Target: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Goal: Stop risky experimental field trials of genetically engineered crops, until proper measures are in place to protect farmers’ crops from contamination
There have been many cases in which Monsanto and other agribusiness companies have contaminated nearby farmers’ crops by experimenting with genetically engineered (GE) crops. Crop genes move freely in the environment and can easily contaminate nearby non-GE crops. This severely affects the marketability of the crops, because many countries around the world will not buy GE crops. Farmers deserve to know that their crops will not be genetically modified against their will, and that their markets will not be put at risk. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) must take steps to solve this problem.
One of the main crops that has been contaminated by Monsanto’s inconsiderate experiments is wheat. Around a year ago, GE wheat was found in an Oregon farmer’s non-GE wheat field. This contamination caused the wheat to be unfit for export to other countries, most of which will not buy GE wheat. The U.S. is the world’s biggest exporter of wheat, but export customers in other countries have made it clear that they will purchase all of their wheat from a different source if U.S. wheat is found to be genetically engineered. Oregon exports 90 percent of its wheat. However, following the finding of non-approved GE wheat in Oregon, Japan and South Korea immediately canceled all wheat imports.
Contamination of other crops happens frequently as well. Four months after the Oregon wheat incident, contaminated alfalfa was found in Washington. Not long after, a U.S. corn shipment was rejected by China following the discovery of an unapproved GE trait. In 2006, a rice contamination event caused the rice industry market losses of one billion dollars. These events happen far too often and it is the USDA’s job to implement measures to control and restrict experimental trials of GE crops. The rules presently in place basically allow companies like Monsanto to monitor themselves.
By signing this petition, you will help urge the USDA to halt existing GE trials and implement strict controls on future trials in order to ensure that farmers do not unfairly suffer market losses due to corporations’ negligence.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
Trials of genetically engineered crops are an important problem in the U.S., and are causing significant losses to innocent farmers. These farmers are unable to sell their wheat internationally, due to most countries refusing to buy GE crops. Even after the numerous contamination incidents, experimental GE trials are still being approved by the USDA. This practice must be halted until strict regulations are put in place to ensure that non-GE crops are not tainted by GE genes.
The USDA must implement measures such as disclosing to farmers the locations of GE trials, establishing mandatory contamination prevention requirements, and actively monitoring companies and field trials.
I am urging you to protect US farmers by making sure huge companies like Monsanto cannot contaminate non-GE crops with GE genes and thereby render the crops unable to be sold to foreign markets.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: spinheike via Pixabay