GM threat to or­ganic farm un­fair

Countryman - - OPINION - Dr Cathie Har­vey, Nar­rung, South Aus­tralia

I was moved to write about what ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied or­gan­isms mean to me and other like-minded farm­ers after read­ing a let­ter in an agri­cul­tural pa­per and hear­ing that the South Aus­tralian Govern­ment was re­view­ing the South Aus­tralian GM mo­ra­to­rium sta­tus.

Firstly I (and many oth­ers) to­tally dis­agree that ge­netic en­gi­neer­ing is like con­ven­tional plant breed­ing.

Con­ven­tional plants don’t sud­denly pro­duce new an­tibi­otics, in­sec­ti­cides, ter­mi­na­tor, si­lenc­ing genes and novel pro­teins.

These can have dire ef­fects on plants they cross breed with or the an­i­mals that in­gest them.

Se­condly how un­bi­ased are the views from a com­pany that acts as the world pub­lic face of Mon­santo/Bayer?

It is com­ing to light that the touted re­search for glyphosate has been tam­pered with, sup­pressed, poorly ex­e­cuted thereby white­wash­ing that glyphosate or Roundup is safe.

I am a ve­teri­nar­ian and have an or­ganic dairy, beef and crop­ping farm in South Aus­tralia.

I am very wor­ried that I am in the mi­nor­ity and up against the huge multi­na­tional dol­lars which force their will on how I will farm.

Up till now SA has a GM mo­ra­to­rium but the change of State govern­ment is look­ing at chang­ing this. Canola is grown by sur­round­ing farms.

If they grow GM canola crops, GM seeds would in­evitably blow on to and ger­mi­nate on our prop­erty. Then we would be deemed con­tam­i­nated and lose our or­ganic sta­tus. Our right to choose how we want to farm is re­moved from us and our fu­ture chil­dren.

What’s more un­just and dev­as­tat­ing is that we could then be sued by Mon­santo/Bayer for hav­ing their genes on our farm, al­beit un­in­vited.

This sce­nario ap­plies to farms that are con­ven­tional and not grow­ing GM crops.

I can’t be­lieve that your in­come/busi­ness can be to­tally trashed by the rights of oth­ers who don’t con­tain their seeds on their land.

This hap­pened to Steve Marsh in WA.

If it were chem­i­cal spray drift that came across from your neigh­bours and dam­aged your veg­e­ta­tion then they are re­spon­si­ble and must re­im­burse you.

Why is this any dif­fer­ent? If you can­not con­tain a dan­ger­ous sub­stance/plant /or­gan­ism you should not be us­ing it. Fair is fair or does that not count any­more?

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