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Canada's Government Backs Terminator Seeds


Canada backs terminator seeds

John Vidal
Wednesday February 9, 2005
The Guardian (UK)

An international moratorium on the use of one of the world's most
controversial GM food technologies may be broken today if the Canadian
government gets seed sterilisation backed at a UN meeting.

Leaked documents seen by the Guardian show that Canada wants all governments
to accept the testing and commercialisation of "terminator" crop varieties.
These are genetically engineered to produce only infertile seeds which
farmers cannot replant.

Jointly patented by the GM company Monsanto and the US government, the
technology was condemned in the late 1990s by many African and Asian
governments who called for a permanent ban.

Monsanto and other GM companies which were developing similar technologies
voluntarily pulled out of research after concerns were also raised about the
"terminator" genes spreading to non-GM crops, and international outrage that
poor farmers would not be able to use seeds from their crops, as they have
always done.

But leaked instructions to Canadian government negotiators at the Bangkok
meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological
Advice, a group which advises the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity,
show that Canada will request today that all countries open their doors to
the technology.

The papers, leaked to the environment group ETC, also show that the Canadian
government will attack an official UN report critical of the potential
impact of "terminator" seeds on small farmers and indigenous peoples. The report
recommends that governments prohibit the technology.

The Canadian government team in Bangkok was last night unavailable for