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London chapter marches in global day of action against Monsanto

The Council of Canadians London chapter took part yesterday in a global day of action against Monsanto.

CTV reports, “Thousands across Canada joined others around the world at rallies to decry agricultural giant Monsanto, a company protesters claim behaves unethically in its development and implementation of pesticides and genetically modified foods. …Monsanto sells an herbicide called glyphosate under the name ‘Roundup’, and also sells seeds genetically engineered to resist glyphosate, which it calls ‘Roundup Ready’ seeds. …Though the protesters named one company specifically, they say Monsanto is essentially just the face of what they claim is a culture of corporate greed in the food industry.”

On May 18, the Council of Canadians Fredericton and Kent County chapters were also at the New Brunswick Legislature to deliver a petition with 13,000 signatures opposed to Monsanto’s glyphosate. CBC has reported, “Glyphosate is a herbicide used widely in the province as a defoliant by a number of companies, including NB Power and J.D. Irving Ltd.”

The Council of Canadians has also raised concerns about Monsanto’s Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH or rBST), an artificial growth hormone that was developed to increase milk output from dairy cows. It is illegal to use the drug to boost milk production in Canada and the European Union, but Global Affairs Canada says, “There is no scientific basis for restricting trade in milk or dairy products from trading partners that have approved rBST.”

That’s significant because under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Canada conceded an additional 3.25 per cent of its dairy market to imports from countries including the United States. BGH is legal in the United States and there appears to be no certification, inspection or segregation system set for BGH-tainted milk imported into Canada from the U.S.

CBC also notes, “The protest [against Monsanto] comes days after the first genetically-modified food animal — salmon — was approved for sale in Canada.”

On May 19, Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced that Massachusetts-based AquaBounty’s genetically modified salmon has been approved for sale as food in Canada. The company genetically modifies Atlantic salmon with a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon and a gene from an ocean pout resulting in a fish that is large enough to eat in about a year and a half, rather than the typical three years. Another CBC report notes, “The approval extends to filets for human consumption and feeds like fish meal and fish oil.”

The salmon will be sold in Canada without a label to indicate it has been genetically modified.

There were about 400 protests against Monsanto yesterday in countries including the United States, Mexico, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, and Argentina.