The Government's new e-petitions, which allow the public to create and sign petitions online, got off to an interesting start.
Twenty per cent of the early e-petitions to the House of Commons were calls for a re-instatement of the death penalty in Britain. One such petition got more than 2,000 supporters, while a petition opposing the restoration of capital punishment had over 3,000 signatures.
Unless or until GM foods kill a large number of people, and the biotech bosses are made to take full responsibility, the existence of the death penalty has no bearing on the GM issue.
However, the comments and warnings given by the Commons Leader in response to public petitions are highly relevant.
He told MPs not to shy away from debating an issue if a groundswell of voters had backed a petition demanding it, because:
“If lots of people want parliament to do something which it rejects, then it is up to MPs to explain the reasons to their constituents. What else is parliament for? People have strong opinions and it does not serve democracy well if we ignore them or pretend that their views do not exist.”
At the time of writing, only one e-petition concerned food safety (a call for a ban of trans-fat in food).
Anyone who's been campaigning on the GM issue, or any other food-safety issue, will be aware of how often our government seems to pretend their views do not exist.
Clearly, e-petitions could be a very real way to get your GM-concern message across, but the channel seems to be under-used so far. Check out e-petitions on the DirectGov website. Perhaps you might like to organise a call for the removal of Roundup and artificial Bt toxins from our food chain? See below.
WHAT ROUNDUP DOES TO PEOPLE
A shocking report, commissioned by one State Government in Argentina, documented what had been happening there in the ten years (2000 to 2009) since Roundup Ready crops were introduced. It found a four-fold increase in both cancers and birth defects in the villagers living near where the GM crops were sprayed with Roundup.
Besides such observations from South America, other relevant and corroborating laboratory-based evidence of the dangers of Roundup has been slowly emerging. For example: interference in early embryo development, disruption of a placental enzyme vital for hormone balance, impairment of mitochondrial function (i.e. the cell's energy source), cell toxicity and death, and DNA instability which could lead to cancer.
See also ROUNDUP CAUSES BIRTH DEFECTS – GMFS News Archive, October 2010.
WHAT Bt TOXIN MAY DO TO PEOPLE IS UNTESTED
Genetic engineers can chemically alter artificial Bt toxins at will. They can also stack genes to produce an infinite variety of pesticidal crop plants. Bt proteins have a recognised allergenic potential and a known ability to react with mammalian cells.
A study in Canada detected Bt toxins not only in healthy pregnant and non-pregnant women, but in the babies of the pregnant women just after birth.
See GM PESTICIDESINSIDE YOU – April 2011.
- John Higginson, Voters call for capital punishment, Metro 5.08.11