GM farmers revealed on our new map

31 July 2010

Wednesday, 28 July, 2010: Gene Ethics today launches an online map to help non-GM growers pinpoint those farms where genetically manipulated (GM) canola is growing. The State Government broke its promise to publish a map of all GM farms.

The map publishes information that non-GM farmers need to reduce the risks of GM contamination on their farms and in the food supply. The map plots 15 farmers who publicly said they were growing, or intended to grow, GM canola this year. This is the first season since the ban on commercial GM canola was lifted by the state government.

Gene Ethics executive director Bob Phelps says: "Agriculture Minister Terry Redman told Parliament he would 'accurately reflect the location' of GM farms and was 'happy for GM growers to be identified [on a Government online map]'. But the map shows only the shires where GM canola is grown. This minimal information is useless to farmers and others. Redman lulled the public and his doubting colleagues into a false sense of security by promising openness then refusing to deliver."

"Most people do not want GM food or crops. GM canola is being discounted $15 per tonne against GM-free canola in the eastern states."

Itinerant apiarist Colin Fleay says beekeepers on agricultural land could become affected without knowing it: "There's no control over where the bees go. Once they're out of the hive they go everywhere - they don't distinguish between GM and non-GM."

Network of Concerned Farmers spokesperson Julie Newman says farmers need a GM map so "common law" can work. "Without knowing the identity of GM farmers, non-GM farmers have no legal recourse to recover economic loss caused by GM contamination," she says.

Organic farmer Bee Winfield says: "The map will help big growers who can afford to take legal action against GM farmers who have impacted on their livelihood."

Mr Phelps concludes: "We hope that the GM farm map will be a useful resource for the WA community.”

To view the Gene Ethics map, go to and click "GM farms".

Further information:
Vivienne Reiner, Gene Ethics media officer: (02) 9440 3545, 0432 352 132

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