02/03/2015

Kiwis Join Global Vigil Against GE trees

 

New Zealanders are supporting an international vigil against release of GE trees at 12.45 on Tuesday 3rd March at 10 Brandon Street, Wellington.

There is worldwide concern that Brazil's CTNBio is about to allow GE trees to be planted by FuturaGene/Suzano, with long term problems for natural ecosystems, honey production and an increase in chemical-reliant monocultures. (1)

Brazil is the world’s 10th largest producer of honey, and 50% of all of the honey produced is exported. An approval of GE trees would be a betrayal of local communities and go against the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to which Brazil is a signatory.

The precautionary principle is enshrined in the CBD, as well as decision UNEP/CDB/COP/9/IX/5, which requires governments conduct comprehensive research before any use of GMO trees.

However industry are ignoring this and want to rush GE trees into the environment without rigorous risk analyses, or protocols for segregation to prevent genetic contamination. US authorities were recently revealed to have secretly approved GE trees to be planted across America. [2]

New Zealand exporters are benefiting from having Forest Stewardship Council certification that excludes any wood from GMO trees. This value-add certification for exporters could also be put at risk.

Horizon 2 now Rubicon exported over 24000 genetically engineered eucalyptus plantlets from 52 different transgenic lines between 2007 – 2009 to Brazil and the US. [3]

ArborGen and Rubicon, have a collaborative GE tree development contract with Crown Research Institute Scion, formerly known as Forest Research Institute. Rubicon has stated that it wants commercialisation of GE forests in New Zealand to have less 'regulatory impediments'. [4]

“New Zealand company Rubicon is known for engineering Eucalyptus trees and exporting them wholesale to the Americas," said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-free NZ.

“These are the very trees that independent scientists warn could destabalise the environment by impacting soil bacteria, fungi, birds and insects that are part of complex ecosystems."

Until long term scientific studies in containment identify the effects of GE trees the scientific warnings must be taken seriously, and the spread of GE trees prevented.

References:

[1] https://stopgetrees.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Letter-to-Minister-of-Science-and-Tecnology-ENG-FINAL.pdf

[2] http://globaljusticeecology.org/outrage-us-secret-approval-genetically-engineered-trees/

[3] Official Information Act request OIA 08-143 Biosecurity New Zealand

[4] http://wrm.org.uy/oldsite/bulletin/123/ArborGen.html
[5] http://press.gefree.org.nz/press/20150131.htm

ENDS:

Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 / 027 348 6731

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