Farmers in Sonoma County, California beware: a potential GMO ban is headed for your ballot in November.
Activists have successfully added to the ballot an initiative that would make it unlawful to propagate, cultivate, raise, or grow genetically engineered organisms. The organization spearheading the effort says the proposal would not prevent the sale or purchase of GMOs, or stop medical treatment for humans or animals using vaccines or medications. The group also claims it would not prevent research on GMOs, as long as it is conducted in secure labs.
If approved, the ban would take effect immediately, but growers with crops in the ground would be given until the end of the growth cycle to comply with the ban.
Last time a similar measure was brought as a ballot measure in 2005, it failed. But more than a combined $850,000 was spent by both sides of the issue to defeat it, making it one of the most expensive ballot initiatives in the county’s history. There are currently 5 other California counties with a similar ban.
A perusal of the anti-GMO organization’s Facebook page quickly demonstrates that they are just a wing of some of the other extremist organizations that use fear and misinformation to sell their agenda. It includes the usual dribble that Monsanto is evil, glyphosate is causing cancer in everyone, and farmers are murdering bees out of greed.
Not surprisingly then, the coordinator for Citizens for Healthy Farms and Families (want misleading? look no further than their name!) feels “positive” about their chances of success, because “the county’s residents are now more educated about genetically engineered food recalls that has included tomatoes.”
Sorry sweetie, but there are no genetically modified tomatoes commercially available, so I’m not sure how they would be recalled. Nor have there been any food recalls due to genetically modified foods. In fact, if you want to discuss food recalls, you should probably be more concerned about organic food. Obviously, there is a lack of candor with voters and when you straight up lie to them, it’s probably a lot easy to push your agenda.
As to the actual proposal, the University of California Cooperative Extension has pointed out some major flaws. For example, the proposed ban could potentially prohibit the cultivation of 3,000 existing crop varieties, including some used as control measures for West Nile virus in horses and distemper and rabies in dogs. The Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office pointed out that the measure gives the county no authority to enter a property and inspect for the presence of GMOs, nor does it give any definitions regarding compliance and enforcement.
So, imagine that, another poorly written ban on GMO cultivation from people that will say or do anything – regardless of the truth or how they hurt farmers – on the ballot during an election cycle.
The madness needs to end.