Friday, 27 February 2009

Defra contributes to Extinction of Honeybees and Birds in the UK.

With disappearing bee colonies in Europe and America, and dwindling oil reserves,what is DEFRA pinning its hopes on for the future of farming in Britain?

Answer.-They are pinning their hopes on the false promises and spurious claims of the hugely rich and powerful biotech corporates. The most persistant claim which holds governments in thrall is that GM crops will solve all our food problems for the future. In fact, GM crops are a failed experiment based on obsolete scientific theory.

Despite the destructive effects of intensive farming (which is driven by biotech companies)and despite the urgency of global warming and other environmental stressors, Defra seems sunk in a catatonic-like state,chanting “science, science, science” as if this word alone has the power to save us from starvation. Perniciously Defra believes that ‘science’ is synonomous with the short-term technical fixes of the biotech industry.

Meanwhile the destructive effects of intensive monoculture farming, are having to be constantly rectified, costing millions of pounds. Precious time is being wasted on a defunct agricultural system when we should urgently be developing sustainable, localised food and energy systems which do not depend heavily on fossil energies and water. GM crops have all the worst aspects of unsustainability, including susceptibility to diseases and climate extremes because of genetic uniformity.

Wherever GM’s are grown in the world, they pose a risk to the environment, to ecology, to the livelihood of farmers, and the health of local communities and livestock. To establish themselves in regions they wish to exploit, GM companies use the carrot and stick strategy. First the carrot, then a lot of stick. The sort of compulsion that biotechs use on farmers varies according to their local circumstances In poorer countries if they do not grow gm crops,or monocrops for export, small family farmers can be driven off their land and local people cannot afford to buy what is grown. Some small farmers attempt to grow gm’s but end up in debt. Rolling out the technology is facilitated by steamrolling policy makers and those responsible for safety regulations….

In Britain
“GM:The Secret Files
Ministers are funding genetically modified crop projects with scores of millions of pounds every year and are colluding with a biotech company to ease its GM tests, the IoS can reveal.
Geoffrey Lean, on a murky tale that Whitehall tried to hide”(Published:28 October 2007-The Independent.)

Last year on July 15, six German apiarists moved their 30,000 bees to Munich city some 500 km south of Berlin. They were trying to save their bees from genetically modified crops near their village Kaisheim. “If our bees were to come in touch with the GM maize, and the honey were contaminated with it, we would not be allowed to sell it.” said Karl Heinz Bablock, one of the six apiarists. In Germany gm crops are legal but their harvests are forbidden for human consumption. Earlier this year Bablock and several of his colleagues filed a protest against the GM crops before a tribunal in Augsburg, but the court ruled in May2008 that because the crops were legal, it was the apiarists who should move their bees somewhere else. Relocation of bees is taking place all over Germany.

In February 2008 Terry Boehm, vice president of Canada’s National Farmers Union warned Australian Farmers against adopting GM crops. By patenting both naturally occurring and GM crops, these companies can use aggressive lawsuits to ward off any potential rival. At the same time insidious forms of surveillance and barely concealed threats are whittling away any options farmers have for getting seeds from other suppliers. He says GM crops are introducing a crippling new form of feudalism where farmers are tied to biotech companies through expensive licence fees, royalties for seeds and commitment to buying the company seeds.(From: 'GM crops a new form of feudalism', by Janet Grogan, Perth)

Greenpeace points out that technological ‘solutions’ like genetic engineering mask the real social,political, economic and environmental problems responsible for hunger. Unfortunately, when the UK government is challenged over its collusion with the Biotech industry, it simply regurgitates the propaganda. This completely abysmal agricultural policy is contributing to the extinction of honeybees,(our main food crop pollinators), and birds.

1 comment:

Jamblichus said...

Interesting post. Good job. It's a real area of concern, no doubt. I'm currently working on a fairly substantial post on the science of the GM debate myself; should be up on my blog in three days or so. Best regards, J.