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GMO Health & Environmental Hazards Report

gmo health


Posted By COVVHA - AO2GEN Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance On November 21, 2014 ·

 

Ban GMOs Now

GMO agriculture is a recipe for disaster, as this report will make clear. It is also standing in the way of the shift to sustainable agriculture already taking place in local communities all over the world that can truly enable people to feed themselves in times of climate change. Future generations will not forgive us if we do not stop the GM takeover now.

This is a dangerous situation for the future of food and farming, one that needs to be reversed as quickly as possible, particularly as GM agriculture is failing on all counts. That can only be achieved by a ban on GMOs, an action already taken by countries and local communities around the world. We need to join forces with them, to put an end to the GM corporate empire.

Ten years ago, 24 scientists from around the world formed an Independent Science Panel and produced a report [24] (The Case for A GM-Free Sustainable World, ISIS/TWN publication) summarizing compelling evidence on the hazards of GM crops and the benefits of organic agro-ecological farming, and called for a global ban on environmental releases of GMOs, and a shift to non-GM sustainable agriculture. This report was widely circulated, translated into several languages, and republished in the US a year later. It remains the most succinct and complete account on the subject; but crucial new evidence has come to light within the past decade that strengthens the case considerably.

Health & Environmental Hazards Especially in the Light of the New Genetics By Dr Mae-Wan Ho & Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments Concerning Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Ban GMOs Now

  • The scientists are extremely concerned about the hazards of GMOs to biodiversity, food safety, human and animal health, and demand a moratorium on environmental releases in accordance with the precautionary principle.
  • They are opposed to GM crops that will intensify corporate monopoly, exacerbate inequality and prevent the essential shift to sustainable agriculture that can provide food security and health around the world.
  • They call for a ban on patents of life-forms and living processes which threaten food security, sanction biopiracy of indigenous knowledge and genetic resources and violate basic human rights and dignity.
  • They want more support on research and development of non-corporate, sustainable agriculture that can benefit family farmers all over the world.

Signed by 815 scientists from 82 different countries, including:

Dr. David Bellamy, Biologist and Broadcaster, London, UK
Prof. Liebe Cavalieri, Mathematical Ecologist, Univ. Minnesota, USA
Dr. Thomas S. Cox, Geneticist, US Dept. of Agriculture (retired), India
Dr. Tewolde Egziabher, Spokesperson for African Region, Ethiopia
Dr. David Ehrenfeld, Biologist/Ecologist, Rutgers University, USA
Dr. Vladimir Zajac, Oncovirologist, Genetisist, Cancer Reseach Inst, Czech Republic
Dr. Brian Hursey, ex FAO Senior Officer for Vector Borne Diseases, UK
Prof. Ruth Hubbard, Geneticist, Harvard University, USA
Prof. Jonathan King, Molecular Biologist, MIT, Cambridge, USA
Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini, Laboratoire de Biochimie & Moleculaire, Univ. Caen, France
Dr. David Suzuki, Geneticist, David Suzuki Foundation, Univ. British Columbia, Canada
Dr. Vandana Shiva, Theoretical Physicist and Ecologist, India
Dr. George Woodwell, Director, Woods Hole Research Center, USA
Prof. Oscar B. Zamora, Agronomist, U. Philippines, Los Banos, Philippines

Summary

We, the undersigned scientists, call for the immediate suspension of all environmental releases of GM crops and products, both commercially and in open field trials, for at least 5 years; for patents on living processes, organisms, seeds, cell lines and genes to be revoked and banned; and for a comprehensive public enquiry into the future of agriculture and food security for all.

Patents on life-forms and living processes should be banned because they threaten food security, sanction biopiracy of indigenous knowledge and genetic resources, violate basic human rights and dignity, compromise healthcare, impede medical and scientific research and are against the welfare of animals.

GM crops offer no benefits to farmers or consumers. Instead, many problems have been identified, including yield drag, increased herbicide use, erratic performance, and poor economic returns to farmers. GM crops also intensify corporate monopoly on food, which is driving family farmers to destitution, and preventing the essential shift to sustainable agriculture that can guarantee food security and health around the world

The hazards of GMOs to biodiversity and human and animal health are now acknowledged by sources within the UK and US Governments. Particularly serious consequences are associated with the potential for horizontal gene transfer. These include the spread of antibiotic resistance marker genes that would render infectious diseases untreatable, the generation of new viruses and bacteria that cause diseases, and harmful mutations which may lead to cancer.

In the Cartegena Biosafety Protocol negotiated in Montreal in January 2000, more than 130 governments have pledged to implement the precautionary principle and to ensure that biosafety legislations at the national and international levels take precedence over trade and financial agreements at the World Trade Organization.

Successive studies have documented the productivity and the social and environmental benefits of sustainable, low-input and organic farming in both North and South. They offer the only practical way of restoring agricultural land degraded by conventional agronomic practices, and empower small family farmers to combat poverty and hunger.

We urge the US Congress to reject GM crops as both hazardous and contrary to the interest of family farmers; and to support research and development of sustainable agricultural methods that can truly benefit family farmers all over the world.

We, the undersigned scientists, call for the immediate suspension of all environmental releases of GM crops and products, both commercially and in open field trials, for at least 5 years; for patents on living processes, organisms, seeds, cell lines and genes to be revoked and banned; and for a comprehensive public enquiry into the future of agriculture and food security for all.

