Has the EU gone completely mad???? Update : Video added.

This video clip explains the importance of seeds, and seed diversity far better than I can.

This is huge, and truly HORRIBLE.

I’ve just learned the EU is trying to pass a new law that would outlaw the selling or trading of heirloom varieties of seeds. If passed, this law would benefit only the multinational seed companies – like Monsanto – while endangering biodiversity and the safety of future food production.

If this is a sign of things to come, we are all at risk, not just the countries of Europe.

http://www.realseeds.co.uk/seedlaw.html

Why does any of this matter? The answer is complicated but I’ll try and boil it down to a few key issues.

1. Farmers are currently growing crops based on a few hybrid seed varieties.

2. These hybrid seeds are owned by a few, ginormous, multinational seed companies who own the patents, and have a virtual monopoly on food production.

3.  But the multinationals CANNOT own or patent heirloom seeds.

4. There are hundreds, if not thousands of heirloom seeds for each grain or vegetable variety. This means biodiversity. It also means that if anything terrible happens to the commercially grown seeds, we would have these heirloom varieties to fall back on.

5. At the moment, heirloom seeds are kept alive by small farmers around the world, AND BY GARDENERS. We are like a huge, distributed seed bank. We, and the heirloom seeds we keep alive are the backup if anything goes wrong in the mono-culture world of big agriculture.

6. If the EU passes this new law, small farmers, seed-saver organizations and backyard gardeners will no longer be able to buy, or even give away heirloom seeds to friends or neighbours. It will be illegal. And so in a short time these precious seeds would die out.

7. If the multinationals get their way in the EU, they will target some other country next. Perhaps Australia. In time they will make this a global reality. No more heirloom seeds anywhere. No more backup in case of disaster. No more biodiversity. We will literally have all our eggs in one basket and that basket will be owned by the multinationals.

I know some of you will think ‘So what? I don’t buy or eat those old vegies anyway. Why should I care?’

My answer is to look at the potato famine that hit Ireland 200 hundred years ago. At the time, most of the poorest people lived on next to nothing but potatoes. When a potato blight ruined the crops, the poorest people starved.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_(Ireland)

Now imagine if something similar hit our wheat crops. They are mono-cultures too. Millions and millions of acres of the same crop grown the world over. What would a pandemic amongst our most important food crops do to the Western World? Would McDonalds start serving hamburgers without the bun?

We all believe that things like the potato famine could never happen again because our technology would fix the problem quick smart. Unfortunately this is a comforting fairytale. There are pests and crop diseases still in existence that have been around since agriculture was first invented. Our technology keeps these things in check, but that is all.

Think about it. If technology could fix everything then why are we still using so many pesticides and herbicides?

The truth is that sometimes the only way to ‘fix’ a problem is to start from scratch, using old, primitive seeds that have a natural resistance to the pest or disease. If all those old, unpatentable seeds die out, where are we going to turn in a crisis?

This new law being put forward by the EU may not affect you, or me, or our kids, but sooner or later it will affect humanity as a whole. Something will come along, and it will smash all those big, shiny eggs in our basket. And then an awful lot of people will starve.

This is not science fiction. I wish it were. This is the real world, and we have to stop it from happening. Please do what you can to safeguard our future.

Meeks

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

39 responses to “Has the EU gone completely mad???? Update : Video added.

  • Candy Korman

    That is NUTS!
    Heirloom seeds and the wild and wonderful variety of plants are a benefit to all of us. I thought the EU was smarter.

    Like

  • Yvonne Hertzberger

    It is not only the EU. Monsanto has a vise grip on almost all the non-meat food industry in North America as well. I live in Canada and I grow an organic garden with heritage plants and seeds. But the horror stories keep getting worse. Farmers who grow fields of non-GMO seed are being ‘crop dusted’ by Monsanto, killing their crops. The courts have sided with Monsanto. It is LEGAL in the U.S. It’s a very frightening look I have into our future and our ability to survive any crop failure of a staple food.

    Like

    • acflory

      I’ve hated Monsanto since doing research for a story on gmo’s years ago. Not only are they twisting laws to suit themselves, and killing off small farmers in the process, they have infiltrated most of the US lawmaking institutions. They make normal lobbyists look like scout leaders.

      I share your fears Yvonne, and if this latest initiative succeeds world wide, these monster companies will kill off all choice and competition – in the name of democracy and free trade.

