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Monthly Archives: October 2018

PEI loan to AquaBounty GE fish farm

Tuesday, October 23, 2018. Charlottetown, P.E.I., Canada – The Government of Prince Edward Island (P.E.I) has provided a new $2 million loan to the company AquaBounty, to help it finish construction of the world’s first genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered) fish factory.

 

“We’re incredulous that our government is loaning even more money to help this company produce such a controversial product,” said Sharon Labchuk of Earth Action PEI. “AquaBounty is struggling financially and the province is throwing good money after bad.”

 

The loan will help the company finish construction of its GM fish production facility at Rollo Bay, P.E.I. The company says it will start producing 250 tonnes of GM Atlantic salmon there in 2019. This follows a 2016 provincial government loan of $717,093.

 

“The government is helping get this Frankenfish factory up and running, even though there’s been local protest for two decades,” said Leo Broderick of The Council of Canadians in PEI. “How much unlabelled GM salmon do Canadians have to eat for the company to pay back these government loans?”

 

The only reason AquaBounty can sell its GM salmon in Canada right now is because no one knows where it is,” said Broderick. There is no mandatory labelling of GM food in Canada.

 

The announcement of the loan comes just days after the major Quebec sushi chain Aki Sushi announced that it refuses to use the GM salmon.(1)

 

The federal government has also granted and loaned at least $8.2 million to support development of the GM salmon, including via an agreement with AquaBounty that stipulates 10% royalties to the government from sales of a related product. The government will not disclose what product is subject to royalty payments.(2)

 

“Investing in this Frankenfish factory is backwards and risky,” said Mary Boyd, of the MacKillop Centre for Social Justice in Charlottetown, “It’s an appalling use of taxpayers’ money. Few taxpayers would even eat the GM salmon, if they had the choice.”

 

The company does not yet have federal government approval to produce GM salmon at the Rollo Bay site, however an Environment Canada assessment appears be underway.(3)

 

The groups are asking the Premier of P.E.I. to provide a rationale for this loan and a full accounting of all government loans and other funding supports to AquaBounty.

 

 

For more information: Leo Broderick, Council of Canadians, 902-316-2921; Mary Boyd, MacKillop Centre for Social Justice,902-892-9074; Sharon Labchuk, Earth Action PEI, 902- 626-7327.

Monsanto trial: judge rejects bid to overturn landmark cancer verdict | Business | The Guardian

Monsanto trial: judge rejects bid to overturn landmark cancer verdict Dewayne Johnson originally won $289m after finding Roundup weedkiller caused illness, but judge reduces financial award Sam Levin in Oakland

Dewayne ‘Lee’ Johnson reacts after hearing the verdict in his case against Monsanto. Photograph: Josh Edelson/AP A California judge has rejected Monsanto’s appeal to overturn a landmark jury verdict which found that its popular herbicide causes cancer.

The judge’s ruling on Monday largely sided with Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a father of three and former school groundskeeper, who won a $289m award over the summer after alleging that his exposure to Roundup weedkiller gave him cancer.

During the trial, the first of its kind, the 46-year-old also alleged that Monsanto had failed to warn him of the risks of using its product. Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, the German pharmaceutical company, filed an appeal of the verdict, which said the company was responsible for “negligent failure”, knew or should have known that its product was “dangerous”, and had “acted with malice or oppression”.

The man who beat Monsanto: ‘They have to pay for not being honest’ Read more Monsanto fought to overturn the verdict, arguing the evidence was insufficient. The San Francisco superior court judge Suzanne Bolanos had suggested in an initial written ruling this month that she was considering granting a new trial. But she ultimately denied Monsanto’s request. However, she has ruled to reduce punitive damages from $250m to $39m.

Source: Monsanto trial: judge rejects bid to overturn landmark cancer verdict | Business | The Guardian

Gene Drive Organisms(GDOs) : new genetic technology 2.0

Forcing the Farm

How Gene Drive Organisms Could Entrench Industrial Agriculture and Threaten Food Sovereignty

» Download the report ( 40 pages  must read for non_GMO activists)

» Read the news release

» The letter, signed by food movement leaders around the world

 

More than 200 global food movement leaders and organizations representing hundreds of millions of farmers and food workers  set out their clear opposition to “gene drives” – a controversial new genetic forcing technology. Their call for a stop to this technology accompanies a new report, Forcing the Farm, that lifts the lid on how gene drives may harm food and farming systems.

Gene drives are a genetic engineering tool that aim to force artificial genetic changes through entire populations of animals, insects and plants. Unlike previous genetically modified organisms (GMOs) these gene drive organisms (GDOs) are deliberately designed to spread genetic pollution as an agricultural strategy – for example, spreading ‘auto-extinction’ genes to wipe out agricultural pests. Agri-research bodies now developing these extinction-organisms include the California Cherry Board, the US Citrus Research Board and the private California company Agragene Inc. Next month, the United Nations Biodiversity Convention will meet to discuss measures to control this technology, including a possible moratorium.

The Forcing the Farm report, researched and produced by ETC Group and The Heinrich Boell Foundation, details several ways in which gene drive technology is being readied for application in agriculture. The report exposes how gene drive developers are deliberately keeping agricultural applications from view while trying to focus public interest on high profile health and conservation projects. Reports of secret meetings with a US defence committee show that agribusiness firms such as Monsanto-Bayer and Cibus Bioscience appear to be engaging with gene drive development.

Gene Drives and Agriculture: Six examples drawn from Forcing the Farm

  • Gene drives are being engineered into flies, insects, worms and other pests to spread sterility as a biological alternative to pesticides.
  • Researchers are proposing using gene drives as a breeding tool to increase meat production in livestock.
  • Auto-extinction” gene drives are being engineered into rats and mice as well as beetles that affect storage of grains.
  • Patents have been sought to engineer gene drives into honey bees to control pollination patterns using light beams.
  • Research is ongoing to engineer gene drives into common weed species to make them more susceptible to herbicides such as Roundup.
  • Analysis of two key patents on gene drives show that they each reference around 500-600 agricultural uses including brand names of 186 herbicides, 46 pesticides, 310 agricultural pest insects, nematodes, mites, moths and others 

If your organization would like to sign on to the call for a moratorium against gene drives, email genedrives@synbiowatch.org.

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