1 Patents on life-forms and living processes should be banned because they threaten food security, sanction biopiracy of indigenous knowledge and genetic resources, violate basic human rights and dignity, compromise healthcare, impede medical and scientific research and are against the welfare of animals(1). Life-forms such as organisms, seeds, cell lines and genes are discoveries and hence not patentable. Current GM techniques which exploit living processes are unreliable, uncontrollable and unpredictable, and do not qualify as inventions. Furthermore, those techniques are inherently unsafe, as are many GM organisms and products.

2. It is becoming increasingly clear that current GM crops are neither needed nor beneficial. They are a dangerous diversion preventing the essential shift to sustainable agricultural practices that can provide food security and health around the world.

3. Two simple characteristics account for the nearly 40 million hectares of GM crops planted in 1999(2). The majority (71%) are tolerant to broad-spectrum herbicides, with companies engineering plants to be tolerant to their own brand of herbicide, while most of the rest are engineered with bt-toxins to kill insect pests. A university-based survey of 8200 field trials of the most widely grown GM crops, herbicide-tolerant soya beans – revealed that they yield 6.7% less and required two to five times more herbicides than non-GM varieties(3). This has been confirmed by a more recent study in the University of Nebraska(4). Yet other problems have been identified: erratic performance, disease susceptibility(5), fruit abortion(6) and poor economic returns to farmers(7).

4. According to the UN food programme, there is enough food to feed the world one and a half times over. While world population has grown 90% in the past 40 years, the amount of food per capita has increased by 25%, yet one billion are hungry(8). A new FAO report confirms that there will be enough or more than enough food to meet global demands without taking into account any yield improvementsthat might result from GM crops well into 2030 (9). It is on account of increasing corporate monopoly operating under the globalised economy that the poor are getting poorer and hungrier(10). Family farmers around the world have been driven to destitution and suicide, and for the same reasons. Between 1993 and 1997 the number of mid-sized farms in the US dropped by 74,440(11), and farmers are now receiving below the average cost of production for their produce(12). The farming population in France and Germany fell by 50% since 1978(13). In the UK, 20 000 farming jobs were lost in the past year alone, and the Prime Minister has announced a £200m aid package(14). Four corporations control 85% of the world trade in cereals at the end of 1999(15). Mergers and acquisitions are continuing.

5. The new patents on seeds intensify corporate monopoly by preventing farmers from saving and replanting seeds, which is what most farmers still do in the Third World. In order to protect their patents, corporations are continuing to develop terminator technologies that genetic engineer harvested seeds not to germinate, despite worldwide opposition from farmers and civil society at large(16).

6. Christian Aid, a major charity working with the Third World, concluded that GM crops will cause unemployment, exacerbate Third World debt, threaten sustainable farming systems and damage the environment. It predicts famine for the poorest countries(17). African Governments condemned Monsanto’s claim that GMOs are needed to feed the hungry of the world: “We..strongly object that the image of the poor and hungry from our countries is being used by giant multinational corporations to push a technology that is neither safe, environmentally friendly, nor economically beneficial to us… we believe it will destroy the diversity, the local knowledge and the sustainable agricultural systems that our farmers have developed for millennia and …undermine our capacity to feed ourselves.(18)” A message from the Peasant movement of the Philippines to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of the industrialized countries stated, “The entry of GMOs will certainly intensify landlessness, hunger and injustice.(19)”

7. A coalition of family farming groups in the US have issued a comprehensive list of demands, including ban on ownership of all life-forms; suspension of sales, environmental releases and further approvals of all GM crops and products pending an independent, comprehensive assessment of the social, environmental, health and economic impacts; and for corporations to be made liable for all damages arising from GM crops and products to livestock, human beings and the environment(20). They also demand a moratorium on all corporate mergers and acquisitions, on farm closures, and an end to policies that serve big agribusiness interests at the expense of family farmers, taxpayers and the environment(21). They have mounted a lawsuit against Monsanto and nine other corporations for monopolistic practices and for foisting GM crops on farmers without adequate safety and environmental impact assessments(22).

8. Some of the hazards of GM crops are openly acknowledged by the UK and US Governments. UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) has admitted that the transfer of GM crops and pollen beyond the planted fields is unavoidable(23), and this has already resulted in herbicide-tolerant weeds(24). An interim report on UK Government-sponsored field trials confirmed hybridisation between adjacent plots of different herbicide tolerant GM oilseed rape varieties, which gave rise to hybrids tolerant to multiple herbicides. In addition, GM oilseed rape and their hybrids were found as volunteers in subsequent wheat and barley crops, which had to be controlled by standard herbicides(25). Bt-resistant insect pests have evolved in response to the continuous presence of the toxins in GM plants throughout the growing season, and the US Environment Protection Agency is recommending farmers to plant up to 40% non-GM crops in order to create refugia for non-resistant insect pests(26).

9. The threats to biodiversity from major GM crops already commercialized are becoming increasingly clear. The broad-spectrum herbicides used with herbicide-tolerant GM crops decimate wild plant species indiscriminately, they are also toxic to animals. Glufosinate causes birth defects in mammals(27), and glyphosate is linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma(28). GM crops with bt-toxins kill beneficial insects such as bees(29) and lacewings(30), and pollen from bt-corn is found to be lethal to monarch butterflies(31) as well as swallowtails(32). Bt-toxin is exuded from roots of bt-plants in the rhizosphere, where it rapidly binds to soil particles and become protected from degradation. As the toxin is present in an activated, non-selective form, both target and non-target species in the soil will be affected(33), with knock on effects on species above ground.

http://covvha.net/gmo-health-environmental-hazards/

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Tags: Environmental, GMO, Hazards, Health, Monsanto, Report, agriculture, ban, chemicala, crimes, More…food, scientists

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