Archive | June, 2011

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Hermaphrodite GMO Goats Modified with Human Genes to be Milked in New Zealand

Posted on 24 June 2011 by admin

By Steffan Browning
Soil & Health Association of New Zealand

AgResearch’s genetically engineered (GE) goat experiments have a new bizarre twist with surviving GE pregnancies producing mostly [hermaphrodite*] offspring, that AgResearch staff term ‘goys,’ according to the Soil & Health Association of NZ.

An AgResearch farm manager recently revealed to Soil & Health and GE Free NZ, during a tour of its Ruakura GE animal field trial site, that most of the GE goats produced were [hermaphrodite]. It appeared that about 75% were “goys” with the remainder female.

“The “goys”, females in sterile male bodies, are to be induced into milking to ascertain whether the intended genetically engineered (GE) human protein will be expressed in the milk,” said Soil & Health – Organic NZ spokesperson Steffan Browning.

Previous GE cattle pregnancies have only 5% success, with the goats reported to have a success rate of possibly 15%, although one flock of about 18 recipient does failed to hold one GE embryo of a particular experiment. AgResearch has a track record of resultant GE offspring prone to a variety of disabilities including arthritis, respiratory distress, deformities and ruptured ovaries.(1)

“The 15 “goys” we saw had four true sisters, with one induced to milking at six months following AgResearch’s in-house ethics committee approval.”(2)

“Although grateful to AgResearch for hosting GE Free NZ President Claire Bleakley and myself for a tour of the AgResearch Ruakura GE animal facility, we were concerned at the continued animal welfare issues and the level of contaminated surface water that was draining off the experimental  property.”

“Considering that a recent report showed AgResearch scientists intentionally corrupting monitoring research of risky microbial horizontal gene transfer (HGT), these unnatural reproductive outcomes and continued animal welfare issues, should spell the end of the Ruakura GE experiments,” said Mr Browning.(3)

“Good animal welfare records and a GE free reputation are very important for New Zealand’s trading image and increasingly demanded by consumers. Cruel experiments for a GE farming future are not what either New Zealanders or valuable overseas consumers want.”(4)

“AgResearch is at the cruel operator end of a business partnership with a dirty drug manufacturer, Genzyme, who has been investigated and fined by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for poor manufacturing practices.” (5)

“Knowing that it would be a nuisance for AgResearch and its overseas partners, the government disbanded the New Zealand Bioethics Council two years ago in full knowledge that distressing animal welfare issues are clearly predictable in GE research. The Bioethics Council had been calling for ethics reviews of all GE animal experiments.” (6)

“The AgResearch Ruakura facility currently is the only active GE field trial operating in the country, although Scion intends planting some GE pine trees at its GE field trial site in Rotorua this winter.”

Closing both field trials could return Aotearoa New Zealand’s environment to a full GE free status.

Soil & Health wants AgResearch’s cruel and unnatural animal experiments stopped immediately, the reinstatement of the New Zealand Bioethics Council, and for the government to move quickly towards desirable high value sustainable, animal friendly, GE free, and organic production.

NOTES:

(1) http://www.ermanz.govt.nz/no/compliance/agresearch.html ERMA Annual reports on GMF98009 and GMD 02028

(2) Photographs attached and available at a higher resolution.

(3) http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/Vol_6(1)/pdf/6(1)-Heinemann-pp3-19..pdf

(4) http://www.organicnz.org/soil-and-health-press/1007/kiwi-poll-rejects-ge-animals/%20

(5) http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2124303620100421

(6) http://www.mfe.govt.nz/website/closed-sites/images/bioethics.jpgNew Zealand Bioethics Council, August 2004 Report: The Cultural, Ethical and Spiritual Dimensions of the Use of Human Genes in Other Organisms.

Ed. Note: The press release uses the term “transgender” which is a misnomer. Transgender means to change gender, whereas hermaphrodites are born (usually sterile) with sex organs of both genders, or with the physical appearance of one gender and the DNA of the other. (See, e.g. Wikipedia on Hermaphrodite and on Intersex, which applies to humans.) Relating to humans, see this Intersex Society of North America FAQ page.

