The company Forage Genetics International has applied Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) herbicide tolerant Roundup Ready technology to alfalfa. Canada approved GM alfalfa for health and environmental release in 2005, but there is one more step before it can be commercially released in Canada: variety registration from the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency. This registration and commercial release could happen as early as this spring!
Alfalfa is used to help produce many of the foods we eat! Alfalfa (commonly harvested as hay) is a high-protein feed for animals like dairy cows, beef cattle, sheep, poultry and pigs. It‘s also used to build nutrients and organic matter in the soil, making it particularly important for organic farming. Farmers agree that GM alfalfa is not needed or wanted but farmers are never consulted before GM crops are introduced.
Alfalfa is a perennial plant that is insect pollinated, therefore, if GM alfalfa is commercially released, GM alfalfa will inevitably contaminate non-GM and organic alfalfa. This GM contamination will threaten the livelihoods of family farmers in Ontario and across Canada. The seed industry says they will focus on Eastern Canada but if GM alfalfa is released, it will only be a matter of time before alfalfa across Canada is contaminated, and sensitive export and organic markets are lost.
For information on the Day of Action: www.cban.ca/april9
For more information on GM Alfalfa: www.cban.ca/alfalfa
Other inquiries: Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network 613 241 2267 ext 25 coordinator [at] cban [dot] ca
Ann Slater, NFU-O representative on the Day of Action Coordinating Committee 519-349-2448 aslater [at] quadro [dot] net