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News archive: September 2012

Killing badgers is immoral

British voters are on the brink of saving their natural heritage from a shocking, unscientific and brutal attack by the UK Government. It is poised to cull one of their most beloved protected species: badgers. There is also talk of extending the cull to more British wildlife, including wild deer and domestic cats and dogs.

Shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creagh said: “There is widespread concern about the government’s decision to press ahead with a badger cull, despite their own official advice that it will cost more than it saves and will spread bovine TB in the short term as badgers are disturbed by the shooting.”

“Ministers should listen to the scientists and can this cull which is bad for farmers, bad for taxpayers and bad for wildlife.”

With the legendary Queen guitarist, Brian May, at the helm of the public outcry, the British people have signed petitions and sent letters to the Government in such great numbers, that it looks likely the planned cull of badgers may be averted.

The House of Commons is deciding about a debate to re-examine the scientific evidence for and against the cull. The scientific community meanwhile is strongly against it, as it would at best only reduce bovine TB by 16% over a 9 year period, which means it would not make sense financially.

Organic farmers and scientists are united in their belief that the proposed cull would not benefit the UK dairy industry or any other sector of the agriculture industry.

Badgers are a protected species, and are well-loved.

SIGN Brian May’s petition HERE.

Roundup linked to tumours

Rats fed a lifetime diet of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn or exposed to its top-selling weedkiller Roundup suffered tumours and multiple organ damage, according to a French study published on September 19th, 2012.

Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen and colleagues said rats fed on a diet containing NK603 – a seed variety made tolerant to dousings of Roundup – or given water containing Roundup at levels permitted in the United States died earlier than those on a standard diet.

The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumours, as well as severe liver and kidney damage.

The researchers said 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group.

Seralini was part of a team that flagged previous safety concerns based on a shorter rat study in a scientific paper published in December 2009 but this takes things a step further by tracking the animals throughout their two-year lifespan.

Monsanto said at the time of the earlier research that the French researchers had reached “unsubstantiated conclusions.”

Seralini believes his latest lifetime rat tests give a more realistic and authoritative view of risks than the 90-day feeding trials that form the basis of GM crop approvals, since three months is only the equivalent of early adulthood in rats.

Reuters, London, Sept 19.

Viva la France!

France is to maintain a ban on genetically modified crops, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Saturday September 15th.

The ban targets Monsanto’s MON810 maize, which is the only genetically modified organism (GMO) currently allowed anywhere in Europe.

As Europe’s largest crop-grower, France is under pressure to soften its stance on GMO’s.

However, in a country that is fiercely protective of its agriculture, regarding it as part of its national identity, the government faces strong public resistance to GMO crops, as well as to the use of chemicals in farming.

Earlier this year a French court found Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning after a farmer from the south-eastern town of Lyon claimed he had suffered neurological problems caused by inhaling one of the biotech giant’s weedkillers.

Ayrault said the government also intended to ban crop dusting, the use of aircraft to spray pesticides over wide areas, except in cases where there was no viable alternative.

The move was part of a broader plan to reduce the use of chemicals in farming, the prime minister said.

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