Genetically modified failures

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Don’t believe what you hear from vested interests, rent-a-quote ‘scientists’ and’ bought’ politicians. After nearly 20 years of promises that genetically modified food would revolutionise our world, feed the hungry, boost the yields and therefore the incomes of farmers, and even cure disease, genetically modified crops have never lived up to those promises.

These are the genetically modified failures that big biotech refuses to be accountable for, doesn’t want you to know about and the reasons why we continue to say ‘NO!’ to GMOs.

Failure to deliver

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Despite the hype, genetic modification consistently fails to live up to industry claims. Only two GM traits have ever made it to market – herbicide resistance and BT toxin expression. Other promises of genetic modification have failed to materialise.

The much vaunted GM ‘golden rice’ – hailed for a decade as a cure for vitamin A deficiency and night blindness still hasn’t…

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U.S., Malaysia Lead Worldwide ‘Land Grabs’

ECO-opia

By Stephen Leahy   

Uxbridge — Africa is the main target for “land grabs” by foreign investors, according to a new report on large-scale land acquisitions around the world released Monday.

“Africa is the place for cheap land deals and most investors are from Western countries like the U.S. and UK,” said Michael Taylor of the International Land Coalition (ILC).

A small number of farmers are receiving fertilizer and training in conservation agriculture through a government/FAO programme.

Photo:                   Mujahid Safodien/IRIN  

 

Globally some 45 million hectares of land has been or is about to be signed over to foreign investors in Africa, Southern Asia and Latin America. That’s equivalent to 60 percent of Europe’s farmland.

About half of this land is for food production and half for biofuels, according to data compiled by the ILC, a global alliance of nearly 100 civil society and intergovernmental organisations, including the World…

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Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine | Abstract | Ethnobotanical knowledge on indigenous fruits in Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions in Northern Namibia

See on Scoop.itSustainable Livestock Agenda SLA

Indigenous communities in Namibia possess a rich indigenous knowledge expressed within many practices of these communities.  

 

56.3% of the respondents reported that indigenous fruits were declining. Only a 42.2% indicated that the indigenous fruits populations are increasing. Regarding to the management practices to improve the production of these indigenous fruit trees; 38.6% reported that there are some efforts on management practices; on the other hand 61.4% reported there are no management practices on the indigenous fruit trees in their areas. Four species were found to be the most frequently used and mentioned fruits which need to be given high preference in terms of conservation are: Berchemia discolor, Hyphaene petersiana, Sclerocarya birrea and Diospyros mespiliformis. .

See on www.ethnobiomed.com

Antibiotic resistance – the impact of intensive farming on human health

A report for the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics

Compassion in World Farming, the Soil Association and Sustain

Summary

Scientists and leading figures are increasingly warning of a serious health crisis in future, where some infectious diseases will no longer be treatable, if we do not urgently start using antibiotics more sparingly and intelligently. Antibiotic resistance is developing faster than new antibiotics are being developed, as finding new antibiotics is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive.

Despite previous attempts to reduce use, surveys have shown that many doctors still prescribe antibiotics far more often than necessary, a high proportion of patients still believe that antibiotics are effective against viruses, and a significant number of patients do not even complete a full course of antibiotics, sometimes saving tablets for later self-medication.

On farms, many antibiotics are used routinely for disease prevention or for the treatment of avoidable outbreaks of disease. Increasing use of antibiotics that are critically important in human medicine is also a serious concern. Some government officials and the intensive livestock industries are reluctant to reduce antibiotic use significantly, because this might increase production costs. As a result, those representing the interests of intensive livestock farmers and drug companies generally argue that the use of antibiotics does not contribute to the problem of antibiotic resistance in humans to any appreciable extent. Some governments, including the British government, accept industry arguments and claim there is no conclusive evidence that farm antibiotic use contributes to the human resistance problem.

In reality, increasing resistance levels are driven by antibiotic use in all sectors: in humans in the community and in hospitals, on farms and in companion animals. Although resistance in human infections is mainly caused by human antibiotic use, for a range of bacteria, farm-animal use contributes significantly and for some infections is the main source of resistance. This fact has been established by decades of research and is now fully accepted by organisations like the World Health Organisation and the European Food Safety Authority. This briefing sheet summarises some of the most important findings.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria pass between humans, between animals and between humans and animals in both directions much more frequently than once realised. Copies of antibiotic-resistance genes can also move between bacteria, and this exchange can occur in the human gut, so in some cases the bacteria causing a human infection will not be of farm-animal origin, but the resistance will be.

This complexity means there are few completely conclusive results in antibiotic-resistance science. Nevertheless, the overall weight of scientific research has led to a consensus that:

·        for some bacterial infections, such as Campylobacter and Salmonella, farm antibiotic use is the principal cause of resistance in human infections.

·        for other infections, like E. coli and enterococcal infections, farm antibiotic use contributes, or has contributed, significantly to the human resistance problem.

·        the emergence of resistance to critically important antibiotics, in particular of ESBL resistance in E. coli and Salmonella, is a major development which has occurred in recent years, which has been driven by inappropriate use of these antibiotics in both human and veterinary medicine.

·        livestock-associated strains of MRSA infecting humans are also a developing problem, which results from the high use of certain antibiotics in farm animals.

·        some other emerging antibiotic resistant infections in humans may in part be due to farm antibiotic use, but while research is ongoing, there is currently insufficient evidence to draw clear conclusions.

The lack of major success over past decades in developing new antibiotics means that it has become ever more important that we preserve the antibiotics that we have by using them only when they are genuinely needed in order to reduce overall use.

On many highly intensive pig and poultry farms, the approach is to increase hygiene and ‘biosecurity’ to reduce the spread of disease. However, the widespread use of some disinfectants, can also select for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A more effective method for reducing disease and the need for antibiotic use in farm animals is to reduce livestock density. This is already a component of both Danish and Belgian attempts to reduce farm antibiotic use. Keeping animals in healthier conditions, where possible with greater access to the outdoors, can reduce disease still further. Selecting appropriate animal breeds, with a much greater focus on their resistance to infection and less on maximum productivity, will also contribute to a healthier animal population, needing fewer antibiotics.