Bill to Ban Terminator Introduced in Canada

News Release ETC Group
May 31, 2007
//www.etcgroup.org

A bill to prohibit field testing and commercialization of Terminator seed technology was introduced in the Canadian Parliament today. Terminator refers to plants that are genetically engineered to render sterile seeds at harvest - a technology that aims to maximize seed industry profits by preventing farmers from re-planting harvested seed.

"Canada needs to pass this bill into law because genetic seed sterilization is dangerous and blatantly anti-farmer - suicide seeds threaten to intensify corporate control over Canadian agriculture and offer no benefits for farmers," said Colleen Ross of the National Farmers Union.

Initially developed by the US Department of Agriculture and multinational seed companies, "suicide seeds" have not been commercialized anywhere in the world due to an avalanche of opposition from farmers, indigenous peoples, civil society and some governments. In 2000, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity recommended a de facto moratorium on field-testing and commercial sale of Terminator seeds; the moratorium was re-affirmed in 2006. India and Brazil have already passed national laws to prohibit the technology.

"Canada has led a behind-the-scenes push to undermine the United Nations moratorium," points out Pat Mooney, Executive Director of the Ottawa-based ETC Group, "so it's time the Canadian Government listened to the people."

"Researchers are continuing to develop and win patents on Terminator because seed sterility is simply too lucrative for industry to abandon," said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network. "A national law to prohibit the technology is the only way to insure that Terminator is never commercialized in Canada. The Government of Canada must show its commitment to the international community and not bow to industry pressure," said Sharratt.

The full text of the Canadian bill will be available here on June 1: //www.banterminator.org/canada

For further information: Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, tel: +1 613 241 2267
email: coordinator @cban.ca

Hope Shand, ETC Group, tel: +1 919 960 5223
email: hope @etcgroup.org

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