May 19, 2013
This call for action was issued by the National Farmers Union-Ontario.
Press Release - April 2, 2013: New Report Warns of Inevitable Contamination if GM Alfalfa Released in Ontario
Media Advisory - March 28, 2013: Protest Rallies Across Ontario and Canada: April 9 for Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa
Industry Pushing to Release Alfalfa Via Ontario
Monsanto’s GM alfalfa could be registered for use in Eastern Canada this April. GM Roundup Ready alfalfa varieties have just been cleared for the last step before they hit the market – all they need now is a final registration rubber-stamp by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The Canadian Seed Trade Association and its corporate members including Monsanto, Pioneer and Forage Genetics International are also actively trying to get support for the release of GM alfalfa.
Because alfalfa is a perennial plant that is pollinated by bees, genetically modified alfalfa will inevitably cross-pollinate with non-GM and organic alfalfa, threatening the livelihoods of family farmers across Canada. Prairie farmers have already rejected GM alfalfa for these reasons so now the industry is trying to introduce GM alfalfa in Eastern Canada.
On Oct 24, 2012 the Canadian Seed Trade Association held a meeting in Kitchener-Waterloo to decide on a "coexistence" plan for GM alfalfa, to pave the way for introducing GM alfalfa into Canada via Ontario. 120 farmers and supporting consumers protested outside the meeting. Phillip Woodhouse, president of NFU Grey County Local 344 says the term ‘co-existence’ is merely industry spin meant to allay farmers' concerns about contamination. “Make no mistake - GM alfalfa will cross-pollinate with non-GM and organic alfalfa and will threaten the very livelihoods of Ontario’s family farmers," he warned.
Press Release, Oct 24, 2012 - National Farmers Union, Grey County Local 344 and Region 3 Ontario - Farmers Protest “Industry Spin” Designed to Facilitate Licensing of GM Alfalfa in Ontario: Policy of coexistence of GM alfalfa is “utterly absurd", say local farmers
Share the video with your friends and family, screen the video at community events and film fests! You can request the file from us for screening. Click here to find out more information about the people behind the video.
Take Instant Action
- Share the video with your friends and family on facebook, embed the video on your website, "Like" the video!
- Screen the video at your local events, include it in your local film fests.
- Get signatures on the petition.
- Print and download the flyer about GM alfalfa.
- Ask your local health food store to put up this attractive poster about GM alfalfa! The store could also collect signatures on the petition, screen the video or display alfalfa-related foods!
- Order buttons for your community group or event. Contact us.
- Join the GM Alfalfa Campaign Action Listserve.
- Donate today to support the campaign. Thank you for your support!
- Send us your action ideas and share photos from your community. Contact us.
Even More Actions!
- If your Member of Parliament is a Conservative: Click here for important action suggestions that could make a huge difference!
- Farmers: you can send us your testimonials about how alfalfa will impact your farm business. Email Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Farmers: We need videos of you talking about how important alfalfa is to your farm - What is alfalfa? Why is GM alfalfa such a big threat?
- Groups and Businesses: Your group can sign the No to GE Alfalfa campaign statement. Please encourage organizations, producer associations, companies and community groups to sign!
- Retailers: Download and print this poster for your store!
- Retailers: Coming soon: "GM Alfalfa Campaign Action Kit for Retailers". Let us know if you are interested in receiving one.
Summary: Alfalfa growers do not need or want GM alfalfa and have been trying to stop it for at least five years. Organic food and farming in the U.S. and Canada is under immediate threat from GM alfalfa. Conventional farmers will also lose their markets. The introduction of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) herbicide tolerant (Roundup Ready) alfalfa would have serious negative impacts on many different types of farmers and farming systems, both conventional and organic. Because alfalfa is a perennial crop pollinated by bees, GM contamination is inevitable. GM alfalfa was actually approved in Canada in 2005 but still needs to go through one more step before it can be legally sold as seed in Canada.
Why is Alfalfa Important? Alfalfa (harvested as hay) is used as high-protein feed for animals like dairy cows, beef cattle, lambs, poultry and pigs and is also used to build up nutrients in the soil, making it particularly important for organic farming. If introduced, GM alfalfa would ruin export markets for alfalfa products and threaten the future organic food and farming in the North America.
What are Farmers Saying about GM Alfalfa?
Conventional and organic farmers agree that GM alfalfa is not wanted or needed: What conventional alfalfa producers told the House of Commons Agriculture Committee, June 7, 2010
Before the U.S. decided to allow GM alfalfa plantings in early 2011, groups in Canada sent their comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in response to their Draft Environmental Impact Statement on alfalfa. Read the about on the predicted impacts of GM alfalfa and the experience of GM contamination in Canada:
- The National Farmers Union
- Beyond Factory Farming
- The Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, Organic Agriculture Protection Fund
- National Organic Coalition (U.S. with Canadian signatories).
The Campaign So Far
Before the Federal election in Canada, May 2011: Conservative Members of Parliament purposefully delayed a vote (twice) on a motion for a moratorium on GM alfalfa at Agriculture Committee meetings. The Liberals, NDP and Bloc Members all supported the moratorium so if the Conservatives had allowed the vote, the motion would have been approved and the motion would have passed to the House of Commons for a vote. The motion was proposed by the Liberal members of the House of Commons Agriculture Committee after huge public pressure to support Bill C-474 which would have required an assessment of export market harm before any new GM seed was permitted.
In 2007 a judge ruled that the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) approval of GM alfalfa was illegal and ordered the Department to conduct an environmental risk assessment to look into farmer concerns about contamination. In December 2009, the USDA released its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for comment (this is the first time it has conducted this type of analysis for any GM crop). Canadian groups sent in their comments (see above) but in January 2011, the U.S. approved plantings of GM alfalfa. Resistance continues in the U.S.
Join the Campaign
Invitation from the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network and the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate:
The commercialization of genetically modified alfalfa -- GM Alfalfa -- planned by Monsanto and Forage Genetics International, would have a severe, negative impact on Canadian agriculture, markets, and our environment. A united effort by agriculture producer groups, consumer and environmental organizations, as well as concerned individuals, will prevent this from happening. A similar campaign stopped GM wheat in 2004.
This is your invitation to join together to put the brakes on GM Alfalfa.
We invite all organizations, producer associations, companies and community groups to endorse the "No to GM Alfalfa" campaign by signing on to the following statement (Your group’s name will be used in a list of groups that state opposition to GM Alfalfa):
- We oppose the sale, trade and production of GMO Alfalfa in Canada.
- We ask the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to reassess its approval for environmental release of GMO Alfalfa.
- We want the public to understand the hazards, costs and market losses that would result if GMO Alfalfa were released into our environment.
Sign the statement here! or email email@example.com for more info.
The Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD) is a Member of CBAN. SOD is the umbrella group for the organic sector in Saskatchewan. In 2001 the Organic Agriculture Protection Fund Committee was established by SOD in order to protect organic farms and food from contamination by GMOs. The OAPF Committee provided support to the legal action against Monsanto and Bayer to bring about an injunction to stop the commercialization of GMO wheat, and to make the biotech companies liable for losses to organic farmers due to contamination of certified organic crops and fields by GMO canola. In 2004 Monsanto withdrew its application to have GMO wheat approved in Canada.
For more information contact:
OAPF Chairperson, Arnold Taylor at (306) 252-2075, or Lucy Sharratt at the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) (613) 241-2267 ext.25, or firstname.lastname@example.org