Suicide seeds: Corporates gain control over nature's seeds as the Terminator patent is granted

Ban Terminator Campaign – Breaking News October 25, 2005

New Patents on Terminator Granted in Europe and Canada!

Corporations move closer to bringing Terminator to market. The need for a successful Ban Terminator Campaign is clearer than ever.

Delta & Pine Land and the United States Department of Agriculture have been granted new patents on the Terminator technology that they jointly own. On October 11 the Canadian Patent Office granted patent CA 2196410 and on October 5 the European Patent Office granted patent EP 775212B. Applications for similar patents have been filed in Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Turkey and South Africa.

Take Action: A sample letter to write to your government is posted under Take Action at www.banterminator.org – More specific actions and contacts are coming soon. Please stay tuned.

Please see below two press releases with the details:

1. International Press Release: Corporates gain control over nature's seeds as the Terminator patent is granted, October 25, 2005

2. Canadian Press Release: Canada Grants New Controversial Terminator Patent To US Company: Patent on “Suicide seeds” allowed, October 25, 2005

1. Corporates gain control over nature's seeds as the Terminator patent is granted

Amsterdam, 25 October 2005 - Greenpeace today exposed details that the patent for the controversial "Terminator technology" was granted in Europe on 5 October 2005. The Terminator patent (1) has been approved for all plants that are genetically engineered so that their seeds will not germinate. Further research by the "Ban Terminator Campaign", a network of farmers' unions and environmental organisations revealed that a patent was also granted in Canada on 11 October 2005.

Plants created using Terminator technology will produce sterile seeds, creating a monopoly and unnatural control of the seeds. Farmers will not be able to use seeds from such plants for the following season's cultivation. The seeds will rot \in the soil without producing new plants. If this technology is introduced in crops such as soya, wheat, canola and cotton it will force farmers to buy new seeds every year from the same company.

"Farmers should be aware that corporations all over the world are ready to take control of their seeds with genetic engineering (GE). These corporations will control the entire food chain with the help of monopoly patents and Terminator technology," said Christoph Then, Greenpeace International GE campaigner. "We need a global ban on this technology and on any patents on seeds. These corporate instruments will disrupt the backbone of global food supply, making it impossible for the farmers to reuse their own harvest for planting."

So far, the market introduction of the Terminator technology-which was already developed about ten years ago-was successfully prevented through worldwide protest of several groups and stakeholders. But many observers believe that the GE industry will drive towards the legalisation of this technology at the meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in March next year. The grant of the patent could push even harder for market introduction.

"These new patents confirm that corporations are once again actively pursuing Terminator technology and an international ban on the technology is urgently needed," said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the new global Ban Terminator Campaign, which involves farmers unions, environmental and Indigenous peoples organisations (2).

Although the GE industry claims that Terminator technology will help contain the spread of GE contamination, Greenpeace believes otherwise. "GE technology can not be controlled by Terminator seeds. On the contrary, it is likely that farmers will find their harvest being contaminated with this Terminator technology, if introduced. This is a real threat for estimated 80% of the farmers all over the world who save their seeds for cultivation."

Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses non-violent creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

For further information, contact:

Christoph Then, Greenpeace International GE Campaign, +49 171 8780832

Judit Kalovits, Greenpeace International Communications, +31 621 296914

Lucy Sharratt, Ban Terminator Campaign, +1 613 2412267

Notes to Editors:

(1) The Terminator patent, EP 775212B, was granted to US-based Delta &Pine and the United States of America, represented by the Secretary of Agriculture. According to further data bank research the patent was already granted in similar versions in USA, further applications were filed in Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Turkey and South Africa.

(2) //www.banterminator.org

2. Canada Grants New Controversial Terminator Patent To US Company

Patent on “Suicide seeds” allowed

Ottawa, October 25, 2005 – Today Greenpeace and the Ban Terminator Campaign revealed that new patents have been granted in both Canada and Europe for a Terminator technology owned jointly by US seed corporation Delta & Pine Land and the United States Department of Agriculture. The patents were granted on October 11 and 5 respectively. The move confirms the greatest fears of farmers’, Indigenous peoples groups and social movements across the world that Terminator technology is once again being pushed towards commercialization.

Terminator seeds are genetically engineered to be sterile after first harvest so farmers cannot use the seed in the next season. It would force farmers to buy seed every year and concentrate even more power in the hands of major biotechnology and seed corporations. Intensive global uproar has kept the technology from being field-tested or commercialized but companies are now pushing for acceptance.

“These new patents confirm that corporations are once again actively pursuing Terminator seeds and an international ban on Terminator is urgently needed,” said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the new global Ban Terminator Campaign.

New fears that governments and corporations are working together to push Terminator were first confirmed in February 2005 when the Canadian government shocked the world by trying to overturn the international de facto moratorium on Terminator that exists at the United Nations under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Uproar from Canadian and international groups kept the moratorium alive. To address this crisis, the National Farmers Union and other Canadian-based groups including ETC Group, Inter Pares and USC Canada initiated a global Ban Terminator Campaign
//www.banterminator.org .

“The Canadian government must immediately stop promoting corporate Terminator seeds and protect the rights of farmers by banning the technology,” said Terry Boehm, Vice President of the National Farmers Union, “Terminator is a great threat to farmers in developed and developing countries. The Canadian government should be ashamed to be associated with this technology. Terminator is an attempt to achieve biologically what the government has been unable to do legislatively.”

“Corporate control of seeds is the only goal of Terminator. The corporate attempt to greenwash Terminator by saying it can help prevent genetic contamination is false as the technology itself is not 100% reliable and it can nevertheless contaminate the environment and threaten biodiversity’. This is an outrageous strategy to commercialize a dangerous, anti-farmer and non-ecological technology, ” said Eric Darier, Greenpeace Canada campaigner, “Patents on Terminator can and must be denied for the public good.”

The Ban Terminator Campaign is urging governments around the world to establish national bans on Terminator and to ban Terminator at the major meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity March 20-31 2006 in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil.

For more information: Terry Boehm, Vice President, National Farmers Union, Saskatchewan 306 255 2880; Eric Darier, Greenpeace Canada Campaigner, Montreal 514 933 0021 x15 Cell: 514 605 6497; Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Ban Terminator Campaign, Ottawa 613 241 2267 Cell: 613 222 6214


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