Protests over genetically modified alfalfa hit Waterloo
About 100 protestors marched outside the office of Kitchener-Waterloo MP Peter Braid on Tuesday to voice concerns about genetically modified alfalfa, in part of a series of protests planned across the province.
The protestors, from the National Farmers Union and the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, are opposed to an expected federal approval of alfalfa, or hay, as the latest legal genetically-engineered crop.
The majority of Ontario corn and soybean crops are genetically modified, often to protect the crops from unwanted insects or weeds.
Alfalfa is used to feed dairy and beef cattle.
Protestors say genetically modified alfalfa seeds could be carried by birds to the alfalfa fields of other farmers, contaminating regular alfalfa.
This would make the alfalfa unacceptable as an export crop and threaten the livelihoods of many farmers.
Other protestors say they have concerns about the effects of genetically modified foods on long-term health.
“There have been studies that have linked it to childhood cancers, colitis, diabetes” said Caitlin Connell.
“There’s a number of things that have been linked to GMO as far as diseases go, and there’s more that we probably don’t even know yet.”
Braid did come out of his office to speak with the protestors, telling them and CTV that any decision on licensing genetically modified alfalfa will be based on science and research.
“These decisions are not political decisions,” he said.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it hopes to have genetically modified alfalfa approved for use in the near future. Companies that produce the crop are hoping to sell it in Canada in time for spring planting.