Grassroots activism against transgenic encroachment has paid off in Canada, where licenses for genetically modified (GM) alfalfa have been put on hold, according to new reports. Massive protests in Montreal, Levis, Quebec City, Toronto and as many as 35 other towns and cities across Canada caused US-based Monsanto and Forage Genetics International, the company responsible for creating GM alfalfa using Monsanto’s technology, to have the issuance of their growing licenses delayed in accordance with the will of the people.
The Montreal Gazette explains that, besides widespread farmer resistance to the crop — which is completely unnecessary, as natural alfalfa already grows heartily and steadily without the need for pesticides — tens of thousands of Canadians have repeatedly expressed their disapproval of it. Even Quebec’s union of agricultural producers, known as the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) of Quebec, has expressed strong disapproval of the crop.
“The UPA isn’t against genetically modified seeds in general, but we voted unanimously — for two years in a row — that commercialization of GM alfalfa should be prohibited,” stated Marcel Groleau, a UPA member and farmer who, along with his brother, raises 100 dairy cows in Quebec. Like many other farmers throughout the region, Groleau is concerned that GM alfalfa will contaminate conventional and organic alfalfa, as alfalfa is a perennial crop pollinated by bees that spreads easily.
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