Switzerland stands strong against GE

09 March 2010
Greenpeace activists dressed in traditional Swiss costume - called for  a moratorium in 2002.Swiss activists from Greenpeace called for a moratorium in 2002.
Zurich, Switzerland — The Swiss Parliament has just extended its ban on the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) plants for three more years. Originally enacted in 2005, Switzerland will stay GE-free until at least 2013.

The original moratorium was backed by Swiss voters in a referendum 5 years ago. Supporters of the ban included farmers, who were concerned about the impacts of GE crops on organic produce. Our Swiss office has been supporting these farmers and Swiss consumers to ensure the country remains GE-free. This is a significant national victory, but more than that it is an example for the rest of the EU. It sends a strong message to EU Commission President Barroso, who is clearly trying to force GE crops into the EU and is trying to bypass standard authorisation procedures. The EU needs to follow the Swiss example by implementing a moratorium on all GE food in order to protect the environment, agriculture and people.

Greenpeace activists planted the word “Gentechfrei” (“GE Free”) alongside the railway line between Bern and Zurich. Greenpeace Switzerland asked for an extension of the moratorium on growing genetically engineered crops.

 Ban Barroso

The recent backdoor approval of the GE potato, by President Barroso, has met a wave of strong opposition from EU member-states. The governments of Greece, Austria, Luxembourg, Italy, Hungary and France have all publicly announced that they will not allow the GE potato to be grown in their countries. While six EU member-states (Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Luxembourg) have bans in place on GE maize cultivation.

Genetically engineered failure

Monsanto has just admitted that pests have developed resistance to GE cotton. Read the blog by Reyes, our campaigner in India.

 GE-crops are part of an outdated intensive agriculture model that promote the use of environmentally harmful chemicals while failing to generate high yields or provide solutions for hunger and climate change. Their costly development as ‘solutions’ to world hunger or climate change masks the real socio-economic, environmental and political causes of these problems. GE crops also pose unpredictable risks to human and animal health.

Volunteer activists created the living “GE-Free” banner in Switzerland – in 2009.

In 2009, GE cultivation in the European Union decreased by 11 percent. Accross the world farmers are abandoning GE crops due to both high prices and lack of demand. Many farmers are instead turning to ecological farming. They do not want to be at the mercy of bullying multinationals which are threatening to take control of our food.

We are committed to ecological farming worldwide: farming that protects soil, water, the climate, promotes biological diversity and does not contaminate the environment with chemicals and GE-organisms.


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