Over 200 prominent concerned citizens of Mysore overwhelmingly said No to Bt Brinjal, called for a GE-free Karnataka and demanded a nationwide referendum on permitting the introduction of GE crops pending which imposition of a moratorium on GE crops in the country.
Through a declaration called MYSORE DECLARATION ON GENETIC ENGINEERING, FOOD AND FARMING farmers, consumer and environment activists, scientists, academicians, students, national and global experts on genetic engineering termed the claims made by the biotech industry and the safety tests conducted by it as “doubtful in nature” and demanded “a proper, independent and transparent scientific tests for toxicity, allergenicity, environmental impact, pest resistance development and yield levels”.
The one day State Conference on Genetic Engineering, Food and Farming was held on Saturday, November 7, 2009 at the Institution of Engineers Hall, Mysore and was co hosted by the Institution of Engineers, Mysore Chapter and the Deccan Development Society of Andhra Pradesh.
Many formal GE scientists including Dr T. M Manjunath, formerly Head of Research, Monsanto, Dr Vageesh Babu of the Indian Horticultural Research Institute and Dr Shekhar Shetty of the Department of Biotechnology University of Mysore put forward their arguments on Genetic Engineering. Ms Aruna Rodrigues of Sunray Harvesters, MP, Dr Vijayan, Chair, Kerala State Biodiversity Board and Mr P V Satheesh, Director Deccan Development Society, Hyderabad spoke of the harmful effects of genetic engineering on food and farming. Dr Vombatkere of the Mysore Grahakara Parishad, Mysore and Mr Babu, Chair, Institute of Engineers, Mysore Chapter also participated in the debate beside Mr U N Ravi Kumar and Mr Satheesh.
At the end of the day long deliberations, the House adopted MYSORE DECLARATION ON GENETIC ENGINEERING, FOOD AND FARMING.
MYSORE DECLARATION ON GENETIC ENGINEERING, FARMING AND FOOD
Institute of Engineers, Mysore, November 7, 2009
Having listened to the views of a group of scientists for and against genetic engineering, its regulatory, legal, ethics and social issues, its effects on food and farming and human health, we have come to the following conclusions
In view of the overwhelming evidence provided by the global community of farmers, scientists and independent researchers on the ill effects of GE crops and also keeping in mind the doubtful nature of the safety tests conducted by the biotech companies and regulatory bodies, it is advisable to undertake proper, independent and transparent scientific tests for toxicity, allergenicity, environmental impact, pest resistance development and yield levels. Therefore we are in favour of introducing a moratorium on the introduction of GE crops in India
The issues of GE crops and foods must be brought to the notice of farmers, consumers and the citizens of this country through a national referendum. The resultant people’s verdict with reference to governance of GE foods must be accepted with full respect.
Instead of running behind the mirage of GE crops, the government must encourage sustainable organic agriculture. The yield increases claimed by the GE industry are only due to presumed effectiveness in the control of pests. This can be safely achieved by organic products.
The government and its approval agencies should adopt stringent and transparent measures without any fear or favour in evaluating/assessing the various claims made for GE products including their safety to the consumer and the environment
We do not wish our people to eat GE foods as we do not know how it affects our people’s heath. We do not trust an industry that makes money at the cost of public health and we certainly do not trust a government that ignores its people’s health
We must strive to create a movement for public understanding of GE crops and GM foods by mobilizing all possible resources – both material and human
We don’t want GE crops which can be apocalyptic to life on earth. Let us say No to Bt Brinjal.
Government must by law declare Karnataka GM free