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Truck spill ©Bob Baker
Truck spill ©Bob Baker
GM canola truck spill spells disaster for WA farmers

A group of farmers from Western Australia fear losing their Japanese export market after a truck spilled 15 tonnes of GM canola onto the Albany Highway last month when a truck caught fire. The accident highlights the constant threat of GM contamination and potential loss of markets faced by Australian farmers, and the desperate need for laws to protect Australian farmers.

The spill released millions of GM canola seeds just 500 metres from the Liddelows’ farm, threatening their GM free status. Despite clean-up efforts, there has been a thick germination along the side of the road. Rainfall and traffic has caused further dispersal of the seed. The Liddelows and neighbouring GM free canola growers are concerned about fulfilling future contracts with Japanese buyers who  have made it clear that they don’t want GM canola.
To put the stress of GM contamination on the farming community is simply not fair. GM canola should never have been introduced into WA without measures to protect growers who choose to be GM free. In this case the premium price for GM free canola is at risk.
Farmer Protection laws are urgently needed to ensure that neither non-GM or GM farmers wear the liability of GM contamination. Organic farmer Steve Marsh from Kojonup WA was forced to take legal action against his neighbour when GM canola blew on to his farm last year. Marsh lost his organic certification, his lucrative premium, and almost a decade of hard work.
Due to the lack of farmer protection legislation, farmers like Steve Marsh and his neighbour Michael Baxter have to pay. Meanwhile, GM company Monsanto just reaps the profit.
You can help protect the farmers’ rights by emailing the Western Australian Premier, Colin Barnett.
Don’t delay; send an email to right now.
You might like to include some of these points:

  • Western Australian farmers currently carry the entire financial and legal burden of genetically modified (GM) crop contamination. Meanwhile, the GM companies that profit from GM carry no liability.
  • A number of cases of GM contamination of non-GM farmers’ crops have been documented in Australia. The most prominent case is that of Western Australian organic farmer, Steve Marsh, whose wheat and oat farm was contaminated by GM canola from a neighbouring farm, causing massive financial losses.
  • We need a Farmer Protection Fund, paid for by GM companies and held by the Western Australian Government, to pay for potential damages caused to Australian farmlands.
  • It is the job of the Western Australian Government to protect local farmers and our food - not the interests of foreign GM companies.

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