By Gene Ethics
WEST AUSTRALIA: Williams farmer Geoff Reed has seen flocks of parrots feeding on GM canola seed outside his front fence in Williams, WA. The seed, spilled last week, is now germinating on the roadside after rain. Mr Reed has lived on the 400 acre farm all his life.
“My non-GM and no-chemical production systems are threatened by the GM seed, spread by birds and humans,” says the sheep and cropping farmer.
He says the authorities and their contractors scooped up the GM canola seed spilled last week but did not get all of it. “A bobcat spread what was left on the roadside with soil and the GM seed is already germinating along at least 50 metres of road at my fence line,” he reports.
“Me and my neighbours wanted to stay GM-free but our worst nightmare is now outside our front gates. We want real action not promises. What practical steps will Redman, the state government, CBH and our Shire council take to protect my land and income?
“All the GM canola seed and soil on the roadside must be removed in the next two weeks to prevent more contamination when the seed germinates. Parrots have been busy spreading it too so it may already be on our farms.”
Gene Ethics director, Bob Phelps says this is a long term problem as the Gene Technology Regulator confirms that GM canola seed can germinate for up to sixteen years. GM trial sites grown in 1998 are still being monitored and decontaminated.
“Minister Redman is dosing at the wheel and Monsanto, who owns the seed is missing in action.
“We have also had confirmation today of GM canola weeds along a major NSW road,” Mr Phelps concludes.