Stop Terminator Technology
An Action Alert from the ETC Group
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PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY AND ACT NOW!
The Canadian Government is pushing for Terminator Technology in UN meetings Wednesday Feb 9 (Bangkok)!
A confidential document leaked to ETC Group reveals the Canadian Government, at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Bangkok (Feb 7-11), plans to sabotage an international moratorium on genetic seed sterilisation technology, (known as Terminator Technology or Sterile Seeds). The Canadian government has instructed its negotiators to 'block consensus' on any other option.
The Canadian government is doing the dirty work for the multinational gene giants and the U.S. government. Even Monsanto wasn't prepared to be this upfront and nasty.
Terminator technology was first developed by the U.S. government and the seed industry to prevent farmers from re-planting saved seed and is considered the most controversial and immoral agricultural application of genetic engineering so far. When first made public in 1998, "suicide seeds" triggered massive public opposition that forced Monsanto to abandon Terminator and prompted the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to impose a de facto moratorium on its further development.
Canada will push Wednesday (9 Feb) that governments accept field
testing and commercialization of Terminator varieties (referred to as GURTS -
Genetic Use Restriction Technologies). Canada will also attack an official
UN report, prepared by an international expert group, which is critical of
the potential impacts of Terminator seeds on small farmers and Indigenous
Peoples. In stark contrast to Canada's position, the expert report recommends that governments seek prohibitions on the technology.
Canada's Prime Minister Hon. Paul Martin
Email: [email protected]; Fax:(613) 941-6900; Tel: (613) 992-4211
Hon. Andy Mitchell, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Email: [email protected]; Fax: (613) 991-2147 Tel: (613) 996-3434
F.B. Fadden, President, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Email: [email protected]; Fax: 228 6608 Tel: (613) 225-2342 extension 3737
SAMPLE LETTER BELOW
Prime Minister Paul Martin
House of Commons
Dear Mr. Martin,
I am writing to urgently request that you continue support for the current international ban on Terminator Technology, officially known as Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTS).
Terminator technology was developed jointly by the U.S. government and the seed industry to prevent farmers from saving seed from one year's harvest and replanting it the next season. It is considered the most controversial and immoral agricultural application of genetic engineering to date. Massive public opposition to the introduction of these "suicide seeds" in 1998 forced the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to impose a de facto moratorium on further development of GURTS.
Until recently, only a few multinational seed companies and the US government were pressing for a lifting of the ban on GURTS. But it now appears that our own government is aiding and abetting these vested interests.
According to leaked instructions to the Canadian delegation at SBSTTA 10 (a scientific advisory body to the CBD) in Bangkok, Thailand, Canada will insist on Wednesday, February 9, 2005, that governments accept the field testing and commercialization of GURTS varieties. Canadian negotiators have been instructed to undermine an official UN report recommending that governments seek prohibitions on GURTS technology. They have also been instructed to "block consensus" on other options if the ban is not lifted.
Farmers have an inalienable right to save, re-use, and exchange seed based on the traditional practices of thousands of generations of cultivators worldwide. The lifting of the moratorium on GURTS would effectively end farmers' rights to save seed and pose a serious threat to food sovereignty.
It is appalling that the Canadian government is adopting such heavy-handed tactics in support of multinational seed companies and the US government. The Canadian delegation's strategy in Bangkok has to be abandoned. The Canadian government must reverse its stand on this issue and join with other governments to prohibit the GURTS technology once and for all.
In the interests of the world's farmers and people everywhere, I urge you, as Prime Minister, to immediately take action on this critical issue by directing the Canadian delegation to support the moratorium on GURTS.
For more information on Terminator Technology: www.etcgroup.org/documents/TermCom03.pdf
Pat Mooney (in Ottawa) +1 613 241 2267 or [email protected] Lucy Sharratt, Researcher, Polaris Institute 312 Cooper Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2P 0G7 (613) 237 1717 Fax: (613) 237 3359 www.polarisinstitute.org