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Short Title

GM Issues Investigated

Subject Area

Farming Environment and Politics

Type of Submission

Journal Article

Abstract

It was important to investigate and tell this story as GM issues receive limited exposure in the news media, though the Steve Marsh case has gone some way towards remedying this. Marsh lost his organic farming licence in 2010 because of contamination from his neighbour’s crop. Primarily this investigation served to highlight the lack of hard data about whether GM and non-GM crops can coexist, in a way that had not previously been published.

It was also important to investigate Monsanto’s intentions regarding potential future acquisition of a larger share of the WA Government wheat-breeding company InterGrain, as this could significantly impact on the choices available to all WA farmers, particularly those opposed to GM crops.

This investigation revealed that the right of non-GM farmers to decide to use their preferred farming methods could be seriously compromised if the GM industry and the Government strongly endorse, fund and/or promote advancement of GM technology, to the detriment and/or neglect of non-GM crop varieties. Therefore, there is a valid Fourth Estate rationale for holding the Government to account for its actions on this issue, and for its intentions and policies to be questioned.

Marsh’s situation puts these GM issues in context, and it was important to air his description about how the 2010 introduction of GM canola in WA affected him. The outcome of his situation will likely set a precedent for similar cases of GM contamination. Government advice, such as urging farmers to engage in “communicating with neighbours”, appears simple and logical advice to follow, but Marsh’s situation illustrates this simplification of coexistence is out of touch with the real and possible threat of contamination.

This paper presents five from a series of ten articles about GM issues in Western Australia followed by an exegesis.


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