It is time for the Australian Governement to take stock and a close look at the adverse impacts of the commercial cultivation of GM crops. It is the only way to make them realise that this new technology is not a magic bullet and is putting all of us at risk. Please join these three Australian farmers in asking the Senate to hold an inquiry into the post-commercialisation impacts of existing regulated GM crops. Sign the petition now!
Bob Mackley, Victoria
Bob Mackley is a grain farmer at Duchembegarra, Western Victoria. His family have been farming in the area for four generations but he is the first one who had to face genetic contamination. In January 2011, floods washed genetically modified (GM) canola from his neighbour’s paddocks onto his property. He was not able to sell his canola from that land as GM-free anymore and had to change rotations and herbicide regims and cover extra clean-up costs. There have been many GM contamination cases like his around the country but there is no system in place to protect us from GM crops. Most farmers don’t say anything and just swallow it. They are under pressure to stay silent even if everybody knows it is unfair. Nobody talks about it. It’s very bad etiquette. But it is changing. For the first time ever, a farmer has decided to take a stand and, as the only avenue available, he is taking his neighbour to court for compensation of loss and damages after the contamination of 70 % of his land and the loss of his organic certification. It was not an easy decision, he is facing huge legal costs and the fight between the two neigbours has divided their local community.
GM isn’t a solution, it’s just another problem, and a big one. The only way GM products are accepted by end users if if they are very cheap or hidden by unclear labeling. Bob wants to be proud of what he produces and not have to resort to dodgy labeling to have it accepted by people. He also doesn’t wish to deal with companies that will not clearly state where their products are used.
Janette Liddelow (Western Australia)
Janette and Brian Liddelow of Ilfracombe farm with their son and daughter in law, Dylan and Emma, at Williams in Western Australia. The Liddelows have been farming since the 1920s and currently have grain, hay and sheep enterprises. On first hearing of the genetic modification of seed and the accompanying patented system of agriculture fifteen years ago, Janette has been campaigning to stop it. The increased knowledge brought with mapping the genome of organisms over the last decade has also highlighted the complexity and interactive nature of genetic material. It is what scientists do not know that is Janette’s main concern. The irreversibility of the process once the altered organisms are in the environment and in the human body through food is of great concern.
The influence of the chemical companies and biotech industry on policy makers, research bodies, academic institutions, media and the food safety regulators is extremely worrying. The shutdown of debate in the scientific community, the denouncing of very notable individuals and their research findings, and the collusion between governments and the biotech industry players in getting GM seed out into the paddocks is shocking.
Consumers have no choice to avoid GM food while governments refuse to enforce labelling and farmers are losing their choice as contamination increases with each farming year. There is no knowledge and no regulation as to how GM product is moving through livestock into the food chain. Rural communities and farmers like Steve Marsh and his neighbour are suffering because of lack of wise governance and leadership by policy makers and regulators. For the future of our planet and human health we should all be standing up for Steve and in doing so help stop the use of genetically modified organisms on our farms.
Fred Haskins (New South Wales)
Fred Haskins is a farmer from Kellyville in western Sydney involved in Horticulture, has a broad knowledge of agriculture having also been involved in broad acre farming west of the range. He is also an elected representative member of NSW Farmers Association, and previously served in the Association for a number of years as an Executive Councillor for Region 7 as well as being the Horticultural Committee representative for the Hunter Hawkesbury area. Fred completed a course at the Fu EM Science School in Fujian PRC in 2004 on the use of using Effective Micro organism technology in agriculture and waste management. Since then have been involved in educating farmers in the advantages of using this technology both in Australia and overseas to produce crops without the need to resort to chemicals.
Fred has been very concerned on the issues resulting from the introduction of GMOs to both the environment and Human health. and have been very active within NSW Farmers in having GMOs properly regulated.