Two thousand people in the 14 cities over New Zealand showed yesterday what they thought of GE. Rotorua was the first city to march in the World’s global day of "Marches against Monsanto" to protest GE plant technology. There were over 2 million people participanted in marches from 50 countries in 427 cities globally.
Hundreds of signatures were collected in a petition asking the Government to freeze all new GE applications and recall existing ones until long term safety testing has been conducted.
All the Marches were peaceful and the diversity of ages, cultures, political beliefs and religions was very broad. A few people had never been on a march before but felt strongly enough to tell their story.
Sister Loyola Galvin spoke about the sacredness of the seed and felt that it was very important to protect it. Nicky Hagar spoke of the strength of public opinion against GE that this is what had kept New Zealand GE Free, not the politicians.
Professor Jack Heinemann spoke to the people in Christchurch about the success of non-GE crops that have reduced pesticides and produced higher yields from a larger diversity of germplasm. Traditional plant breeding techniques have increased crop yields and climate change tolerance. Heritage and organically grown plants have higher and a more diverse level of nutrients.
People recalled the horrors of living with illness from Monsanto developed chemicals like Agent Orange and DDT. One gentle man had Cystic Fibrosis and suffered a lifetime of chronic illness that could be traced back to the jam that had been sprayed with Monsanto Agent Orange.
Reports have come out of Australia saying there has been a failure to germinate in the Monsanto created GE canola seed. In 2009 in South Africa over 202 thousand acres of three types of Monsanto’s GE corn failed to pollinate causing further hunger to an already hungry Country. In the US: Over 25 States farmers experience Round Up resistant weeds in over 45% of their fields. In the last 16 years over 136 million Kgs more herbicide was used on GE crops over non-GE crops. In the last year 7% of the Organic farms lost certification due to GE contamination.
“This march brought out the anger against GE. Many people feel the regulators and governments are approving GE foods without any safety testing and treating their citizens as guinea pigs” said Claire Bleakley, president of GE Free NZ “There are more feeding studies on the effects of GE foods in animals than humans. These studies indicate that GE food has the potential to have bigger and more persistent dangerous effects than of Thalidomide and DDT”.
Why would we want GE? The people of New Zealand trod that message home yesterday in the many marches “We don’t want GMO’s”.
Claire Bleakley – 06 3089842 / 027 348 6731
Wellington - http://www.facebook.com/events/589013124456893/?fref=tsAuckland https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kzU_5VhqTHU