France, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands Rebel Against Relicensing of Monsanto's Glyphosate
A number of European Union member countries are rebelling against the European Commission's plans to approve the relicensing of glyphosate.
.@WHO says #glyphosate probably causes cancer, Monsanto says it's safe. Whom will the EU trust? #YesYouCanBan https://t.co/vkSzWRmdRE— Greenpeace (@Greenpeace)1457361547.0
The Guardian reported that experts from the EU’s 28 member states are scheduled to vote on relicensing glyphosate on Monday and Tuesday in Brussels, however the vote may be postponed due to reservations that several EU countries have over glyphosate's health risks.
Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's top-selling weedkiller Roundup, was classified by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a "possible carcinogen" last March, whereas the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) put out their own report in November, concluding that that glyphosate is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.”
France, The Netherlands, Sweden and Italy have raised concerns about the herbicide and have pushed against relicensing.
French Minister of Ecology Ségolène Royal urges for an outright ban on glyphosate herbicides across the EU, basing the decision over the IARC's findings.
Similarly, The Guardian quoted Swedish environment minister Åsa Romson saying, “We won’t take risks with glyphosate and we don’t think that the analysis done so far is good enough. We will propose that no decision is taken until further analysis has been done and the EFSA scientists have been more transparent about their considerations.”
Bad news for #Monsanto as #Italy joins other EU countries opposing #glyphosate licensing renewal https://t.co/7OKuNxUPOI— Global Justice Now (@Global Justice Now)1457348076.0
"We are raising concerns because our citizens are raising concerns," Romson added. "They want to feel safe and secure with food and production in our society.”
The Netherlands also called for a postponement of the EU-wide decision with Marcel van Beusekom, a spokesman for the Netherlands agriculture ministry, commenting, “If there is no possibility to postpone the vote, then we will vote against the proposal.”
Commission officials told The Guardian that a vote would not go ahead if support for relicensing continued to erode.
“If we see that many states want to think it over or there is a growing [opposition], if there is not a qualified majority, I doubt that it will be put to a vote,” one official said. “The ball is in the member states’ court.”
Photos from today's action on #glyphosate Background: https://t.co/vE6LJ33Itj https://t.co/e1cpyjh5o4— CEO (@CEO)1457352209.0
Licensing for glyphosate ends in June and the European Commission is proposing to grant the herbicide a new 15-year lease.
This move by France and their EU partners is a major blow to Monsanto and other large pesticide companies "which rely on glyphosate-based herbicides for a large percentage of their global profits," Sustainable Pulse wrote.
Indeed, as EcoWatch reported last month, glyphosate is now the “most widely applied pesticide worldwide.” The paper, Trends in glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globally, revealed that since 1974, when Roundup was first commercially sold, more than 1.6 billion kilograms (or 3.5 billion pounds) of glyphosate has been used in the U.S., making up 19 percent of the 8.6 billion kilograms (or 18.9 billion pounds) of glyphosate used around the world.
2.6 Billion Pounds of Monsanto’s Glyphosate Sprayed on U.S. Farmland in Past Two Decades http://t.co/VPEQFx6QTF @ewg http://t.co/OmHwIFWmnJ— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1444660363.0
The substance is so widely used that it is commonly found in British bread, German beer and the urine of people in 18 countries across Europe, The Guardian said, adding that the chemical is banned or restricted in large parts of Europe because of alleged links to health problems such as birth defects, kidney failure, celiac disease, colitis and autism.
The contradictory conclusions from THE IARC and EFSA regarding the potential carcinogenicity of glyphosate spurred 96 prominent scientists from 25 countries to write a letter in strong opposition to the EFSA report.
In addition, nearly 1.5 million people petitioning the EU’s health commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, for a ban on the substance, Sustainable Pulse reported.
According to The Guardian, "an EFSA panel based its recommendation that glyphosate was safe enough for a new lease of life on six industry-funded studies that have not been fully published."
This video from the Corporate Europe Observatory, a non-profit corporate lobbying research group, alleges that Big Food corporations and biotech companies, including Monsanto, might have intimate ties with EFSA:
Environmental group Greenpeace has spoken out against the potential relicensing of glyphosate in Europe.
“EU governments seem more concerned about maintaining today’s destructive agricultural practices than protecting the health of people and the environment," Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg said in a statement. "For a long time, glyphosate was thought to be safe. Now more and more scientific evidence tells us that it's a serious threat to our health and the environment. Ignoring this evidence for another 15 years will cost us dearly. Europe needs an exit strategy from chemical pesticides and a move towards ecological farming."
Global food advocacy nonprofit Slow Food is also demanding European governments reject the re-approval of glyphosate.
“There’s no room for compromise,” Carlo Petrini, Slow Food International president, said in a statement. “We have to decide whether the future of food is to be in the hands of the chemical industry with its promises to feed the planet—which, judging from the hundreds of thousands of tons of glyphosate sold every year, is a guise for evident economic interests—or of a policy that has the health of consumers and environmental welfare at heart.”
Monsanto is facing slumping profits and a slew of lawsuits alleging that exposure to glyphosate causes cancer. The St. Louis-based biotech giant maintains the safety of their flagship product and the chemical, and has demanded the World Health Organization retract their report.
Coffee Farmers Sue #Monsanto for Hiding Cancer-Causing Impact of #Glyphosate https://t.co/f5ai6JJ8ZW @nongmoreport https://t.co/H4ExHXB0NY— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1455049517.0
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By Daisy Simmons
1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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