Canada Grants New Controversial Terminator Patent To US Company: Patent Allowed on "Suicide Seeds"

October 25, 2005

Ottawa, October 25, 2005 – Today Greenpeace and the Ban Terminator Campaign revealed that new patents have been granted in both Canada and Europe for a Terminator technology owned jointly by US seed corporation Delta & Pine Land and the United States Department of Agriculture. The patents were granted on October 11 and 5 respectively. The move confirms the greatest fears of farmers’, Indigenous peoples groups and social movements across the world
that Terminator technology is once again being pushed towards commercialization.

Terminator seeds are genetically engineered to be sterile after first harvest so farmers cannot use the seed in the next season. It would force farmers to buy seed every year and concentrate even more power in the hands of major biotechnology and seed corporations. Intensive global uproar has kept the technology from being field-tested or commercialized but companies
are now pushing for acceptance.

“These new patents confirm that corporations are once again actively pursuing Terminator seeds and an international ban on Terminator is urgently needed,” said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the new global Ban Terminator Campaign.

New fears that governments and corporations are working together to push Terminator were first confirmed in February 2005 when the Canadian government shocked the world by trying to overturn the international de facto moratorium on Terminator that exists at the United Nations under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Uproar from Canadian and international groups kept the moratorium alive. To address this crisis, the National Farmers Union and other Canadian-based groups including ETC Group, Inter Pares and USC Canada initiated a global Ban Terminator Campaign (www.banterminator.org).

“The Canadian government must immediately stop promoting corporate Terminator seeds and protect the rights of farmers by banning the technology,” said Terry Boehm, Vice President of the National Farmers Union, “Terminator is a great threat to farmers in developed and developing countries. The Canadian government should be ashamed to be associated with this technology. Terminator is an attempt to achieve biologically what the
government has been unable to do legislatively.”

“Corporate control of seeds is the only goal of Terminator. The corporate attempt to greenwash Terminator by saying it can help prevent genetic contamination is false as the technology itself is not 100% reliable and it can nevertheless contaminate the environment and threaten biodiversity’. This is an outrageous strategy to commercialize a dangerous, anti-farmer and non-ecological technology, ” said Eric Darier, Greenpeace Canada campaigner, “Patents on Terminator can and must be denied for the public good.”

The Ban Terminator Campaign is urging governments around the world to establish national bans on Terminator and to ban Terminator at the major meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity March 20-31 2006 in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil.

For more information: Terry Boehm, Vice President, National Farmers Union, Saskatchewan 306 255 2880; Eric Darier, Greenpeace Canada Campaigner, Montreal 514 933 0021 x15 Cell: 514 605 6497; Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator, Ban Terminator Campaign, Ottawa 613 241 2267 Cell: 613 222 6214