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Coming in 2012: GMO Front Lawns and Mass Spraying of Neighborhoods and Playgrounds with RoundUp

Posted on 17 June 2011 by admin

(NaturalNews) Thanks to a recent admission by the USDA that it does not have the regulatory framework to even regulate GMOs, the world of biotech is set to unleash a tidal wave of genetically modified seeds upon the United States. This is the upshot of Scotts Miracle-Gro challenging the USDA over its GMO grass seeds, to which the USDA threw in the towel and essentially announced it can’t technically regulate many GMOs at all.

Welcome to the new world order of GMO self regulation, where the companies that produce the GMO seeds now get to regulate their own behavior! (http://motherjones.com/tom-philpott…)

Scotts Miracle-Gro is now moving full speed ahead on its GMO yard grass product, which could theoretically be introduced into the marketplace as early as 2012. This is a home consumer yard grass seed which, of course, resists glyphosate (RoundUp), and its introduction into the marketplace would almost certainly result in millions of homeowners across America planting these seeds in their yard and then spraying RoundUp across their entire lawn as a “treatment” for eliminating weeds.

RoundUp, in other words, may be coming soon to a neighborhood near you. And it’s not just the lawns, either: This combination of Scotts GMO grass and RoundUp chemicals could be used on playgrounds, schoolyards, community centers and parks. Once this goes into production, there will be virtually no place your family can go in America that isn’t contaminated with genetically modified grass seeds and toxic glyphosate chemicals.

A whole new wave of superweeds

The upshot of all this is not merely the astonishing lack of regulation now being admitted by the USDA (which always sided with the biotech industry anyway, so what’s new?), but the cause-and-effect results we may soon see. We could be looking at awave of superweeds spreading across America.

These superweeds will be the baddest, toughest and most chemically-resistant weeds our world has ever seen. They develop as mutant derivatives of the mass spraying of RoundUp chemicals across lawns. In much the same way thatsuperbugsdevelop in the presence of widespread antibiotics abusesuperweeds, develop in the presence of widespread glyphosate abuse (http://www.businessinsider.com/gene…).

And of course once these superweeds take over America’s sidewalks, driveways and lawns, there will be cries for newer, stronger chemical products to kill those superweeds, too. And who will come to the rescue? Monsanto, of course… the very same company that produces RoundUp and thereby contributed to the problem in the first place.

Let the boycott of Scott’s Miracle Grow begin!

Join NaturalNews in boycotting Scotts products beginning today. We will maintain this boycott until Scotts announces it will no longer pursue GMO seeds. Remember: GMO Kentucky bluegrass willcross-pollinatewith other grasses in the wild, leading towidespread GMO contamination of lawns across our nation!

Join us in sending complaints to Scotts about their pursuit of GMOs. Click here to send Scotts an email.

Then call them by phone at 888-270-3714 (during normal business hours). When you call, let them know you are strongly opposed to their pursuit of GMO Kentucky bluegrass and that you will stop buying all Scotts / Miracle-Gro products from here forward unless Scotts announces it will back away from GMOs.

You may alsomail them a letterby sending it to:
Scotts Help Center
14111 Scottslawn Rd.
Marysville, OH 43041

Why this matters

Please join us in this protest against Scotts Miracle-Gro. And to once again summarizewhythis action is important, remember these simple truths:

• Unleashing genetically modified Kentucky bluegrass in America, to be used across neighborhood lawns and playgrounds, will result in the mass genetic contamination of other types of grasses.

• There is absolutelyno scientific evidenceshowing GMO Kentucky bluegrass to be safe for neighborhoods or the environment. The USDA simply refuses to regulate it.

• Scotts Miracle-Gro isextremely irresponsiblein pursuing such a product, and the company could be guilty ofcrimes against natureif it unleashes these products into the wild.

• If this GMO grass is planted on lawns across America, it will spur the widespread use of Roundup herbicide(made by Monsanto), which will devastate the soils and contaminate the streams and rivers downstream. We are talking about potentially dumpingtens of millions of gallonsof RoundUp into the environment while boosting the profits of Monsanto!

