Save Our Seeds

Saatgut ist die Grundlage unserer Ernährung. Es steht am Anfang und am Ende eines Pflanzenlebens. Die Vielfalt und freie Zugänglichkeit dieses Menschheitserbes zu erhalten, das von Generation zu Generation weitergegeben wird, ist die Aufgabe von Save Our Seeds.

Foto:
Ursula Schulz-Dornburg

04.02.2019 |

US poultry producer turns to non-GMO feed

To launch a GMO-free product line with US-grown grain, Springer Mountain Farms first had to work with feed crop producers to establish a feed ingredient supply chain.

31.01.2019 |

After years of deadlock and political nightmares, are we finally ready to change the discussion on GMOs?

What care ethics can bring to the conversation

Today, the European Parliament backed four objections against the authorisation for import of new GM plants into the EU (two maize, one oil seed rape and a cotton), bringing the total number of such objections to 31 in just over three years. None of these 31 GMOs opposed by the European Parliament received a political backing from Member states. Nevertheless, the European Commission decided to override this opposition and to authorize 24 of them. These GM plants are mainly imported from North and South America and are used as animal feed.

In this article, we could discuss the characteristics of these four new GMOs and explain, for example, how some are tolerant to glufosinate, a dangerous herbicide, toxic for reproduction, and banned in the EU - but this would only be a repetition of so many articles that we have published over these last 3 years.

Why and how did we end up in this political stand-off? How did we come to such a deep misunderstanding between a majority of EU citizens, who are opposed to this technology in their food and fields, and the agro-chemical industry seemingly usually supported by the EU Commission?

29.01.2019 |

Rigging the Science of GMO Ecotoxicity: Evidence of GMO Bt Crop Safety Manipulation

Researchers who work on GMO crops are developing special “artificial diet systems”. The stated purpose of these new diets is to standardise the testing of the Cry toxins, often used in GMO crops, for their effects on non-target species. But a paper published last month in the journal Toxins implies a very different interpretation of their purpose. The new diets contain hidden ingredients that can mask Cry toxicity and allow them to pass undetected through toxicity tests on beneficial species like lacewings (Hilbeck et al., 2018). Thus the new diets will benefit GMO crop developers by letting new ones come to market quicker and more reliably. Tests conducted with the new diets are even being used to cast doubt on previous findings of ecotoxicological harm.

GMO Cry toxins

Cry toxins are a family of highly active protein toxins originally isolated from the gut pathogenic bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Latham et al., 2017). They confer insect-resistance and up to six distinct ones are added to GMO corn, cotton, and other crops (Hilbeck and Otto, 2015).

27.01.2019 |

Is soil contamination by a glyphosate commercial formulation truly harmless to non-target plants? – Evaluation of oxidative damage and antioxidant responses in tomato

Highlights

• Glyphosate exposure greatly impaired tomato's growth and development.

• Increased doses of glyphosate led to oxidative stress, especially in roots.

• Proline, ascorbate and glutathione levels were changed upon glyphosate exposure.

• Glyphosate stimulated the response of the enzymatic AOX system in a dose-dependent manner.

• Soil contamination by glyphosate can pose a serious threat to non-target plants.

22.01.2019 |

Gene drive mosquitoes and the new era of medical colonialism

African governments are selling out to agribusiness and US military interests, say Mariam Mayet, Lim Li Ching and Eva Sirinathsinghji

The highly contentious issue of gene drive technologies – a novel extreme form of genetic engineering designed to alter or even eradicate entire populations and species – was at the heart of the international negotiations at the biennial UN Biodiversity Conference held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November 2018.

On the pretext of supporting scientific innovation for malaria eradication on the African continent, the African Group vociferously defended a techno-fix that does not address the wider determinants of malaria. It loudly supported the latest experiment to be tested on African people – gene drive mosquitoes, which represent the changing face of colonial medicine on the continent.

Consensus on implementing a proposed moratorium on the release of gene drive organisms was not reached due to opposition from many biotech-friendly countries, which included the African Group of Nations – one of five regional negotiating blocs – which strongly advocated for the advancement of gene drive technology. This represents a stark shift away from the African Group’s historical position of being leading defenders of precaution against new technologies that may pose risks to biodiversity and the socio-economic status of their citizens.

In contrast, the global community was acutely concerned about the release of such organisms and their impacts on biodiversity, ecological systems, human health and society.

20.01.2019 |

35,000 Hit Streets of Berlin to Demand Agricultural Revolution

Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals, and rural farmers.

Many held placards reading "Eating is political" at the action in Berlin, which coincided with the so-called "Green Week" agricultural fair.

The protest also featured a procession of 170 farmers driving tractors to the rally at the Brandenburg Gate.

