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What is Richmond's position on GMOs?

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GMOs= Genetically Modified Organisms.  Issue was triggered in april 2012 by:  http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Richmond+poised+take+stand+genetically+modified+crops/6437736/story.html

  • Food processors may voluntarily label a product for sale in Canada as containing GE ingredients, but so far none have except for Nature Path (no GMOs labelling) in Richmond.
  • About 80 per cent of processed foods in grocery stores contain ingredients from genetically modified crops, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association
  • Nearly all GMO crops end up in animal feed or processed foods rather than being eaten directly.
  • Powell River, Saltspring Island, Kaslo, Rossland and Nelson have already passed anti-GMO resolutions
  • City of Richmond anti-GMO resolution is expected to come to council in May 6 2012
asked in Agriculture by (2.4k points)
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Serious Arguments re: GMOs
Topic: Against GMOs For GMOs
World Hunger

Those living under $1/day under corrupt governments will not benefit.

GMOs siphon charity money away  (Gates foundation investing in Monsanto)

GMOs might end world hunger. 
Food Security Food Security is increased via promotion of local and/or organic food markets, urban gardens and respecting local growers 

Food security is increased by letting engineers + scientists design new lifeforms (maybe providing possilble solutions to major ecological problems)

Bio-Piracy unfairly patenting genes from plants, animals and bacteria found in poorer countries where most of the world's biodiversity is to be found.

sharing the benefits of rare genes found in remote regions with everyone

Biodiversity
  • world-wide heritage seeds, livestock and growers reverse the diminishing food biodiversity.  
  • GMO marketing encourages monocrops.  Multinationals spread monocrops to every part of the world.
  • By buying up most seed companies, multinationals constrain the seed trade.

Creating new GMOs increases biodiversity;

multinationals are the most efficient in spreading natural and GMO biodiversity to every part of the world

Patents big corporations control all GMOs. Monsanto alone controls 90% of GMOs and all GMO lifeforms are patented. big corporations are the only ones who can afford the lengthy and expensive regulatory process to get GMOs approved.  Patents help recover the cost of R&D and required scientific studies.
Pesticides
  • GMOs ability to resist herbicides allow farmers to spread even more causing air and subsurface contamination . eventually entering the Fraser River affecting seafood industry.
  • Roundup-ready GMOs have pesticides build-in and that alone increases pesticide pollution and ecological/health risks
with pest-resistant GMOs, farmers do not need to use as much pesticides
Labelling

Labelling of GMO ingredients must be mandatory because people want to know what they are buying.  

People want the right to opt out of GMO consumption, whatever their reasons may be.

Labelling of GMOs is legal but not mandatory just like Organics.

The reason some people want to opt out is irrational so mandatory labelling would just slow down the growth of the GMO market

GMO growers in Richmond Nobody knows exactly since no one is keeping track (same as GMO infested foods on shelves) only 3 dairy farmers are known to grow GMO (corn for animal feed) and they should be grandfathered 
Scientific Studies almost all entirely paid for or influenced indirectly by GMO industry. The few independent studies point to health and ecosystem issues

Most GMO scientific studies show no cause for alarm

unwanted side-effects vary greatly from one GMO to another.  We cannnot make generalisations

Allergies WHO is concerned about allergenic gene transfer increasing the number of organisms that create allergies "There is no suggestion that the pollen from GMO plants behaves differently in any way that from non-GMO plants" (Nutfield Council Report, p101).
Health Issues

WHO is concerned about wild undesirable gene transfer ex: to bacteria in the gut

genetically modified crops have never been tested in Canada for human safety.

