The group is calling on its supporters to put pressure on the House of Commons Agriculture Committee to bring forward a moratorium on GE alfalfa, while encouraging other Slow Food Convivia across the country to join similar calls to action.
On Jan. 27, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved plantings of GE alfalfa despite opposition from farmers and consumers as well as protracted legal cases. Without the proposed moratorium, Canada is one step away from allowing the planting of GE alfalfa.
Earlier this month in Ottawa, Conservative members of the House of Commons Agriculture Committee stalled a vote on a motion to place a moratorium on the approval of GE alfalfa. The motion was supported by members from the three other parties and would have been approved by the Committee to go to the House of Commons for a vote.
Alfalfa is the first pollinated crop to be genetically engineered. With the open pollination of alfalfa by bees and other insects, containing GE alfalfa to the area it is planted would be impossible and widespread contamination of non-GE alfalfa is a big concern. Alfalfa is the most cultivated forage legume in the world and high-protein alfalfa hay feeds animals outside the factory farming system, which relies heavily on corn and soy. It is also a key crop in healthy crop rotations in organic and sustainable farming systems, fixing nitrogen in the soil without the use of chemical fertilizers.
GE alfalfa can withstand a spray of Round Up pesticides. In a well-managed crop rotation, regular alfalfa already competes well with weeds and is under no particular threat or pressure. Spraying forage fields with Round Up pesticides will simply encourage development of pesticide-resistant super weeds, as it has in other crops, which will require inventing new, more costly and damaging chemical pesticides.
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