Canadians in Parliament propose a moratorium on GE alfalfa‏

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From: Jason Freeman
Date: Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 10:30 AM
Subject: [COMFOOD:] Canada: Moratorium on Genetically Modified Alfalfa
Proposed: Liberals Step Up to Protect Farmers
To: comfood list

Some good news regarding GE Alfalfa from Canada. The liberals–the
official opposition in Parliament (Canada’s Congress)–are proposing
a moratorium on GE Alfalfa. The governing Conservatives (Canada’s
Republicans)are in favour of all things Genetically Modified, but
they do not have a majority of seats in Parliament. The other two
opposition parties, the New Democrats and the Bloc Quebecois, are in
favour of a moratorium.

If the liberals follow through and vote with the New Democrats and the
Bloc, then a moratorium will become law.

Jason Freeman
General Manager

Farmer Direct Co-operative Ltd
1536 Victoria Avenue
Regina, SK S4P 0P5 Canada


PRESS RELEASE – From the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network

Moratorium on Genetically Modified Alfalfa Proposed: Liberals Step Up
to Protect Farmers

Friday March 4, 2011. Ottawa. Yesterday, Liberal members of the House
of Commons Agriculture Committee tabled a motion calling for a
moratorium on the approval of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa in

“I’m pleased to see Members of Parliament have listened and are
prepared to take action to protect farmers” said Arnold Taylor, a
Saskatchewan organic grain farmer who spoke before the Committee on
February 17th on behalf of the Canadian Organic Growers. “I hope that
the Committee will vote for this moratorium and make it a reality so
we don’t end up with the same kind of contamination in alfalfa that
hit organic canola farmers and damaged Canadian flax export markets.”

Maggie Mumm, an organic alfalfa seed producer and co-owner of Mumm’s
Sprouting Seeds said, “Farmers don’t want or need Monsanto’s herbicide
tolerant alfalfa. Conventional and organic alfalfa growers agree that
GM alfalfa would be a disaster for our markets.”

In addition to export markets for processed alfalfa products, alfalfa
is used as a forage crop in pastures and as hay for high-protein feed
for dairy cows, beef cattle, lambs, and pigs. It is also a natural
source of nitrogen to fertilize the soil, making it particularly
important for organic farming. Alfalfa is pollinated by bees and other
insects, making it easy for contamination to spread. Alfalfa is also a
perennial which means that each new GM alfalfa plant can grow and
produce viable seed for several years.

The motion before the Agriculture Committee asks the government to
place a moratorium on approving the herbicide tolerant Roundup Ready
alfalfa until the Government completes public research: “(a) into
Canada’s ability to ensure the genetic integrity, production and
preservation of a diversity of genetically modified organisms (GMOs),
non-GMO and organic alfalfa production; (b) the ability of Canada’s
handling and transportation system to ensure segregation of forage
seeds and detection of genetic co-mingling in alfalfa seeds and hay;
(c) the development of industry-led, third party audit and
verification systems;” The Agriculture Committee should vote on the
motion Thursday March 10th and if passed, it will be referred to the
House of Commons for a vote.

“There are no benefits to genetically modified alfalfa, only risks,”
said Benoit Girouard, President of the Quebec farmer association Union
Paysanne. “Its time our politicians started working for farmers, not

“This is a good first step to protecting the organic industry in
Canada. The motion shows a real recognition that farmers face critical
challenges from genetically modified alfalfa,” said Ann Slater of the
Ecological Farmers of Ontario. “The motion shows that some MPs are
listening to what the people want. In a time when democracy is at the
top of people’s minds around the world, it provides hope that our
actions can bring results,”

“We urge the Agriculture Committee to support this motion so it can be
voted on in the House of Commons as soon as possible. The moratorium
is urgently needed,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology
Action Network.

On January 27th, the US Department of Agriculture approved plantings
of GM alfalfa despite widespread opposition from farmers and
consumers, and after protracted legal cases. Without the proposed
moratorium, Canada is only one step away from allowing GE alfalfa to
be planted here.


For more information: Arnold Taylor, Canadian Organic Growers, 306 252
2783; Maggie Mumm, Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds, 306 747 2935: Benoit
Girouard, Union Paysanne, 450 495 1910: Ann Slater, 519 349 2448, Lucy
Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, 613 263 9511.

Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)
Collaborative Campaigning for Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice
431 Gilmour Street, Second Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K2P 0R5
Phone: 613 241 2267 ext. 25
Fax: 613 241 2506

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