Lynn to join genetically modified crop protest

On Wednesday 23rd February Lynn MacLaren MLC will join protesters outside an Agribusiness Conference at the Burswood Convention Centre to protest against the irresponsible lifting of the State’s genetically modified (GM) canola ban last year by Agriculture Minister Terry Redman.

Minister Redman will be addressing the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Agribusiness Crop Updates 2011 Conference at the centre that morning.

The protestors are outraged by Minister Redman’s unilateral lifting of the GM canola ban, despite independent polling showing that majority of Western Australians want the ban to remain in place.

“With each successive harvest the true tale of genetically modified crops is being unveiled – the latest victim, organic farmer Steve March, is watching his livelihood disappear after contaminants invaded his paddock just as GM-opponents predicted they might,” said Ms MacLaren, Greens WA spokesperson on GM crops and food.

A 2001 Western Australian Parliamentary inquiry into genetic engineering formed the view that the “contamination of non-GM crops by GM crops is inevitable”.

Already this has been shown to be true, with Kojonup farmer Steve Marsh losing his organic certification as result of GM canola blowing in from his neighbour’s paddock.

Currently Steve’s only legal recourse to recoup his losses is to sue his neighbour, who is being backed by Monsanto. This will be a costly battle and one Steve has no guarantee of winning.

When questioned by Lynn in Parliament this week Terry Redman made it clear that he has no intention of introducing legislation to ensure that non-GM farmers such as Steve are protected from economic loss as a result of the introduction of GM canola.

“The Greens will continue to stand up for farmers who find themselves victims of the lifting of the GM ban,” Ms MacLaren stated.

Protestors are also alarmed at Redman’s selling of 19.9 per cent of the Western Australian Government's grain breeding company Intergrain. Intergrain’s CEO Bryan Whan has admitted that through the deal the WA Government is “getting into bed” with Monsanto and that they will be putting GM genes into the best varieties, removing choice for farmers who want to stay GM-free.

GM crops were introduced to Western Australia despite serious concerns remaining about their environmental and human health impacts and the threat to non-GM markets. When GM canola was fed to rats it resulted in increased liver sizes of up to 15 per cent – yet our regulators tell us it is safe to eat! The introduction of GM canola will also increase herbicide use and threaten the ability of conventional and organic farmers to grow non-GM crops.

Please join us! The protest will be held on Wed Feb 23, at 8.30am sharp, Burswood Convention Centre Entrance, Great Eastern Highway, Burswood, WA.

For more information, please click on the attachment below.

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GMOflyer_8 30am.pdf 178.53 KB