19.01.2019 |

German farmers protest agro-industry, back healthy foods

BERLIN -- Thousands of farmers from across Germany and their supporters have protested at Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate, calling for climate-friendly agriculture and healthy food.

Organizers say 170 tractors drove in from farms around the country to join 35,000 other protesters for the Saturday demonstration under the motto "we are fed up with the agricultural industry."

17.01.2019 |

AXE EU FUNDS for argo-industries!

We are fed-up 2019
Call to Action for 19 January 2019

Stand up for low-impact farming, animal welfare, climate justice and good food!

Climate-friendly agriculture, good food and the continuation of small-scale, community-based farming is at stake! In 2019, the German government takes part in decisions that will determine the future of EU agriculture. The EU CAP reform (Common Agricultural Policy) will define what type of agriculture benefits from €60 billion in EU subsidies every year. Under current rules, those owning most land receive most money, regardless of their farming methods. This must end! We cannot continue to prop up agro-industries with public funds.

The transformation of our farming system towards sustainable farming cannot wait. With our pots and pans we sound the alarm for sustainable farming and call on the German government to support only those who are willing to convert their farms to climate-, nature- and animal-friendly farming with public funds.

(.....)

You vote with what you eat!

In our cities and rural communities, we show we can do better. More and more farmers are producing food without pesticides and GMOs, and invest in the welfare of their animals. More people take part in foodsharing, community-supported agriculture and choose locally produced food. Together we vote with our wallets and raise our forks for a farming revolution: for diversity, equality and sustainability – and against discrimination, exploitation and fear!

13.01.2019 |

Bound to fail: The flawed scientific foundations of agricultural genetic engineering

Half a century on from the first promises of wondercrops, GM has delivered little of value – and the same will be true of the new gene-edited GMOs, says researcher Dr Angelika Hilbeck

The GMO food venture is bound to fail because it is based on flawed scientific foundations. This was the message of a public talk given by Dr Angelika Hilbeck, researcher at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and a board member and co-founder of the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), on the evening before the 9th GMO Free Europe conference in Berlin this September.

Dr Hilbeck's talk introduced a panel discussion with four other scientists: Prof Jack Heinemann of the University of Canterbury, New Zealand; Dr Ricarda Steinbrecher of Econexus; Dr Sarah Agapito-Tenfen of Genøk Centre for Biosafety, Norway; and Prof Ignacio Chapela of the University of California Berkeley. The entire discussion can be viewed here.

Below is our summary of Dr Hilbeck's talk, given from her perspective as an ecologist. This article will be followed by a second commentary on the same theme by the London-based molecular geneticist Dr Michael Antoniou, this time from the standpoint of molecular biology.

11.01.2019 |

The Sobering Details Behind the Latest Seed Monopoly Chart

Updated seed monopoly chart
As four seed companies now control more than 60 percent of the global market, a seed policy expert argues that consolidation poses major risks to our food supply.

When Philip Howard of Michigan State University published the first iteration of his now well-known seed industry consolidation chart in 2008, it starkly illustrated the extent of acquisitions and mergers of the previous decade: Six corporations dominated the majority of the brand-name seed market, and they were starting to enter into new alliances with competitors that threatened to further weaken competition.

Howard’s newly updated seed chart is similar but even starker. It shows how weak antitrust law enforcement and oversight by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has allowed a handful of firms to amass enormous market, economic, and political power over our global seed supply. The newest findings show that the Big 6 (Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Dow, Bayer, and BASF) have consolidated into a Big 4 dominated by Bayer and Corteva (a new firm created as a result of the Dow–DuPont merger), and rounded out with ChemChina and BASF. These four firms control more than 60 percent of global proprietary seed sales.

Howard began his annual tracking of seed industry ownership changes in 1998, a year that served as a turning point for industry consolidation. Two years after genetically engineered (GE) varieties were introduced in 1996, by 1998 the large agribusiness companies had accelerated their consolidation by buying up smaller firms to accumulate more intellectual property (IP) rights. By 2008, Monsanto’s patented genetics alone were planted on 80 percent of U.S. corn acres, 86 percent of cotton acres, and 92 percent of soybean acres. Today, these percentages are even higher.

Wir bedanken uns ganz herzlich bei allen Spenderinnen und Spendern!

Am 24. Mai 2019 findet in Bern ein interdisziplinäres Gene Drive Symposium statt. Es beleuchtet die wissenschaftlichen, ethischen, sozio-ökonomischen und regulatorischen Aspekte dieser neuen Technologie. Hier mehr erfahren!

Bei unserer Mitmach-Aktion "Samba für die Vielfalt" auf der Wir haben Agrarindustrie satt Demo
am 19.01.2019 tanzten wir für eine gentechnikfreie und vielfältige Landwirtschaft.

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