Our Heritage and the right to Save Seed

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Nature's Babe
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Our Heritage and the right to Save Seed

Postby Nature's Babe » Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:16 pm

This post was prompted by John Walkers post on the modified superspud thread. and I posted here because I did not want to hijack the other post
I agree with John when he said
Just because GM is gaining popularity doesn't make it right
and his 2 links -
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... griculture
http://www.independent.co.uk/environmen ... 89974.html

I believe farmers and gardeners should have the right to save and replant their seed from year to year, period. That's a political position, not an anti-science one. If genetically modified seeds cross pollinate with normal seeds then we will lose that right if they are allowed to go
ahead and cross pollinate. If they include a terminator gene that renders it impossible for GM to cross pollinate with normal seeds then as far as I'm concerned that's fine if folk want to pay for their product.
I originate from seed, we are all the fruition of seed, we produce seed, all life is interconnected, interdependent, from simple beginnings it has evolved with amazing diversity and evolution so far without our help, we would be wise to oppose all patents on plants, animals and humans, as well as patents on their genes. Life is not an industrial commodity and when we force life forms and our world's food supply to conform to human economic models rather than their natural ones, we do so at our peril. Where do we stop? Patented human beings ? Natural seed is our heritage and has been freely passed down the generations for thousands of years, it is not a commodity to profit from. The natural balance between species of animals and plants are fine tuned and it doesn't take a lot to unbalance it, global warming is having some effects on this synchronicity already , for example, when insects would pollinate flowers, some flowers are coming out earlier than the insects are available, and we know this is happening. Some pests are adjusting to earlier spring quicker than their predators.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6688649.stm
To swallow all the benefits of GM foods, without considering the risks and criticisms of the technology, seems foolhardy. There are concerns Regarding GM Foods for instance, there are numerous qualms regarding the environmental impact of GM foods. This type of technology can impact other organisms despite the best of intentions to avoid any scatter effect. GM seeds can be blown by the wind to other crops and organisms, which may then suffer ill effects. There may also be unexpected results from the combination of GM crops and other, non-GM crops and weeds, when crossbreeding occurs.There are also ethical and economical concerns in terms of profits that farmers can accrue from GM foods that grow in their fields but are also unknown to them. In fact, this was shown in a case with the company Monsanto. A farmer was sued when he claimed that seeds from a nearby field blew into his field. Monsanto argued that the farmer stole the seeds. The judge ruled that it was not important how the seeds got into the farmer's field, even if it was a case of the wind blowing in the seeds. The fact remained that it was an infringement on Monsanto's patent on the GM seeds. Thus, the farmer was forced to pay his profits from that year to Monsanto and go to court again, if GM seeds are inadvertantly blown there it seems the gardener or farmer masy have a battle on their hands to prove contamination not theft
http://www.percyschmeiser.com/DVD.htm
Still another argument against GM foods is that insects may be able to resist toxic products from GM foods. This means that eventually, they may grow to difficult levels and we will be unable to handle their numbers and effects years down the line. Perhaps one of the most worrisome aspects of GM foods is the concern that they may harm human health. Worries of allergic reactions from mixing genes are a reality, particularly if it involves, for example, a gene from a common allergen such as a nut.
In June 2009 EFSA published a consolidated overview on the use of antibiotic resistant marker genes in GM plants, including a joint scientific opinion by the GMO and BIOHAZ Panels. The Panels concluded that, according to information currently available, adverse effects on human health and the environment resulting from the transfer of the two antibiotic resistance marker genes, nptII and aadA, from GM plants to bacteria, associated with use of GM plants, are unlikely. Uncertainties in this opinion are due to limitations related, among others, to sampling and detection, as well as challenges in estimating exposure levels and the inability to assign transferable resistance genes to a defined source. Two members of the BIOHAZ Panel expressed minority opinions concerning the possibility of adverse effects of antibiotic resistance marker genes on human health and the environment. Bear in mind that plants grow in soil and soil contains most bacteria, humans too have bacteria on skin, in gut etc, it would seem to me that those two opinions might just be proved right in the long term and we should proceed with more caution doing more long term studies. Areas where GM can impact health.
http://www.aaemonline.org/gmopressrelease.html
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Re: Our Heritage and the right to Save Seed

Postby Johnboy » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:00 am

Natures Babe,
Percy Schmeiser was found guilty in all the three Departments of the Canadian Judicial System. He purchased a small quantity of Monsanto Roundup Ready Canola (Oil Seed Rape) and he entered into a contract with Monsanto. He broke his agreement with Monsanto when he saved the seed and sowed 2400 acres the following year. To be fair to Monsanto they gave him the opportunity to pay the breeders rights fee on the saved seed but he refused saying that the seed had blown off vehicles on roads crossing his farm. He later maintained that Monsanto had dropped a GM bomb on his farm!
The GM content of the crop he was growing was found to be between 97% and 98% GM throughout the entire 2400 acres. This is as pure GM as it is possible to get. If this was, as he maintained, blown off the backs of vehicles it could never be as evenly spread over 2400 acres. To give this some form of perspective 2400 acres is 3.75 square miles.
All I can say is Some Wind!
Percy Schmeiser was found to be not only dishonest but also a cheat.
This was the finding of the Canadian Supreme Court. He was dealt with appropriately by the court. He had to pay his dues to Monsanto and the rest of the money he had to part with was to the Canadian Judicial System.
There are various plants in this country which carry breeders rights and if a farmer wants to keep his own seed he has to pay a breeders rights fee to the holder of the right. This fee is based on acreage. So what Monsanto actually do is nothing unusual in the farming world.
So why try and make Monsanto out as a monstrous company when what they do is a very accepted practice within the farming industry.
JB
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Re: Our Heritage and the right to Save Seed

