Commentary: A ban on genetically engineered crops?
The petition seeks a banning of such crops and seeds from being used on NWRs, and a monitoring program where FWS conducts field surveys of areas where GE crops are planted. It seeks to have FWS provide the public with information regarding location of GE crops, acreage planted, the type of crop, whether it is roundup ready or BT and the types of pesticides and herbicides that are used, including the dates and amounts of application.
Finally, the NGOs want FWS to conduct field surveys in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to find GE plants that germinate in the fields and remove and destroy any such plants.
The petition is a wake-up call for American agriculture.
The Center for Food Safety, the lead NGO, claims it has 400,000 members nationwide, and that it was successful as a plaintiff in halting the planting of GE crops on the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge where CFS used the National Environmental Policy Act to stop the planting of GE crops. CFS claims its lawsuit halted the use of GE crop planting in 12 states in the Northeast.
CFS claims its members grow organic seed crops and consumes products made with non-GE materials and without pesticides. CFS also claims its members "…regularly eat organic foods and desire foods that are free of GE material and chemical pesticides."
The petition claims there are threats associated with the use of GE crops such as "transgenic contamination," "creation of herbicide resistant superweeds," and an increase in the use of pesticides.
The NGO petition filed last week demonstrates what the U.K. Secretary of the Environment is saying. NGOs opposed to the development of GE crops are, as he says, "politically motivated" and if GE technology is blocked, it will cause the United Kingdom to become "a museum of farming."
These words should ring as a warning to those working in agriculture in the United States.
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