ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

31 March 2002


from Munlochy Vigil

Our petition to halt the GM crop trials and call for a full debate on the issue of GM in Scotland has now been to the Transport and Environment Committee of the Scottish Parliament. The result of this is that it has been referred directly and again as a matter of urgency to the Scottish Executive ie the Minister Ross Finnie.  This may not be the best way to get the trials stopped, but it would certainly be the fastest.

Therefore we are urging you once again to e-mail/write to Mr. Finnie by the 14th April, as he has to finish his report by the end of the Easter recess.  The T & E Committee received over 100 e-mails each, in 3 days, a wonderful effort!!

If we can get 5,000 or even 10,000 to Finnie by the 14th of April (when he reports back) he will understand the strength of our resolve.  Please circulate this request as widely as possible to help attain our target and show Mr Finnie the strength of our opposition to GM crops.

The points to stress are new evidence of environmental risk:

EEA report: which states that GM oilseed rape is a high risk crop for crop to crop and crop to wild relative cross-contamination, which "increases the likelihood of extinction of wild relatives" (thus reducing biodiversity), as well as threatening the livelihoods of conventional and organic farmers.

The English Nature report: states the inevitability of the rise of multiple herbicide resistant "superweeds", necessitating the increased use of damaging herbicides such as paraquat and 2,4D (derived from agent orange)

Sunday Times: (Feb 17th 2002) states that leaked preliminary results from the trials, show that GM oilseed rape is "damaging the environment".

FEMS report from Canada:  shows that the soil around the roots of GM oilseed rape is altered.

Also stress the issues of democracy and environmental justice, health risks, BMA policy/Charles Saunders (Herald 2nd March 2002) economic problems for conventional and organic farmers, and the lack of a market for GM produce (an EU survey shows that 79% of consumers will not eat GM) to which supermarkets responded by removing GM ingredients from their own brand product lines.

It will also be worthwhile to lobby Charles Kennedy and Jack McConnell, urging them to make representations to Mr Finnie over the Easter recess on the above issues. Mr Finnie has said he will pull the trials if he has evidence of a threat or risk to the environment. He now has this evidence.  He has been forced to look at this, lets try to get him to keep to his word.


or write to them:
Scottish Parliament
EN99 1SP

Charles Kennedy:
MP at:  House of Commons, Westminster

For more information please contact:
Anthony Jackson on 07720 817 847
"The basic rhetoric is dangerous. When we say things about genetic engineering being no different from traditional breeding, it makes the public and the scientific community doubt that the people who are dealing with it know how to deal with it. It's really clear to me, as a university scientist, when I talk with genetic engineers, when I talk with molecular biologists, they cannot talk knowledgeably about the risks. That's not part of their training.  Their textbooks tell them how to build these things; but they don't have chapters about safety that are meaningful. They're very, very thin. So there's nothing in their training, there's nothing in their public comments, and there's nothing in their conversation that suggests that there's a community of people being built out there who are well prepared to deal with these risks. And, so, it's part of their culture, I suppose you might say, to try to minimize an impression that there are risks, and they've talked themselves into that."
-  Dr Philip Regal, Professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota

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