• If Scotts Miracle-Gro pursues this genetically modified lawn seed, it will instantly place itself on the list of thetop 10 most evil companiesin North America, earning it widespread criticism, condemnation and boycotts from consumers (who, for the most part, have a positive image of Scott’s right now). Many gardeners who currently use Scotts Miracle-Gro products will boycott them instead. Gardeners love the natural world, remember. And they do not like to see companies unleashing GMOs across that natural world.

• NaturalNews will continue to track and publicize Scotts’ actions regarding GMO grass seed, and if the company insists in introducing this product, we will work with people like Jeffrey Smith (www.ResponsibleTechnology.org) to organize massive protests against such irresponsible business practices.

Spread the word. Boycott Scotts Miracle-Gro. This company is on the verge of releasing GMO seeds across outfront lawns and neighborhoods– a move that would soon be followed by the mass-spraying of RoundUp pesticides by all your ignorant neighbors who know nothing of the dangers of GMOs and glyphosate.

Please share this story and help get the word out. Scotts Miracle-Gro must go. Just Say No to GMOs (www.NaturalNews.com/music).

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/033022_Scotts_Miracle-Gro_GMO_seeds.html#ixzz1auiWyTbN

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Victory Against GMOs, U.S. Congress Bans FDA from approving GM salmon

Posted on 16 June 2011 by admin

(NaturalNews) The U.S. House of Representatives passed a law today that would effectively bar the FDA from approving GM salmon. This is a direct result of the rising awareness of the dangers of GMOs among American consumers, along with steady coverage of the issue by the alternative media (including NaturalNews) and the efforts of Jeffrey Smith from ResponsibleTechnology.org

For months, the FDA has seemed on the verge of approving GM salmon. They claim it’s no different than regular salmon and has zerohealthrisks. This is a lie, of course: TheFDAhas no idea what the long-term health effects are fromgenetically modifiedsalmon (or GM foods of any other kind, actually), and the pending approval ofGM salmonwas actually the result ofcriminal corruptioninsidethe FDAwhich now favors big corporate interests instead of the health and safety Americanpeople.

The FDA, it turns out, will approvealmost anypoison– even one that kills people or gives them cancer — as long as some sufficiently wealthy corporation profits from it. All the so-called “scientific scrutiny” the FDA says it conducted in regards to GMsalmonwas nothing more than an elaborate circus act designed to bring the appearance ofscienceto an agenda that has nothing to do with science at all… and everything to do with politics and profit (http://www.naturalnews.com/029770_s…).

The FDA is so incredibly corrupt that it believesconsumersshould NOT even know whichfoodscontain genetically modified ingredients! The idea thatGMOfoods should be honestly labeled is considered highly offensive by the FDA. It wants to keep consumers ignorant of what’s in theirfoodbecauseif people really knew what was in most of the food they buy, they would be absolutely horrified.

GMOs, asNaturalNewsreaders well know, are not merely carriers of the genetic code to produce poison pesticides; they have also been scientifically proven tocause widespread infertility. (http://www.naturalnews.com/025001.html)

Learn more about the dangers of GMOs atwww.ResponsibleTechnology.orgor watch my music videoJust Say NO to GMOsat:http://www.naturalnews.com/NoGMO.html

How do you stop a rogue federal agency from poisoning the people?

Alaskan Republican Don Young gets the credit for spearheading this effort to halt GM salmon. He accomplished this by amending a farm spending bill and including language that prevents the FDA from spendingmoneyon approving GM salmon.

The reason this strategy is necessary is because the FDA isa rogue agencythat largely operates outside the law to pursue its own agenda. As explained by attorney Jonathan Emord, author ofThe Rise of Tyranny(http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Tyranny-…), U.S. federal agencies operate asKingdomsthat respect no law and are run by unelected bureaucrats. The FDA respects no law and no freedoms whatsoever — not even the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The only wayCongresscan intervene in the FDA’s agenda to keep Americans ignorant of the presence ofGMOsin their food is to deprive it of the funding it needs to operate.

This is why the FDA is constantly trying to expand its budget through deceptive legislation efforts such as the S.510 Food Safety Bill. Every corrupt (evil) federal agency always wants more money so that it can have more power and authority over everybody else. And because the people who run these agencies are never elected (FDA, FTC, USDA,DEA, DHS, etc.),they answer to no oneand can never be removed from their jobs by the voters.

