Press Release, 2 July 2014
BAYER is launching GM Soy
Usage of toxic pesticides continues to increase / “high meat consumption contributes to pesticide poisoning”
Bayer CropScience has launched a new soy product range. The corporation has started selling glyphosate and glufosinate resistant GMO soy seed under the brand name Credenz. Other varieties which have added resistance against so called HPPD herbicides are to follow at a later date.
Dirk Zimmermann of Greenpeace criticised the launch, saying “after the failure of glyphosate tolerant plants BAYER is now ramping up pesticide production. Having joined the arms race of global GM soy cultivation, the corporation has outed itself as an irresponsible war profiteer. The introduction of further GMO plants with a host of new herbicide resistances has unmasked the whole concept as a one way street serving only as a vehicle to sell more and more toxic agrochemicals.”
Forests, fallow land and small-scale farms in South America have been displaced by massive soy plantations. The crop is not used to feed the local population but instead is largely exported to Europe and the USA, due to the huge demand by the meat industry. On the other hand, production of staple foods is being undermined by the soy boom.
Philipp Mimkes of the Coalition against BAYER Dangers (CBG) said: “High meat consumption is causing major ecological and health damage in South America. We demand a conversion to ecological farming, even if this leads to a decrease in meat production. Toxic herbicides such as glyphosate and glufosinate must be banned!”. Glyphosate and glufosinate are sold in combination with genetically modified seed, particularly soy and maize. Since the seed market is controlled by just a handful of corporations, many farmers are only able to buy GMO seed.
Glyphosate (“Roundup”), developed by Monsanto, is the top-selling agrotoxin worldwide. As the patent has expired, the active ingredient is now also sold by Bayer and other companies. Glyphosate is suspected of causing birth defects, damaging the DNA and promoting diseases including Alzheimer's, diabetes and cancer.
Glufosinate is even more toxic. A European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) evaluation states that the substance poses a high risk to mammals. Glufosinate is classified as reprotoxic, with laboratory experiments causing premature birth, intra-uterine death and abortions in rats. That is why the substance must be withdrawn from sale in the EU by 2017 at the latest. This has not prevented BAYER from announcing in May 2013 that it would build a huge new glufosinate factory in the USA. In this way the corporation seeks to close the gap caused by the increasing inefficacy of glyphosate against weeds.
GM crops do not solve the hunger problem, contrary to the claims repeatedly made by lobbyists. About 80 percent of GM crops are used as animal feed. GM crops are neither drought-resistant nor more high-yielding. Their cultivation on ever larger areas is pushing back the production of food crops, making it more difficult to feed local populations.
With a global market share of 20 % BAYER is the second largest pesticide manufacturer. The corporation's products are responsible for a significant proportion of pesticide poisoning worldwide. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that up to 20 million cases of pesticide poisoning occur annually, of which up to 200,000 cases end in death. Translation: Susanne Schuster (Tlaxcala)