ecostory 50/2007
Bees and other hazards of GM - A conference excerpt
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From a Press Release from the I-SIS.

12 June 2007

Scientists for a GM Free Europe Final Announcement

Scientists from six countries join forces with MEPs to call for a Europe wide and worldwide ban on growing GM crops.

The event coincides with key scientific publications [1,2] on how national and international regulators have been ignoring damning evidence against the safety of GM food and feed while colluding with industry to manipulate scientific research to promote GM crops. The scientific papers will be presented to the European Parliament together with a comprehensive dossier containing more than 160 fully referenced articles from the Science in Society archives documenting the serious hazards ignored, the scientific fraud, the regulatory sham and violation of farmers? rights [3]

Time:10:00-13:15 Date: 12 June 2007 Venue: Room P5B001, Paul Henri Spaak Building, European Parliament, Brussels

Quotes from Speakers

Mr. Janusz Wojciechowski, MEP, Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development: "For me it is obvious that decisions on GMOs must be based on public opinion, and I do my best in that regard as one of the decision makers in the EU, to safeguard the health of citizens above all."

Dr. Joe Cummins, Emeritus Professor of Genetics, University of Western Ontario, Canada: "The collapse of honeybees worldwide is almost certainly a combination of different factors including mobile phone transmitters, new systemic neonicotinoid pesticides used in seed dressings and sprays in both conventional and GM crops, and GM crops containing Bt toxins, a biopesticide. Bt biopesticides reduce the honeybee?s immunity to infection by parasitic fungi that are also widely used as biocontrol agents, so it is a case of casualty from friendly fire. The honeybee is a major pollinator of our food crops, and its demise is a dire warning that the extinction of the human species is not far behind."

Dr. Irina Ermakova of the Russian Academy of Sciences: "So many things went wrong for rats fed genetically modified soybeans. They became more anxious and aggressive, there was a high mortality of rat pups born to the females in the first generation, disturbances of reproductive function,s and pathological changes in the internal organs of males and females."

Dr. Zbigniew Halat, President of the Association for Protection of Consumers Health: "The problems created by genetic engineering are global, it is the proliferation of a kind of biological weapon of mass destruction worldwide."

Dr. Eva Novotny of SGR: "There can be no co-existence of GM and non-GM crops, as the latest research shows that GM pollen can be transported downwind tens of kilometres. It is clear that we have to make our choice right now."

Mr. Jeffrey Smith worked with more than 30 scientists over the past two years, compiling the health risks of GM foods for his new book, Genetic Roulette: "There is now irrefutable evidence that GM foods are unsafe. Animal trials show damage to virtually every system studied, reports describe thousands of sick, sterile and dead livestock, large numbers of people link toxic or allergic symptoms to GM products, and most of the fundamental assumptions about the technology, used as the basis for safety claims, have been overturned."

Dr. Pietro Perrino, Director of Research, Institute of Plant Genetics, (formerly Institute of Germplasm) Bari, Italy: "We urgently need to protect the gene banks as they may soon be the only source of uncontaminated seed stocks in the world. This may be why the biotech industry and their supporters are so keen to see them destroyed after they?ve sequenced the genomes and patented the genes."

Dr. Christian Velot of Criigen: "Practically all the studies finding ?no effect? of GM food and feed are done by companies seeking market approval or funded by them. This research simply does not stand up to independent scientific scrutiny, and regulators are putting people at serious health risks by accepting such research results."

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, Director of ISIS: "GMOs are not only hazardous for health and bad for the environment, they will severely damage our chances of surviving global warming. GM crops need more fossil fuels and water to grow, both of which are fast diminishing. Europe cannot afford to waste any more time and resources on GMOs, we must start investing in sustainable food and energy systems now."

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