This is howtyrannygrows, just as we’ve seen with the TSA and its lewdbodysearches that are conducted in complete violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Not yet law

This effort to deny the FDA the ability to approve GM salmon isn’t a law yet. It’s only been passed by the House. Now theSenateneeds to approve a similar amendment before it can become law. So the battle continues in the Senate…

If this effort succeeds, it will be the first time the U.S. Congress has really stood up against the FDA to fight forrealfood safetyin the United States ofAmerica. And it may signify the beginning of a huge public backlash against GMOs that will ultimately end in GMOs being outlawed in the USA.

Watch for more posts here at NaturalNews as we track the outcome of this legislative effort. Also, I predict the FDA will hurry up and try to approve GM salmon in the next few weeks before this bill becomes law, thereby circumventing its effects. If it does, the FDA will actually be guilty of unleashing what can only be called anexperimental biological weapononto the U.S. public.

It will alsodestroy the salmon industrybecause no one will trust salmon anymore. If you don’t know which salmon is GMO or not, would you keep buying salmon? Probably not.

Sources for this story include:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art…

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/032719_GM_salmon_Congress.html#ixzz1av59phFH

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House Votes To Block FDA Approval Of Genetically Modified Salmon

Posted on 15 June 2011 by admin

WASHINGTON — The House voted Wednesday to prohibit the Food and Drug Administration from approving genetically modified salmon for human consumption.

The FDA is set to decide this year whether to approve the modified fish, which grows twice as fast as the natural variety. The FDA said last year that the fish appears to be safe to eat but an agency advisory panel said more studies may be needed before it is served on the nation’s dinner tables.

If the salmon is approved, it would be the first time the government allowed such modified animals to be marketed for human consumption. It was created by a Massachusetts company, AquaBounty, which says its fish is safe and environmentally sustainable.

Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, offered an amendment to a farm spending bill late Wednesday that would prohibit the FDA from spending money to approve AquaBounty’s application. The amendment was approved by voice vote.

Young argued that the modified fish would compete with wild salmon in his state. Other critics have labeled the modified salmon a “frankenfish” that possibly could cause allergies in humans and eventually decimate the wild salmon population.

AquaBounty has added a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon that allows the fish to produce their growth hormone all year long. The bioengineers were able to keep the hormone active by using another gene from an eel-like fish called an ocean pout that acts like an on switch for the hormone, according to the company. Conventional salmon produce the growth hormone only some of the time.

The FDA has appeared favorable toward the engineered fish, saying there are no biologically relevant difference between the engineered salmon and conventional salmon and there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from its consumption. The agency is also considering whether the fish needs to be labeled as modified.

Approval would open the door for a variety of other genetically engineered animals, including a more environmentally-friendly pig that is being developed in Canada or cattle that are resistant to mad cow disease. Each would have to be approved by the FDA.

The House is expected to pass the farm spending bill later this week. The Senate has not weighed in on the issue.

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GMOs Failing Across America – Farmer to Farmer Documentary Film Reveals Disastrous Failure

Posted on 14 June 2011 by admin

(NaturalNews) The mainstream media reports almost nothing about the downside of GMO farming. Only the propaganda of creating more agricultural abundance cheaply is broadcasted. A short video documentary “Farmer to Farmer: The Truth about GM Crops” offers a glimpse into the undisclosed downside reality of GMO farming.

Documentary Essence

Michael Hart has been a commercial farmer in Cornwall, England for thirty years. He is not an organic farmer, but he is a proponent of agricultural diversity from family farms. He wants the EU to avoid theGMOseed/herbicide trap.

His recently produced short documentary focuses onAmerican farmers, who have bought into thebiotechindustry’s propaganda of higher yields with less overhead. Thefarmershe interviewed underscore the same theme:Monsantohas trapped them into a financial system of patented seeds andherbicidesthat have resulted in faltering crop yields with higher operating expenses.

