June 26, 2009

Canadian Farmers repudiate transgenic (GM) wheat

Press Release, University of Manitoba. June 25, 2009

A new study on Canadian farmer perceptions toward genetically modified (GM)wheat specifically Roundup Ready wheat (RRW) has just been published in the international peer reviewed journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research. This scientific paper is being released just as the controversy over growing GM wheat is re-igniting.

Unlike a recent industry-sponsored study conducted in the US, it shows that Canadian farmers are categorically opposed to RRW.

Although GM wheat was initially abandoned in 2004, industry groups and their partners are now seeking its reintroduction, and our study on Canadian farmer attitudes toward Roundup Ready wheat is once again very timely, says Dr. Ian Mauro, the lead author of the paper written with Drs. Stephane McLachlan and Rene Van Acker. Mauro, McLachlan and Van Acker are internationally recognized experts on GM crops and their socio-economic and environmental impacts.

This research is the first of its kind to include farmer knowledge in the a priori risk analysis of GM crops and, arguably, is the largest scale, independent-farmer-focused study on GM crops ever conducted. The study, which was initiated in 2004, evaluates farmer attitudes towards the benefits and risks of RRW using both quantitative and qualitative methods. It included responses from 1566 farmers across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, and includes organic, conventional, and no-till farmers.

In total, 83% of Canadian farmers disagreed that Roundup Ready wheat should have unconfined release into the environment, says McLachlan,
adding that although many respondents themselves used GM canola, the great majority felt that risks associated with RRW far outweighed any benefits.

Read the journal article from Springer Link

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