Friday, August 12, 2011

GM trials halted in Spain

Public pressure halts GM trials in Castellón, Spain
By Phil Lee
FOE International
August 12, 2011

Friends of the Earth Spain celebrates the suspension of GM trials with human genes after mass mobilisations by the general public.

Valencia’s local government has revoked the permit of an Italian pharmaceutical company to experiment with GM rice combined with human genes in Vinaros, Castellon.

After protests from social, ecologist and peasant organizations, the Valencian Committee of Genetically Modified Organisms, which depends on the Council of Agriculture, has rejected this dangerous crop.

The aim of the GM trial was to obtain enzymes to treat Gaucher’s disease. However, there are several treatments for this disease that are obtained through genetic engineering in confined environments.

The risks associated with this experiment would have been far to high for what was a commercial purpose. There are already many cases of contamination with experimental GMOs, some of them with rice crops.

The trials were opposed by various social, ecological and farmers organisations. In Castellon the 15M movement were involved in setting up information stands about GM crops in various towns in the province in order to educate citizens more on the controversial science.

Talks and open debates were also organised and a cyberaction was carried out in which 5,000 people participated requesting the annulment of the license granted to the crop. As a result of the opposition, the municipality declared the Castellon region would remain GM-free.

However, in Spain as a whole, there are still numerous experiments with GM crops taking place. The country is the only EU member state that cultivates large-scale commercial GM corn.

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