Major Points Discussed in the Video

Monsanto sells its Roundupherbicidespecifically for itsRoundup ReadyGM seeds. It’s part of a rigidly enforced deal. The deal is sold with the promise that one post emergence pass (spraying after plants emerge) ofRoundupwill be sufficient for high crop yields of Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready GMOseeds.

At first this appeared to be the case. But within a short time, Roundup resistantweedsbegan sprouting. Different combinations of tank mixed herbicides had to be contrived and purchased in addition to Monsanto’s contractually required Roundup herbicide. Monsanto even sold tank mixed herbicides as well.

Not only did one pass not work, but farmers also attested to different combinations of herbicides with several passes, which included pre-emergence and post emergence spraying to manage theircrops. The new weeds had become a plague. And GMO crop production wound up demanding even morepesticideapplications thannon-GMOcommercial farming.

Because the biotechindustrynow funds most agricultural university research, the farmers are concerned about the lack of attention toward developing betterpesticidesthat would minimize spraying. When the composite chemical tank pesticides don’t do the job, Monsanto advises farmers to pull weeds by hand. Many crop fields are well over a thousand acres!

GMO farmers are contractually barred from saving seeds for future crop planting. This violates a centuries old custom. They have to buy new GMO seeds from Monsanto for every new crop planting. A non-GMOfarmercan save seeds to raise new crops. Even if GMO seeds are cheaper, in the long run the non-GMO farmer saves money since he’s able to use seeds saved from prior plantings many times over.

Even so, prices for non-GMO seeds have increased substantially as public (not patented) seeds are being crowded out of the market with Monsanto’sgovernment granted ability to patent seeds that are not genetically modified. Farmers hire professional seed cleaners to clean and sort their saved seeds. Monsanto harasses seed cleaners to ensure they are not mixing Monsanto’s patented seeds with farmers’ saved seeds.

American farmers realize the co-existence of non-GMO fields with GMO fields is impossible. They’ve had to learn the hard way that cross pollination and seeds carried by wind and migrating birds contaminate their non-GMO fields. And Monsanto uses patent law to prosecute farmers, who have been unwittingly contaminated by nearby GM fields belonging to other farmers. This type of intimidation forces non-GMO farmers out of business.

Conclusion

Michael Hart has vowed to promote GMOresistanceto EU farmers. Beyond Hart’s mission, health freedom activists, who are concerned about GMO threat to human health, should consider including disgruntled GMO and non-GMO commercial farmers in an international coalition of GMO resistance.

You can view the Farmer to Farmer video here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEX6…

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/033264_farmers_GMOs.html#ixzz1avQuvhzT

 

Farmer to Farmer: The Truth About GM Crops (Video)

Presented and Narrated by Michael Hart
Edited by Pete Speller
2011, 24 minutes
Websites: gmcropsfarmertofarmer.com and PeteSpeller.com

Michael Hart, a conventional livestock family farmer from Cornwall (UK), investigates the reality of farming genetically modified crops in the USA since their introduction in 1996.  He travels across the US interviewing farmers and other specialists about their experiences of growing GM.

Hart has been farming in Cornwall for nearly thirty years and has actively campaigned on behalf of family farmers for over fifteen years, travelling extensively in Europe, India, Canada and the USA.

During the making of the film he heard problems of the ever increasing costs of seeds and chemicals to weeds becoming resistant to herbicides.

US farmers told him that a single pass (one herbicide application) is a fallacy and concurred that three or more passes are the norm for GM crops.

As weeds have become more resistant to glyphosate there has been a sharp increase in the use of herbicide tank mixes (most of them patented and owned by the biotech companies). Astonishingly some farmers were now having to resort to hand labour to remove weeds.

Farmers have seen the costs spiral, for example, the price of seed has gone from $40 to over $100 per acre over the last few years.

Farmers referred to co-existence (the ability to grow GM crops next to non-GM and organic crops) as “unsolvable” and say that it does not work.

His work uncovers:

  1. A huge “weed” problem;
  2. The myth of co-existence;
  3. Farmers trapped into the genetically modified biotech system; and
  4. Huge price increases for seeds and sprays- well beyond the price increases farmers have received for their crops.

In short, the film shows US farmers urging great caution to be exercised by UK and European farmers in adopting this technology.

