Premier returns from global biotech industry conference
Halifax, June 29, 2011. Groups in Nova Scotia are raising concerns today about the future of genetic modification (GM) in the province as Premier Darrell Dexter returns home from the major Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) conference in Washington DC.
The Premier traveled to the world’s largest biotech industry conference this week, June 26-28, to, according to a news release from the Premier’s Office, “promote Nova Scotia”, including making several speeches.
“We are already fighting to stop a US company from introducing genetically modified Atlantic Salmon,” said Rob Johnson, Sustainable Seafood Coordinator at the Ecology Action Center, “I hope the Premier can promote Nova Scotia without attracting any dangerous GM experiments to our province.”
“While there are Nova Scotia companies that may be a part of the broader so-called ‘life-sciences’ industry, the particular technology of genetic modification should be avoided at all costs,” said Marla MacLeod, Food Connections Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre. The category ‘biotechnology’ or ‘life-sciences’ is often used as a catchall for many types of new technologies, genetic modification (rDNA technology) being only one.
“We need to seek economic development based on environmentally sustainable technologies. This industry offers risky, unnecessary GM products,” said MacLeod, “We’ve already seen the false promises of GM sugar beets for biofuels chased off PEI, only to land in Nova Scotia and then mysteriously disappear. When genetic modification is involved the economic risks skyrocket along with the environmental risks and public opposition.”
“In my experience, the BIO conferences are more hype than substance, which is lucky given the range of bizarre and dangerous genetically modified products that the industry is working to develop and promote,” said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.
For more information: Rob Johnson, Ecology Action Centre, 902 446 4840 ; Marla MacLeod, Ecology Action Centre, 902 442 1077; Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, 613 241 2267 ext. 25