Zaragoza Declaration: GM-FREE FARMING AND FOOD!

Anti-GM mobilisation on 18th April 2009

Large scale cultivation of transgenic crops in the European Union over the past 10 years has only taken place in Spain. GM farming in Spain has been and is characterized by a complete lack of control and transparency. No one knows where these crops are, no one assesses the damage they cause and no one accepts any responsibilities.

Many European countries have forbidden the cultivation of transgenic maize: France, Austria, Luxembourg, Greece, Hungary… and just a few days ago, Germany. These countries have based their ban of this transgenic maize on scientific evidence regarding negative impacts in the environment, lack of knowledge regarding impacts on human and animal health, and the certainty that protecting organic and conventional farming from transgenic contamination is impossible.

The Aragon region of Spain knows a lot about transgenic contamination, this being the region in Europe where most transgenic crops have been cultivated: more than 30.000 hectares of genetically modified maize contaminate our fields and our food and endanger sustainable farming models such as organic farming.

Numerous cases of transgenic contamination are endangering organic farming in Aragon and the rest of Spain… Navarre, Catalonia, Extremadura… Farmers who have opted for environmentally responsible agriculture to produce quality and healthy food see how all their efforts and hopes are lost due to the greed of a handful of multinational companies with the complicity of the Spanish and regional governments.

As consumers we also have no means to defend ourselves against the introduction of transgenic elements in our food, something that is taking place against our wishes and in most cases with absolutely no means to prevent it.

Transgenic crops were introduced more than 12 years ago with the promise of solving the problem of hunger and poverty, of producing more food which would be healthier, cheaper and more nutritious and of solving the problems facing farmers, amongst other things. These promises not been fulfilled and have been proved to be false.

So we see how successive governments have authorized and still authorize the deliberation release of new life forms in our fields and our plates despite the fact that:

  • negative impacts of transgenic varieties authorized for human food have been identified;

  • the use of agrochemicals has multiplied with transgenic crops;

  • transgenic crops do not give higher yields;

  • the negative impacts of transgenic crops are well documented;

  • transgenic crops have not improved food quality, in fact they have only generated greater uncertainty;

  • transgenic crops are causing the deterioration and loss of farm biodiversity, favouring the privatisation and control of seeds by a few companies and threatening crop diversity, peasant farming and the future of world farming;

  • the introduction of transgenic crops is not solving the problem of hunger or poverty, but rather is aggravating existing problems, undermining food sovereignty in the South;

  • transgenic farming places world food in the hands of a few multinational companies, the only interest group that really benefits from transgenic agriculture.

In our campaign against transgenic crops we are not just talking about farming and food, but also about a vibrant rural world, about a decent life for farmers, about respect for the environment, about who controls the world’s food and about who causes and benefits from the world food crisis. Today we are looking at the situation in Spain, but today we also express our solidarity with all those peoples around the world whose farming and food in being destroyed by transgenic crops.

Today people from all over the Spain have met in Zaragoza to express our disillusion, our weariness and our wrath at having seen different Spanish governments and administrations let multinational companies experiment with people and the environment.

We have had enough. We want 100% GM-free farming and food. We have campaigned during years and during this month of April hundreds of local actions and meetings have been organized to demand that the Spanish Government and the Regional Governments in Spain change their policy regards transgenic farming and food.

We are not going to stop. We will continue our campaign until the Government adopts a policy that truly favours such sustainable farming that provides jobs in rural areas, produces quality and healthy food and guaranties our food sovereignty and that of all people in this world.

We demand, as an important step forward, that the Spanish Minister for the Environment and Rural and Marine Areas and the Socialist Government immediately forbid both the cultivation of transgenic maize and any open field experiments with GMOs in Spain. We will not relinquish this demand.