Results from Europe are showing that ingestion of these crops has been linked to kidney and liver damage

GMOs are increasingly used in new medicines, saving lives.
Regulation

Richmond can help with a political momentum asking federal government to investigate the GMO monopoly, mandate labelling or independently research health impact; and can instigate a moratorium within city limits on GMO plants (with some legal help)

Regulation, moratoriums and labelling should be done at the provincial, federal and worldwide level... too big for a municipality.
Respect for Farmers Harold Steves: GMO grass contamination of his cow's pastures will cause loss of "organic" designation and loss of income

Richmond Farmers on AAC do not want excessive regulation compared to their neighbours

Richmond Farmers want to learn more about the risks and benefits of GMOs

Enforcement

Most of the benefit of banning is psychological: adding to the momentum nationwide and educating Richmond residents.

Enforcement would be just like most bylaws; based on resident complaints

City does not have the means nor the expertise to enforce a GMO ban

Risk of being sued by a large corporation like Monsanto

 

Resistance Breakdown

Already some GMOs have cause insect evolution to resistance, negating the GMO benefit

Risk of entire breakdown of agriculture if it all moves to GMOs or contaminates non-GMOs

Each GMO has different effect on predator evolution: Generalisations are not useful.
Bee Collapse - CCD

GMOs likely one cause

Monsanto buying leading Bee research company to prevent independent studies blamed-bee-collapse-monsanto-buys-leading-bee-research

We don't know for sure

Monsanto is looking into it (by buying leading Bee research company)

Precautionary Principle  requires moratorium on GMOs blocks "progress"
     
     

 

answered by (2.4k points)
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Teresa signaled this link between GMOs and Disappearing Bees
http://www.causes.com/causes/62120-stop-monsanto/actions/1650396
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What has happened so far:

 

  • both ACE and AAC passed motions to recommend more education in various forms:
  • AAC: pushing for mandatory labelling of GMOs at the federal level
  • ACE: City's sustainability dept to help educate the public and to research the potential effects of GMOs planted in Richmond, and the legal ramifications of a ban.

Obstacles to peaceful co-existence:

  • Lack of trust in Monsanto and similar multinationals' good intent due to their quasi monopoly on GMOs and seeds  ... and pesticides incl. DDT, agent orange etc
  • Lack of properly independent quality studies looking into health risks due to funding most agricultural research institutes
  • Fears of irrational consumer behavior leading to loss of business opportunities for GMOs
  • Lack of trust in government regulatory agencies due to revolving doors (people switching between jobs in GMO industry and government) and governing party's unbalanced enthousiasm for GMOs
  • Fears of Irriversable contamination of crops with GMO variants
  • Lack of transparency and appearance of conspiracy due to lack of mandatory labelling of GMOs
answered by (2.4k points)
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By Staff Writer - Richmond Review
Published: May 30, 2012 3:00 PM
Updated: May 31, 2012 11:35 AM
Best way to start a revolution

Invite Monsanto to your party! This staple of CropLife Canada’s diet is at the cutting edge of controversy, dipping its genetically modified kernels into whatever vat of flammable chemicals it can find. Genetically modified food? Sure. Pesticides? You got ’em!

So when the community got word a CropLife spokesperson was set to defend genetic engineering—ahead of a council vote to ban its spirit here—hundreds jammed into council chambers for the meeting. So packed that some had to resort to watching a tiny TV alongside the Shaw cameraman (he’s really nice).

The meeting’s result? A unanimous vote from elected officials, who approved a council resolution banning genetically modified crops here, while exempting three existing dairy farms already growing genetically modified corn. The city doesn't have enforcement powers, however, as regulation of such crops and food products is a federal responsibility.

As for CropLife, a representative did indeed appear before city council, after about two-and-a-half hours of listening to supporters of council's resolution. Janice Tranberg, CropLife’s vice-president for Western Canada, talked about the science behind the use of plant technologies employed by manufacturers and distributors like Monsanto.

But council didn't buy it, casting a unanimous vote against genetically modified crops after three hours of delegations and discussion.

Among those on council, was the venerable farmer Coun. Harold Steves, on the eve of his 75th birthday (which was Tuesday).

So if you’re tired of attracting just a dozen or so folks to your protest, next time make sure it's a Monsanto protest. Accept no substitutes or genetic alterations.
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