria tell me that the GM advocates either can't or don't want to contain this contamination.
Cilantro
22/06/2009 5:19:53 PM

Organic farmers should be campaigning to change the rules (and NB - they are not Federal or State laws; but the rules of the organics ruling association - who should listen to their members) that would take away organic certification from farmers if even a small amount of GM lands on their crops. There is no equivalent penalty if a bit of non-organic pesticide or non-organic (conventional) pollen drifts on to an organic crop; or there would be no organically certified farmers at all! Drift happens; it's part of sharing a farming environment, like hearing your neighbour's rooster or him smelling your pigs on a windy day. Allow for a small margin of drift and all farmers can grow what they wish without penalty. However, it seems that the organics industry want to use the (supposed) threat to nice cuddly organic farmers to campaign against GM, rather than taking a pragmatic approach which would allow everyone to co-exist. And that suggests the organics industry is willing to sacrifice its members to its politics.
brett sanders
27/06/2009 6:06:37 PM

Its obvious 'Cilantro' does not have a handle on the issues at hand. Consumers of organic produce, of which demand has been escalating for a decade or more globally (for obvious reasons), are adamant that they do not want any GMO contamination in their food supply. Pollen from GM crops, is different from pollen from non GM crops, or the smell of pigs or a noisy rooster. How, in all credibility, do you liken all to be the same?? GM crops are extremely risky, many top level scientists have, and continue to, speak out against the dodgy science and lack of credible testing involving GM food. Is there one single long term clinical human study on the effects of eating this 'food'. NO. Not one. The only published human feeding study (only 7 volunteers!!), revealed that the gene inserted into gm soy transfers into the DNA of bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function ie. We may have potentially harmful GM proteins produced continously inside us... There are very few other industries that take the approach that duty of care is the 'others' responsibility. In other words, its up to the organic farmer to keep the undesirable gm pollen out of their farms. Seems like a recipe for future litigation I reckon. Farmer unfortunately turning on farmer... The organics industry, by and large, has certain standards to uphold 'Cilantro'. That is why they are called standards. Everyone should know what is expected of them. No use saying - well he just used a bit of roundup cause he had too - just bent the organic rules a bit, but still organic isn't it??? Doesn't really work like that mate. And it's not politics - if the politicians listened to the majority of Australians, rather than the bio-tech lobby groups and a handful of 'MORE-ON' farmers, we wouldn't have this problem of GM contamination.

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You had better check your sources ATB!
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I came across this article on Arrabiddy Station. The brick homestead was built in august
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I couldn't think of anything more painful or fruitless than sitting on a board that does not