The study referred to in the letter, GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible?, can be downloaded in six different languages from this page on the GMWatch website, which also contains links to other related material.
*Direct link to full report in English
*Devastating video news report about effects of glyphosate spraying on GM soy in Argentina (with English subtitles).
Letter from Prof. Dr. Hartmut Vogtmann
First Vice President, Deutscher Naturschutzring (German League for Nature and the Environment)
to WWF International Gland
Avenue du Mont-Blanc CH-1196 Gland
9 February 2011
Call for immediate withdrawal of WWF from the RTRS
The results of the new study GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible? published in September 2010 by nine eminent scientists, most of them from South America, are alarming! Their key finding is: GM soy cultivation is neither sustainable nor responsible but just the opposite. It has lead to an enormous increase of glyphosate use, because of the spread of glyphosate-resistant superweeds. These have led to devastated farmland and forced farmers onto a chemical treadmill of using even more toxic herbicides in an attempt to control the weeds.
According to the research of Andres Carrasco, one of the authors and professor and director of the laboratory of molecular embryology at the University of Buenos Aires Medical School, Argentina, glyphosate causes malformations in frog and chicken embryos at doses far lower than those used in agriculture. Carrasco also noted in his study, that he was prompted to carry out his research by reports of dramatic rises in rates of human birth defects located in areas of Argentina where glyphosate is sprayed on crops.
Carrasco's study is just the latest in a long series, showing that glyphosate and Roundup have serious toxic effects on health. These effects have been found at levels far lower than those used in agriculture.
All these damages to the environment and human health are endorsed by the RTRS and WWF International as one of its founders. We are writing to you to urge WWF International to withdraw from the RTRS. Deutscher Naturschutzring (DNR), German League for Nature and Environment - cannot accept that WWF International protects a failed system of agriculture and secures the profits of companies like Monsanto and BP. At the RTRS it is WWF International that plays the key role. It wouldn't make any sense if biotech and oil companies assure each other that the GM soya they produce or use is sustainable. But if WWF international blesses GM soya as "sustainable" or "responsible" it protects narrow business interests and not people and the environment.
Please be aware that the evidence of the irresponsibility of GM soya production is so immense that sooner or later the reputation of WWF International as an environmental organisation will be affected and perhaps ruined on the long run. These activities of WWF International are in contradiction to the "Basler Kriterien", produced and published jointly by WWF Switzerland and COOP, in which a demand for production free of GMOS is explicitly expressed.
A similar problem is also located in the "better cotton initiative". WWF participates in this. This initiative understands itself as "technical neutral" and doesn't foreclose gene-modified cotton.
Study GM Soy Sustainable? Responsible?
We are looking forward to hearing from you soon.
With kind regards
Prof. Dr. Hartmut Vogtmann
1. Antoniou, M., Brack, P., Carrasco, A., Fagan, J., Habib, M., Kageyama, P., Leifert, C., Nodari, R., Pengue, W. 2010. GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible? GLS Gemeinschaftsbank and ARGE Gentechnik-frei. http://bit.ly/9D9J2k