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Rival Claims Over Cows That Produce Mothers’ Milk

Posted on 10 June 2011 by admin

BUENOS AIRES – Scientists in two countries looked set to lock horns Friday over who had produced the world’s first human milk … from cows.

An Argentine laboratory announced Thursday that it had created the world’s first transgenic cow, using human genes that will allow the animal to produce the equivalent of mothers’ milk.

The claim came only days after reports emerged from China saying scientists there had genetically modified dairy cows to produce human breast milk and hoped to be selling it in supermarkets within three years.

The researchers at the Agricultural University in Beijing said they had a 300-strong herd of transgenic cows, which had been bred by inserting human genes into cloned cow embryos which were then implanted into surrogate cows.

However, AFP reported that Argentina’s National Institute of Agrobusiness Technology said of their research, “The cloned cow, named Rosita ISA, is the first bovine born in the world that incorporates human genes that contain the proteins present in human milk.”

Rosita ISA was born on April 6 by caesarian because she weighed more than 99 pounds (45kg), about twice the normal weight of Jersey cows, according to the statement.

As an adult, “the cow will produce milk that is similar to humans,” the statement said.

In China, workers at the university’s dairy farm have already tasted the milk — and said it is sweeter and stronger than the bovine variety.

“It’s good,” said worker Jiang Yao, according to Sky News. “It’s better for you because it’s genetically modified.”

The scientists there said they have also produced animals that are resistant to mad cow disease, as well as beef cattle that are genetically modified to produce more nutritious meat.

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GMO Honey Banned in Europe

Posted on 09 June 2011 by admin

GMO honey banned in Europe

“Bitter honey for the GMO lobby,” quips the Tageszeitung on its front page following the ban brought down by the European Court of Justice on honey containing traces – even minute ones – of genetically modified organisms. “The ruling is a slap in the face for the European Commission, which has left no stone unturned for years to help transgenic agriculture break through into the market – against the wishes of consumers,” writes the TAZ. “

In Brussels, other proposals for directives are still in the drawers. But with this ruling the Court of Justice has reminded the EU that things are not ‘as simple as that,’” writes the TAZ, which is pleased with the ruling. For the alternative Berlin daily, the decision will slow the “creeping contamination of our food” by GMOs. Importing honey from the United States, Canada, Argentina or Brazil, countries with no regulations on the subject, will now be virtually impossible.

Source: Presseurop

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China Genetically Modifying Cows To Produce Human Breast Milk

Posted on 08 June 2011 by admin

BEIJING – Chinese scientists have genetically modified dairy cows to produce human breast milk, and hope to be selling it in supermarkets within three years.

The milk produced by the transgenic cows is identical to the human variety, with the same immune-boosting and antibacterial qualities as breast milk, scientists at China’s Agricultural University in Beijing said.

The transgenic herd of 300 was bred by inserting human genes into cloned cow embryos which were then implanted into surrogate cows. The technology used was similar to that used to produce Dolly the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned by scientists, in Scotland.

The milk is still undergoing safety tests, but with government permission it will be sold to consumers as a more nutritious dairy drink than cow’s milk.

Workers at the university’s dairy farm have already tasted the milk — and said it is sweeter and stronger than the bovine variety, according to Sky News .

“It’s good,” said worker Jiang Yao. “It’s better for you because it’s genetically modified.”

The scientists have also produced animals that are resistant to mad cow disease, as well as beef cattle that are genetically modified to produce more nutritious meat.

The director of the research project, Professor Li Ning, said Western concerns about the ethics of genetic modification are misplaced.

“There are 1.5 billion people in the world who don’t get enough to eat,” he said. “It’s our duty to develop science and technology, not to hold it back. We need to feed people first, before we consider ideals and convictions.”

