12/03/2007

Sickness and Death in Animals Eating GE Bt Cotton Raises Alarm

 

Sickness and Death in Animals Eating GE Bt Cotton Raises Alarm.

Evidence into GE plant risks has come one step nearer to showing that long term ingestion could cause serious harm, even death, when eaten as a regular part of the diet.

Concerns of consumers and food manufacturers in Europe and around the World over GE imports are further strengthened as new evidence from India shows that a higher-level of consumption could result in serious side-effects.

Adding to reports from last year, there is new evidence reported by farmers and shepherds in India of their livestock suffering serious illnesses, as well as many deaths after eating Bt cotton plants.

These problems have prompted recommendations from Indian Authorities to immediately stop any grazing of livestock on the harvested Bt fields.

“New Zealand Authorities must follow up these reports to ensure GE-feed is not being imported and used with similar side-effects going unregistered” says Claire Bleakley from GE Free NZ in food and environment

This phenomenon was seen last year when another area in India reported the deaths of 1820 sheep after grazing Bt cotton fields (1).

Dr Shravan Kulkarni Veterinary assistant surgeon in the Dept of Animal Husbandry has stated that “ bullocks, sheep and goats are exhibiting symptoms of shivers, convulsions, running nose, bloat and bloody diarrhoea” (2) also that the Animals go off their food over the week before symptoms start to show and the bullocks have vomited before death which is extremely rare.

These symptoms have been evident for 1 ½ months with 200 cases being presented for treatment. Further unusual symptoms of nervous, respiratory and digestive symptoms leading to death have also been reported.

Dr M. Venkata Swamy reported that

The toxic mortality has not occurred in animals that graze non-Bt cotton fields.
The toxic effect include shivering, salivation, bloat, dysentery and fatalities
There is haemorrhage apparent with all organs being congested.

Pesticide applications have been low -moderate throughout the crop growing season so the effects seen are not suspected to be toxic residues.

This is especially concerning in India where cows are considered sacred animals and supply much needed milk to supplement the sparse protein diet.

‘The loss of livestock is a disaster for the Indian people, however it raise the question of how will long term GE ingestion affect human health?” says Claire Bleakley from GE Free NZ in food and environment

“There is no information on levels of GE that are safe for human consumption. No testing has ever been done. Given the effects emerging in animals feeding on GE crops it is only a matter of time before similar examples of illness are linked to GE consumption in humans”.

With the latest reports it is essential that ERMA contact the Adilabad animal husbandry Unit and include the findings in their deliberations of the Bt forage brassica that is going to be heard on April 11th in Christchurch.

ENDS:

Claire Bleakley (06) 3089842

Jon Carapiet 0210 507681


References.


(1) www.gefree.co.nz 9. May 2006, 1820 Sheep died grazing on the harvested GE cotton land.


(2) Bt Cotton and Livestock effects: CSA meets farmers and officials in Adilabad district. Kavitha Kurungati, Centre for sustainable Agriculture, 9/3/2007, www.gmwatch.org


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