Sconz tells only half the storyTuesday, Oct 7, 2003
The standard of evidence used by anti-GM groups continues to drop, as they become more desperate to change Government policy, Chairman of the Life Sciences Network Dr William Rolleston said today.
‘Comments by the Sustainability Council of New Zealand (SCONZ) on Canadian trade issues comes hard on the heels of Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics “scientific review”, which was criticised by the scientific community for its lack of rigor and balance.
‘In a bid to show damage to "Brand Canada" through their use of GM, SCONZ uses its information selectively. Example of facts SCONZ has failed to mention include:
1. Unlike Canada, New Zealand exports very little grain. The most likely GM uses in New Zealand, such as possum control, pesticide reduction in fodder crops, biofuels and biodegradable plastics, will not require GM labelling in the international marketplace.
2. Grain handling systems in New Zealand and Canada are quite different. In Canada grain from many different farms is pooled at harvest, whereas in New Zealand it is stored on farm post-harvest. Therefore the opportunity for post-harvest mixing of GM and non-GM grain is greater in Canada.
3. While the European Union has switched its purchase of corn from the United States to China, it should be noted that China is the fourth largest producer of GM crops the world.
4. Canadian exports of canola had been declining for at least four years before 1998, when Europe began its de-facto moratorium on GM. However, exports of canola from Canada have increased every year since 1998 and exports of canola products such as meal and oil have continued to increase year on year for the last ten years.
5. The export of Canadian cattle (which is often fed GM grain) to GM sensitive Japan has increased by a spectacular ten times in the last ten years, only to be halted by one case of BSE (a real threat to our export markets).
6. Farmers in Canada and the United States are continuing to use GM in increasing numbers.
‘Having failed to convince the Royal Commission and the Government, anti-GM groups are stepping up their campaign in the court of public opinion where they hope there will be less scrutiny,’ concluded Dr Rolleston.