Foreword by Vandana Shiva
Genetically engineered foods have become the site for testing democracy and truth.
Across the world, consumers want to exercise their freedom to choose and their right to make an informed choice. Mandatory labelling laws are therefore a non-negotiable element of the democratic rights of free citizens of free societies.
The attempt of the biotech industry to shift to voluntary labellng is in fact a recognition on their part that they are pushing a product on consumers which consumers do not want. They cannot sell GM foods in a genuinely “free-market” based on the right to know and freedom of choice of consumers but need to create a coercive market to force their unwanted products on unknowing consumers.
GMOs were supposed to be the miracle cure for hunger. However, the two products that have spread are herbicide resistant and Bt crops. Neither of these GM traits are about increasing yields. Both increase the need for chemicals since they create super weeds and super pests. They destroy biodiversity through genetic pollution. They destroy farmers livelihood and freedom through patent monopolies and creation of dependency on non-renewable seed. GM crops are bad for the environment, bad for farmers and bad for consumers. If they are spreading over increasing acreage, it is not because they are superior to alternatives like organic and ecological agriculture but because regulatory agencies are being corrupted, scientific research is being manipulated and farmers are being misled. The clearance given to Monsanto for commercial planting of Bt cotton on March 26, 2002 came just few months after the government had ordered the burning of Bt cotton on 10,000 acres of land in Gujarat.
We have to keep defending our freedoms -as citizens, as scientists, as ecologists, as producers and as consumers. Our alliances are our defense against the new bio-imperialism of the biotech industry.
Our truth is our power.
Dr. Shiva is the director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in New Delhi, India.
Special Insert Section of the Journal
Earth Island Journal thanks the efforts of Greenpeace in the fight against genetically engineered food, and appreciates their collaboration in providing the Journal with portions of their True Food Now Shopping List.
Please support Greenpeace by visiting www.truefoodnow.org.
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