Cattlemen sue Hawaii County over GMO ban

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Hawaiian papaya and banana growers have joined cattlemen and floral producers to fight a ban on open-air growing and testing of genetically modified crops imposed by the Hawaii County Council.

The ban exempts existing papaya crops and growers. However, no new acres can be planted, according to the case filed June 9 in federal court. Hawaii County includes the entire Island of Hawaii. A scheduling hearing is set Sept. 8.

Growers say the ban — known as Bill 113 — conflicts with state and federal laws and is unconstitutional, according to the case filed by the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association (HPIA) and the Big Island Banana Growers Association. Other plaintiffs joining in the case include the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, the Pacific Floral Exchange and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

The Hawaii County Council approved Bill 113 in December with a 6-3 vote. It requires existing GMO growers to annually register and pay a $100 fee. In another court action, a judge recently ruled the county cannot make public growers’ personal information and specific field locations collected in the registry.

Growers challenged publication of the registry saying it would encourage vandalism, which has previously resulted in crop destruction.

Hawaii’s papaya industry was nearly destroyed by ringspot virus in the early 1990s, and development of the Rainbow variety was the industry’s answer. The Rainbow variety passed federal review and was first planted in 1998. According to court documents, at least 85% of the papaya crop grown on Hawaii Island is Rainbow.

“Bill 113 has stigmatized HPIA members by conveying a false message that (GMO) crops and plants harm human health and the environment and has imposed other costs on HPIA,” according to the lawsuit.

Banana growers, including Richard Ha who is a plaintiff in the federal case, contend they need the option to test and possibly plant GMO bananas to mitigate threats from bunchy top virus and other diseases.

Cattlemen on the island want to grow additional animal feed, including genetically modified corn, to combat increasing costs of importing feed or shipping their animals to the mainland for finishing, according to the complaint.

The county flatly denied all allegations in its answer to the federal case, stating it intends to rely on the defense of “public necessity.”

County Councilwoman Margaret Wille sponsored Bill 113 last year. Among those speaking in favor of the GMO ban at public hearings was actress Roseanne Barr who lives on the island and identified herself as an organic farmer.

The ban states its purpose is to protect the public’s right to a “clean and healthful environment,” to protect non-GMO crops and plants from GMO cross pollination and to preserve the island’s ecosystem “while promoting the cultural heritage of indigenous agricultural practices.”

The growers say existing regulations already provide those protections. Their complaint cites research by the U.S. government, World Health Organization, American Medical Association and the European Union that show GMO food is safe.

The complaint also cites statistics from the USDA that show 93% of soybeans and 90% of corn grown in the U.S. are GMO. It also cites a statement from the Grocery Manufacturers Association that 70% to 80% of all food consumed in the U.S. contains genetically modified ingredients.


Prev 1 2 Next All



Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...


Comments (2) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left

Robert Wager    
Canada  |  July, 17, 2014 at 03:04 PM

The court case will be very interesting as unsubstantiated fear stories will carry zero weight while the decades of real research on the safety of this technology will be brought before the court.

Jerry    
Iowa  |  July, 21, 2014 at 12:51 PM

The media, whipping up fear, can sell the uninformed person anything. Everthing hoolywood sells is the truth because it is on T.V.


1325 Bushel Grain Cart

Equipped with a 22” computer balanced auger with 5/16” flighting,the unloading speed is 50% faster than smaller grain carts with ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form