UPDATE:  Argentine Scientists Claim To Have Created Herd To Produce Breast Milk

source: myfoxny.com

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GMO Protests greet opening of new Gates Foundation campus

Posted on 04 June 2011 by admin

By AGRA Watch

“The technologies that are promoted by the Gates Foundation in Africa are not farmer-friendly or environmentally friendly. Some of them have not been tested fully to determine their effects on the environment and consumers. African farmers are seeking food sovereignty, not imposed unhealthy foods and GMOs!” – Kenyan farmer and director of the Grow Biointensive Agricultural Center of Kenya (G-BIACK), Samuel Nderitu

Seattle, WA – On the public opening day of the new Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation campus in Seattle, local activists called attention to the negative aspects of the Foundation’s agricultural development efforts in Africa.  Although farmers, activists, and civil society organizations throughout Africa and the US have pointed to fundamental problems with the programs of the Foundation and its subsidiary, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the Foundation has been non-responsive to these concerns.

The majority of the projects funded by Gates promote high-tech industrial agricultural methods and market-driven development – privatizing seed, lobbying for genetically modified crops, increasing farmer debt alongside corporate profits, and encouraging land consolidation.  The Foundation’s “theory of change” acknowledges that this approach will ultimately push many small-scale African farmers off of their land, driving them into the cities to swell the numbers of unemployed and marginalized – but seems unperturbed by such consequences.  Thus, the agricultural development agenda on the continent is being determined from Seattle instead of locally, and control over African food systems is being transferred from farmers to transnational corporations.

Local activists emphasize that they support drawing on traditional and indigenous agricultural knowledge, as well as incorporating new technologies into African farming; however, those technologies need to be small-scale, not dependent upon foreign capital, and environmentally and socially sustainable – in other words, agroecological.

“To feed 9 billion people in 2050, we urgently need to adopt the most efficient farming techniques available,” says Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and author of a report issued two months ago. “Today’s scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live – especially in unfavorable environments.”

De Schutter goes on to stress that agroecology is not anti-technology: “Agroecology is a knowledge-intensive approach. It requires public policies supporting agricultural research and participative extension services.”

This echoes the earlier findings of a 2008 study sponsored by the World Bank and the UN. The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) is the most comprehensive scientific assessment of world agriculture to date, relying  on the expertise of more than 400 international scientists and endorsed by fifty-eight countries in the global North and South (though not the United States, Canada or Australia).

The IAASTD found that small-scale sustainable agriculture, locally adapted seed and ecological farming better address the complexities of climate change, hunger, poverty and productive demands on agriculture in the developing world than industrial agriculture and high-tech fixes like genetic engineering.

Unfortunately, the Foundation’s outdated approach remains to be harmonized with the growing body of scientific literature in support of agroecological farming. Instead, as observed by Kenyan farmer and director of the Grow Biointensive Agricultural Center of Kenya (G-BIACK), Samuel Nderitu, “The technologies that are promoted by the Gates Foundation in Africa are not farmer-friendly or environmentally friendly. Some of them have not been tested fully to determine their effects on the environment and consumers. African farmers are seeking food sovereignty, not imposed unhealthy foods and GMOs!”

These and other concerns being raised by the communities who will be most affected by the Gates Foundation’s work have yet to be meaningfully addressed. Most recently, a petition with over 1500 signatures and a sign-on letter to the Foundation, co-authored by AGRA Watch and La Via Campesina North America and endorsed by over 100 organizations, academics, and scientists from around the world, have been similarly ignored. This lack of engagement calls into question the Foundation’s claims of transparency and accountability.

“As citizens of the US and Seattle,” notes University of Washington Professor Emeritus Phil Bereano, “we give the Foundation many benefits – tax breaks, closing off streets for this campus – and we are entitled to know exactly what it is doing in its efforts to change the world. Great wealth brings great responsibilities, as Bill Gates Senior has often noted.”

AGRA Watch, a project of Seattle-based Community Alliance for Global Justice, supports African initiatives and programs that foster farmers’ self-determination and food sovereignty. AGRA Watch also supports public engagement in fighting genetic engineering and exploitative agricultural policies, and demands transparency and accountability on the part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and AGRA, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.

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Collecting a Wild Honeybee Swarm

Posted on 01 June 2011 by admin

Visit http://cookingupastory.com for more videos on food and sustainable living. When the population of worker bees exceeds the resource capacity of a hive, a portion of the colony will leave to find a new home. A swarm is the natural way for a hive to divide itself (usually) in half, and transport the new colony (with the old queen) to a temporary spot (cluster) from which select bee members (scouts) search for a new home.

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