GMO animal feed imported into the UK from North and South American markets is a large cause for concern. GeneWatch UK called on supermarkets across Great Britain this past week to urge them to wake up to the harm that Monsanto’s RoundUp ready crops are causing to the environment and to Monarch butterfly habitats at large.
The problem revolving around questionable GM crops and their effects on our ecosystem is so exacerbated in the U.S. that a petition was just filed to give the butterfly species ‘endangered species protection.’ UK pollinators could face similar damage if supermarkets keep selling foods that were grown on GM feed.
Monarch butterfly populations have declined by almost 90% in the U.S., and according to Dr Helen Wallace, Director of GeneWatch UK, supermarkets should be selling GM-free-fed meat, milk, and eggs to help keep the problem from spreading to other parts of the world.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety, the Xerces Society, and renowned monarch scientist Dr. Lincoln Brower filed a legal petition very recently to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for monarch butterflies. With just 20 years of RoundUp use, the iconic orange and black butterflies may have lost more than 165 million acres of habitat – an area about the size of Texas – including nearly a third of their summer breeding grounds.
“They [supermarkets] must help to save the Monarch butterfly and protect other wildlife habitats from being destroyed by blanket spraying with RoundUp”.
RoundUp Ready GM crops are heavily imported to the UK for use in animal feed. Meat, milk, and eggs from animals fed with GM crops are currently not labeled, so consumers have no choice, unless they buy certified organic.
With the exception of Waitrose, major supermarket chains in the UK have fallen flat on commitments to phase out the use of GM animal feed in the last few years. Sainsbury maintains only one GM-free fed product line, while other supermarkets such as Tesco and Morrisons claim they cannot source GM-free feed.
This is simply false, since countries in near proximity to the UK, such as Sweden, do not use GM feed at all, and Germany and France require labeling.
Monarch’s dramatic decline is being increasingly connected to widespread planting of GM crops in the Midwest United States, where most monarchs are hatched. The vast majority of these crops are made to be resistant to Monsanto’s herbicide, RoundUp, which is blanket sprayed on numerous crops. This haphazard spraying of toxic chemicals have all but wiped out milkweed, the monarch caterpillar’s only food.
If UK grocer’s don’t take a stand, they can expect to see their customer bases decline in a grassroots stance against Monsanto.