GM Watch, April 1, 2006
FAMILY FARMERS IN SWEDEN STRONGLY OPPOSE GMOS
The following letter has been sent -- on behalf of small family farmers in Sweden -- to the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of the Environment in the Swedish Government, to Monsanto and Syngenta and other chemical companies, and to Mariann.Fischer-Boel and Margot Wallstrom in the EU, as well as to the WTO [World Trade Organization]. (English translation of Swedish original)
[Rachel's introduction: In a letter to government officials, farmers in Sweden ask why the precautionary principle is being ignored as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) make their way into European crops. They suggest strict conditions under which the use of GMOs might reasonably proceed.]
The Smallholders in Sweden 30 March 2006
We, members of the Smallholders in Sweden, are terrified to see how the European Union, WTO, and other authorities and governments are dealing with the GMO and pesticide debates. We are also seeing how Monsanto and the other companies in their ambition to make more money out of agriculture and consumers do not care what many EU-countries as well as farmers and consumers feel about genetic modification/genetic manipulation.
What frightens us most is how authorities and governments in Sweden and some other countries, as well as the European Union and WTO, are trying in every possible way to silence the debate and in that way introduce GMOs against most people's wishes.
Furthermore, not only authorities, governments, the EU and the WTO but also Monsanto and other companies are trying to keep the results of the research on GM strictly secret.
We, members of the Union of Smallholders in Sweden, call for:
- Monsanto and other companies immediately to be instructed to give further details about their research findings to every authority and organization who asks for it;
- Monsanto and other producers of GMOs immediately to stop their efforts to make farmers and consumers accept the contamination of food and nature by GMOs;
- the European Union and the WTO immediately to stop forcing upon their citizens something they neither need nor want;
- Monsanto and other companies to give a written guarantee that the products of genetic modification/genetic manipulation are not dangerous and that they take full responsibility for any future damage. They must also guarantee that they will pay for all the direct and indirect economic consequences on anyone who might be affected by their GM products. They must also undertake to make good any damage to nature where possible;
- governments, the EU and the WTO immediately to stop making decisions in the name of all the citizens they claim to represent regarding pesticides and genetic modification/genetic manipulation;
- governments, the EU and the WTO to explain in writing how on such vital issues they dare to deviate from the so called precautionary principle and how they dare to trust the so called experts who are often dependent on commercial interests;
- an immediate ban on all genetic modification/genetic manipulation, to be followed by a ten-year moratorium. During this period reliable studies into whether these products are dangerous or not must be undertaken and their results published. Furthermore, at the end of ten years there should be a further review;
- all international and national organizations who take an interest in these matters to be consulted, because of the difficulty in trusting politicians, researchers and officials;
and that if the above demands are not satisfied, we insist upon an immediate prohibition on the production, distribution and cultivation of such products.
Union of Smallholders in Sweden
Jan-Erik Necander (responsible for GMO questions and pesticides in the Union of Smallholders in Sweden)
Forbundet Sveriges Smabrukare c/o Jan-Erik Necander Hultabergsvagen 6 511 91 Skene, Sweden Tel: +46-320-41070 Mob: +46-704-185800 E-post: firstname.lastname@example.org