      And most people don’t give a shit. Excuse the french. 😦

      Like

  • lorddavidprosserDavid

    There is another reason I’m against the killing off of biodiversity the way Monsanto does. What they produce is so man-made that when you make the bun for he burgers, there may be no goodness in it at all it’s been modified so much. People forced to eat this a staple diet could eventually starve to death.
    Yes, the EU is stupid and has been for years, who else would try to regulate the shape of a banana within it’s member states? I’m desperate for the UK to hold it’s promised referendum on withdrawing from the EU altogether despite our leading politicians not wanting too since the EU promises a gravy train for them to board in retirement or having lost their seats. I don’t want to be part of group that can dictate laws making it a necessity that prison inmates can vote when our National law has stipulated they can’t, that is trying to create a tax raising law for itself to impose on members which hurts the population during a time of financial crisis and yet can vote pay increases for it’s politicians while denying the population the same .
    Monsanto own many of these selfish people and I don’t want Monsanto governing us.
    With the strict laws that Australia carries about the importation of plants and seeds, will they allow entry to heirloom seeds or will you be restricted to what you already have?

    Like

    • acflory

      After what the EU did to Cyprus I would expect countries to be fighting to get out, not in. And yes, Monsanto methodology is to own all the people in power, especially those who can influence their bottom line or long term strategies. The keep getting smacked on the wrist by the legal system but they roll on regardless because nothing hurts them.

      Interesting question about the importation of heirloom and other seeds. I’m not quite sure how it works – how do you quarantine a dormant seed? However I’m a member of Diggers, a seed-savers organization and they have a huge range of conventional and heirloom seeds from all over the world. Not sure what they’ll do if they can’t buy from European countries any more. At least a lot of those seeds will be safe here. For a while at at least. :/

      Like

  • alexlaybourne

    Reblogged this on Official Site of Alex Laybourne – Author and commented:
    The madness of the EU and their unending support of the big machine at the expense of the little guy.

    Like

  • geooorge

    Ah the EU. Got to love them :/

    Like

    • acflory

      No you don’t! They messed up Greece, and now Cyprus, and some schmuck wants to bend over for the seed companies. Nothing to love there. And yes, I know you were being sarcastic. 😦

      Like

  • metan

    What a frightening thought. Another company bent on controlling their corner of the market. Unfortunately if they get their way it could be at the expense of the world. 😦
    All the more reason for us to expand our home veg gardens, but what about the millions who live in places where there is no space? Soon enough there will be an underground black market in seeds. (Will we Diggers be members of an outlaw organisation?!)

    Like

    • acflory

      I’m sure gardeners wouldn’t take it lying down. And let’s face it, how could you enforce a law like that on home gardeners? But organizations like seed savers would be targeted I’m sure. Vive Le Blackmarket and civil disobedience! lol – do you think that comment will get me blacklisted somewhere?

      Like

      • metan

        I hope so! Can you imagine an anti-authoritarian country like Australia being ok with not allowed to save seeds or swap them with their mates!?

        Like

        • acflory

          Hah! Red rag to a bull. 😀 Sadly it may come down to a movement of civil disobedience. Governments of all kinds make ‘trades’ with big business. I don’t believe ours will hold out in the name of justice and commonsense.

          Like

  • Elizabeth Twist

    Codex Alimentarius is the standard behind moves like this. Codex is a body that supports the WHO, WTO, FAO and others in “setting global food safety standard” which in turn support Big Pharma and companies like Monsanto, allowing them ultimately to control the food supply. It sounds like madness, but so does outlawing organic heirloom seeds. There will be much more of this sort of thing coming down the pipe. The excuse will be that they are trying to “ensure food safety standards.” Grow your own food; save your seeds. More info here: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/esp_sociopol_depopu36.htm

    Like

    • acflory

      Thanks for this insight Elizabeth. I wonder where this codex was when the horse meat scandal was brewing. The thing I can’t understand is why individual nations within the EU aren’t protesting. After all, these seeds are part of their sovereign heritage!

      Many years ago I read a book by Kim Stanley Robinson about corporations killing off the Earth. At the time I thought it was incredibly fanciful. Real, way out there sci-fi. I’ve learned a lot since then and I’m starting to worry this particular bit of sci-fi may be coming true. 😦

      Like

  • anneb54

    Thank you so much for posting about this. I am going to repost it, because I think it is part of one of the biggest issues we face — food security. The heavy handed tactics of agribusiness companies over GMO seeds is outrageous and frightening. This seems to be along the same lines.

    Deconstructing Dinner has really interesting shows about food, agriculture, sustainability etc. I am not sure that it is still broadcasting, but you can listen to past programmes on

    http://www.cjly.net/deconstructingdinner/

    Like

    • acflory

      Just had a look at that link and added it to bookmarks. Looks very interesting.