Postby Nature's Babe » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:20 am

Could you share the link where you got this information please Johnboy.
It doesn't address other concerns mentioned above like environmental
medecines concerns.
Rather careless if the GM seed was blowing off the lorries, considering peoples worries about cross contamination generally, but then that might benefit them again ! :D It seems illogical to put antibiotic resistance marker genes in seed to check for contamination and then let seed blow off open lorries.
Isn't it a blessing that our ancestors didn't have such a thing as breeders rights - imagine how expensive seeds would be by now :!:
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Re: Our Heritage and the right to Save Seed

Postby Johnboy » Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:04 am

Nature's Babe,
The Percy Schmeiser case is now history and the account that I have given you is what was reported at the time of the court cases.
I suggest you look for the reports yourself because I certainly am not going to do so.
Grain, but more especially Oil Seed Rape seeds being so fine does blow off vehicles as you will notice along the verges in UK but only the verges. His crop was sown and and not blow and what is more I forgot to say that he also used Roundup on the crop. He knew damn well the crop that he had got.
Every time you buy an F1 seed you pay a small percentage to the breeder of that seed in the form of the Breeders Rights Levy.
What you are determined not to understand is that Percy Schmeiser brought the whole situation upon himself by trying to cheat Monsanto out of the Breeders Rights Levy which was legally owing to them.
Since that time Poor Percy has made a couple of world tours telling all those against GM all manner of rubbish which they are stupid enough to swallow.
I do not feel sorry for him in the slightest way because he is a liar and a cheat and he simply makes matters worse for himself every time he opens his mouth in public!
He was found guilty on all 19 counts of dishonesty in the Supreme Court of Canada.
Am I supposed to assume that by your posting you still think the 3.75 square miles of almost pure GM seeds was blown off the back of vehicles?
JB.
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Re: Our Heritage and the right to Save Seed

Postby alan refail » Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:21 am

Nature's Babe wrote:Could you share the link where you got this information please Johnboy.


Hi NB

You can read the full judgements here:

Federal Court

Federal Court - Supplementary Judgement

Federal Court of Appeal

Federal Court of Appeal

Federal Court of Appeal

Supreme Court of Canada

Apologies for the amount of reading involved, but if you do get through it all you will have an informed view of the facts of the case you instanced in your argument.

Alan
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Re: Our Heritage and the right to Save Seed

Postby Nature's Babe » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:18 am

Thank you Alan, I read the supreme court judgement, and it is not as black and white as Johnboy would have us believe having only read reports ( and we all know what reporters are like. ) He purchased no seed from Monsanto, and the infringement was simply because he grew it. His farm was in an area where five other farms were all growing the GM seed. Reading the report with an open mind I can see grey areas on both sides, far from being determined not to see, I am trying. Also this is just one issue, I mentioned many others.
The judge was making judgements as the law stands - sometimes the law is an ass.
In the light of this judgement,( the judge even said the originof the seed was unclear, ) I think I would think very carefully before growing a non GM crop if surrounded by fields of the same GM crop in case a similar judgement was reached. Court cases are very costly and anyone with any sense would not go down that route unless they were convinced they were right and had a good chance of a positive result.
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Re: Our Heritage and the right to Save Seed

Postby Johnboy » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:17 pm

Natures Babe,
It is incorrect to say that I only read reporters accounts because I read the account of court proceedings from even the courts mentioned by Alan.
I also read the court reports from the initial hearing which was in a Provincial Court and I followed this all exceedingly thoroughly at the time.
I did get the size of the crop grown incorrect and suspect that the whole farm enterprise is 2400 acres but the crop was 1000 acres. Still 1.5 square miles though.
I still think my account of what occurred, which was from memory, is a fairly accurate account.
It is abundantly clear to me that what ever is written you have it firmly imprinted on your brain that anything to do with GM and especially Monsanto is always going to be wrong so really there is absolutely reason to waste my time and effort any longer.
I have therefore decided that I for one have really had enough of your postings and do not propose to enter into any more dialogue with you on this particular thread.
What I really think is that you have insufficient knowledge on the subject and in you naivety you swallow anything written against GM because it may be in line with your own thinking. It is therefore impossible to actually have a reasonable debate with you.
JB.
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Re: Our Heritage and the right to Save Seed

Postby Nature's Babe » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:33 pm

You are wrong about my intention Johnboy, it's insulting to suggest I have any idea imprinted firmly in my brain to exclude anything else and that I am naive. I am not against science,and I am looking at both sides of the equasion, but it is a new technology and there are risks which need to be addressed , I saw your comment when I came back to post the following -
This article was interesting both on the risks involved of contamination and offering ways to avoid contamination, all credit to them for not closing their eyes to the risks involved.
http://www.scidev.net/en/news/sterile-m ... -safe.html
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Re: Our Heritage and the right to Save Seed

Postby Nature's Babe » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:33 pm

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Re: Our Heritage and the right to Save Seed

Postby alan refail » Sun Oct 03, 2010 6:20 am

NB

For those who wish to read the full research

http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm

May I say at this point that I am not at all sure what point you are trying to make. There seems to be a fairly distinct issue indicated in your title to the thread:

Our Heritage and the right to Save Seed

Of course anyone is entitled to save seed as has happened for thousands of years, so what's new? There are modern seed breeding methods such as F1 hybridisation which effectively prevent the saving of "true" seed. Also, if you buy seed bred by individual companies you are on legal rough ground if you try to produce and market it yourself.

Or are you trying to say that all GM crops should be banned and all further research abandoned? If so, that is an entirely different argument, which ultimately is not resolvable given the gulf between the commercial ambitions of biotech firms such as Monsanto and the irrational and emotive approach of the GM opponents, as illustrated in one of your links:

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