May 11, 2000

Terminator on Trial

Nairobi Biodiversity Meeting Must Ban Terminator Or Precautionary Principle Will Become Post-Mortem Critics Warn

For additional information on Terminator on Trial download our PDF attachement Terminator Two Years Later: RAFI Update on Terminator/Traitor Technology

1999 saw at least seven new Terminator patents, and more than one field trial of genetic use restriction technologies (GURTs). Governments meeting at COP5 in Nairobi (15-26 May) must act decisively to ban Terminator and call for a moratorium on field testing and commercial sale of GURTs. 'This is the litmus test for the CBD s much-touted precautionary principle and the Biosafety Protocol negotiated last January,' Silvia Ribeiro of RAFI warns, 'If the Convention can't agree on an all-out ban of the Terminator as a blatant threat to biodiversity, then it can't be trusted and the Protocol shouldn't be ratified.'

Terminator Two Years Later: At the Fourth Conference of Parties (COP4) to the Biodiversity Convention held in Bratislava in May 1998, governments, civil society organizations (CSOs) and media were stunned to learn about a newly patented technology owned by the U.S. government and a U.S.-based cotton seed company for the genetic engineering of plants to produce sterile seeds. The technology, dubbed 'Terminator' by RAFI, is designed to maximize seed industry profits by forcing farmers to buy seed from the Gene Giants, rather than using seed from the previous year s harvest. Terminator has been widely condemned as a threat to biodiversity as well as food security because over 1.4 billion people primarily the South s poor farmers - depend on farm-saved seeds.


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