      I think part of the problem is that so many people are disconnected to real food of any kind so any discussion like this is dismissed as a bunch of weirdos doing their thing.

      My daughter is very conscious of the food she eats but even she doesn’t see the wider significance of these issues. Yet she and her generation may be the ones who have to deal with the consequences. Scary.

      Like

    • anneb54

      My reblogging didn’t work 😦 What am I doing wrong?

      Like

  • alberta

    shocked maybe – not suprised – this old lady knows the dangers of large monopolies – they should be fought every inch of the way – trouble is so many of us are disconected from the basic world – wrapped cosily in our modernity – this is a dangerous step too far. The EU never has any sense when it comes to food.

    Like

    • acflory

      Well said Alberta. As another ‘old lady’ I’m with you all the way. I just wish there was a way of making seeds more sexy so more people would understand just how dangerous a step this is. Everyone is into conservation and I have no objections to that, but the extinction of these old seeds goes to the heart of us humans continuing to be able to feed ourselves. 😦

      Like

      • alberta

        re your reading way back – research for my series has involved a great deal of reading into food security (one of my all time soap boxes:) GMO – land grabbers (do you know of them – be very afraid for our future food security folks

        People just don’t seem to be able to see that ‘large’ is not necessarily good – as for feeding the starving better with these laws – we already have enough food in the world to feed everyone – food is owned by those with greed, money and power – without power you starve – it is as simple as that.

        I hope Australia can hold out there:) we are fighting a battle here in UK – GMO has been off the menu for a while but our idiots in parliment are trying to squeeze it back in.

        Like

        • acflory

          I can’t remember how or when I first became interested in GMO’s – probably through virology research I was doing for a story. But once I started digging into it I was stunned by the concept of ‘substantial equivalence’. That is the cornerstone on which Monsanto has been able to build this whole edifice of deceit. They bought out the original Flavorsavor [sp?] tomato after there was a public backlash against eating a product branded as genetically modified. Then they set about sneaking GMO’s in. They’re now so powerful they don’t have to sneak anymore. I am scared.

          Sadly Australia is heading down the same path as the US, and for much the same reason. Companies associated with Monsanto are ‘helping’ our CSIRO to develop GMO wheat. Once wheat goes to commercial trials we’re sunk and nobody seems to care. We will lose our organic produce in the same way the US is losing theirs – through contamination and transgenes.

          Soon there won’t be much point protesting because it will be a fait accompli. 😦

          Like

        • alberta

          depressing thought:(

          Like

  • EllaDee

    I’m going to add yet another link to the vast collection from commenters – http://thetableofzekki.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/being-wrong-about-food/ – this is an issue that is going somewhere, and hopefully not the way Monsanto and the Big Co.’s want it to. It’s gotten to a point where the populace will not be manipulated or bought or lied to, and pardon the pun, the grass roots of a thanks to the internet, worldwide revolution, is growing.

    Like

    • acflory

      I’ve just read that post and I’m appalled. I’ve let life and work distract me from this bloody threat. Clearly Monsanto has been busy too. I’m going to reblog this post tomorrow in the hope that others will reblog it as well. Thanks Ella. I feel so guilty for not keeping up with these developments. 😦

      Like

      • EllaDee

        My feeling is that although the GM issue is a concern in Australia particularly from imported GM foods, and critical in Europe & the US, as a country we aren’t aware but are fast becoming so. My awareness started with this blog http://thekitchensgarden.com/. Her blog looks cute but it has a great depth to it. Celi doesn’t put a hard sell on it or expect anyone to live as she does but she works on raising awareness as an antidote to modern agri-business.

        Like

        • acflory

          lol – bad girl! I read three of her posts in a row. Definitely another great blogger to follow. I’ve totally fallen in love with her animals.

          Like

        • EllaDee

          I see you have linked up with Celi 🙂 The Farmy is wonderful, and addictive but the underlying message is important. This, or as close to it as we can manage is the way the world needs to choose to live and to support 🙂 Have you read any of Michael Pollan’s books? I have only recently read In Defence of Food – it’s very good. Also informative, is Gina Mallett’s Last Chance to Eat.

          Like

    • alberta

      looks like I was wrong to say our idiots are ‘trying’ to bring back GMO – that was sobering reading indeed – All the meat I eat at the moment is from small farms – free range when poss. but I would suppose at times like this last year farmers would have had to buy in food and if their is no labeling going on? will habe to check with the organic organizations – thanks for the link

      Like

  • Diane Tibert

    Reblogged this on Diane and commented:
    Please, everyone share this post. We must wake up and realise what is happening to our food (our seed) before it is too late.

    Like

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