A small, but mighty group of concerned Princeton citizens gathered together Sunday afternoon to support a rally which was being held simultaneously in Kelowna. The reason behind the rally was make their voices heard in the ongoing debate about food. While more and more corporations are making genetically modified foods a part of food production, many Canadians who feel they are being intentionally left in the dark are looking for answers.
“People are really concerned about the affects genetically modified foods will have on us over the long term,” said rally participant Glow Lemon. “These kids,” she said pointing at a bunch of children holding signs, “are the unwilling guinea pigs to an experiment they have had no say in. We don’t know what the results will be of this food experiment.”
Rally participants want the public to be aware of the fact that in Canada, genetically modified foods are not labelled as such and that the average Canadian is more than likely eating such food without any knowledge of it. Those against genetically modified foods would like to see legislation in place that forces companies to inform the public of the nature of their products whether natural or altered.
NDP MP Alex Atamanenko introduced a bill (C-474) to the House of Commons that calls for the end of the sale of genetically-modified seeds in Canada until Canada knows the export implications and health implications. At present, the European countries will not import genetically modified foods. Many seeds are genetically modified to make them heartier and more productive. The seeds are more resistant to their enemies and yield better say their makers.
Concerns have deepened due to the fact that the government has left all claims regarding the seeds value in the hands of the corporations who stand to make huge profits from their product. No testing is done by the government before approval is given. Independent test results are finding pre-canderous lesions in test animals who are fed genetically modified foods. Rally participants want more answers and more tests done before the government rubber stamp is given to these corporations.
“Our bodies and our foods are the result of millions of years of evolution,” said Kelowna protestor Jim Tomelin. “You can’t toy around with tat. They can’t predict long-term outcomes of eating gentically-modified foods and I don’t want to be their gunea pig.”
In the University of Guelph an Enviro Pig is being bred. It is said to produce cleaner waste. Multi-national corporations are pushing for more and more genetically modified foods in Canada and for swine farmers across the country the feeling is that the family farmer is being pushed out of an industry that is a natural part of the food chain with livestock experimentation. “Phosphorus is an asset not a liability” said swine farmer Sean McGIvern. “We have been using it to fertilize our fields for generations. The only other way to get it is by mining it. Why would we want to get rid of an asset? When will enough be enough? Corporations want to genetically modify a whole species. This will lead to genetic contamination. Public support for this is zero. Europeans are strictly against genetically modified crops and livestock. The only people this movement is aiding is the multi-national corporations.”
G.E. Free B.C. “is a social justice coalition of groups and individuals across BC/Yukon working for local, community based agriculture, and against genetic engineering of plants and trees,” states the website. Their main concern is human safety. “Their are serious food safety concerns.” Communities and regions across B.C. such as the Kootenay region are part of a movement to becoming G.E. Free. Several B.C. communities have become G.E. Free already including Nelson and they are hoping to become a part of a bigger movement to make Canada G.E. Free. “Nature should not be an experiment for scientists. Nature has evolved over millions of years and now corporations are trying to alter that without regard for the consequences,” said Lemon.