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Urgent write today to say NO to proposed EU seed Law

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Today, 28th April, is the deadline for saying NO to proposed EU Seed Law

However, Please write anyway if you see this before the 6th May 3013 when the vote is to take place.

Here is a template letter that you can copy and paste if you like:

Please pass it to anyone else who would send it.

Subject Line: proposal of DG SANCO on 6th of
May.

Email it to: Catherine.ASHTON@ec.europa.eu In the UK only, read below to find your own EU representative if you are in other European country.

Dear Catherine,

I am highly alarmed and concerned at the proposal of DG SANCO on 6th of
May. to ban all traditional vegetable varieties unless registered and licensed!

I urge you to vote NO.

This law threatens biodiversity and the right of farmers to save and exchange seed.
This is extremely detrimental to the eco-system and to the health and financial well being of the people of Europe. This law will destroy the cultural heritage of the countries of Europe and destroy the freedom held for 11.000 years for people to use the seeds that are most beneficial to their environment.

Please vote NO

Thank you for taking the time to understand the importance of upholding the freedom to use the seeds that we have always used.

Yours sincerely,

(SIGN HERE)

Or write your own letter.

Each country of the EU has one commissioner in Brussels. This is the link to find your EU representative if living in any european country other than the UK.

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/index_en.htm

Urgent Call For Action – New EU Seed Law
to ban all traditional vegetable varieties unless registered and licenced!
If you only have 1 minute to read this and act

It seems that the Commission will now adopt the final proposal for the Seed Law on May 6th. It is the worst proposal of all we have seen and urgent action is needed.To be adopted, it will need 14 Commissioners to say ?yes?.This is why I urge you to write to ?your? Commissioner in the coming days.For the UK this is Catherine Ashton-: Catherine.ASHTON@ec.europa.eu. Say this law threatens biodiversity and the right of farmers to save and exchange seed and that you urge her to vote “no”.

More information:

There is urgent action needed against the upcoming EU seed marketing
law. The new regulation will de facto ban old and rare varieties and
farmers varieties and stop the exchange and selling of traditional
seeds.

DG SANCO (the Directorate General of the EU for Sanitary and
Consumer affairs) has been working on a proposal for a new regulation
for years, driven by lobbying of the globalised agricultural seed
industry .The seed industry is pushing the legislation hard, they’ve
spent a lot of money on it.

However, two other EU directorates, DG AGRI
(agricultural affairs) and DG ENVI (environmental affairs) both oppose
the proposal because it is so bad for agriculture and biodiversity! So
DG SANCO is pushing ahead with the new law anyways by putting it
directly to the Commission this week.

There is only a little chance to get a majority of commissioners to vote against the current proposal, but we still should try.

Each country of the EU has one commissioner in Brussels, so
we need 14 votes against the proposal. The commissioners of DG AGRI and
DG ENVI should vote against, so we need 12 more.

Please write to at least the commissioner of your country
and convince him/her to vote “NO” on the proposal of DG SANCO on 6th of
May.

Try to make a link from his/her department to the seed
issue, and try to make clear to him/her that the proposal for a new EU
seed legislation will affect the cultural and biodiversity heritage of
your country and the freedom of farmers to use the seeds and the
varieties they want to.

SAY NO TO PROHIBITION OF SEEDS OF DIVERSITY!
By forcing registration of all varieties of all crop
species , the new law will prohibit old, rare and traditional
public-domain farm varieties. This will guarantee huge profits for the
seed industry but will be a terrible loss to the people of Europe as our
agricultural heritage is outlawed overnight!

Please write to your commissioner in Brussels no later than
the 28th. He/she has to make a statement on the proposal from 24th of
April on, the sooner, the better. On the 6th of May, we must obtain at
least 14 objections, otherwise this proposal will become the official
proposal.

For background, here are the objections of the european seed-soverignty movement to this stupid new law:

http://saatgutpolitik.arche-noah.at/files/openletter_lettreouverte_offenerbrief.pdf

HOW TO OBJECT? EASY – JUST EMAIL ONE OF THE COMMSSIONERS
You can find the members of the EU Commission listed here http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/index_en.htm
Choose one or more and email them! Each commissioners email will be firstname.lastname@ec.europa.eu
[For UK is Catherine Ashton: Catherine.ASHTON@ec.europa.eu.]

Please ask all or any of them to vote against the new Seed Law when it comes before them on May 6th.

Your email can be very simple. Keep it very short and very polite for most effect. Remember these people are busy running the EU and have not been involved in drafting the law – the situation is not their fault – they just get to vote on it when it is laid before them.

If you have more time and want to explore the issues

MORE INFORMATION
What exactly does this law say that is so bad?
The last draft that we saw says that no seed can be sold or
even given for free to anyone anywhere in the EU unless it is
registered on the EU Plant List as an ‘approved’ variety.

Why is this bad?
In order to be registered, each variety must be tested to
see if it meets various criteria. These critera have been designed
around modern hybrid varieties suitable for industrial agriculture, and
in general only industrial hybrid seed will pass the tests. Many of the
valuable old varieties currently in use by millions of home gardeners
and small farmers will be unregisterable, and therefore outlawed.

Worse, it costs money (lots) to apply for listing and
testing, and then an annual fee must be paid every year, forever, to
keep the variety on the list. If the annual fee is ever not paid, that
vegetable variety is no longer legal.

There are two issues with this: Firstly , because the cost
is high (certainly thousands of euros for each variety), it is only
affordable to register varieties that will sell in large quantities to
industrial farmers. So the vegetables suitable for small-scale home
garden and market-farmers will be illegal, and die out. Then when we
need these varieties in the future – when we have to grow food again
without limitless oil and fertilisers – we will not have them and will
be unable to feed ourselves.

Secondly, this is privatisation and appropriation of our
public-domain vegetable heritage. We, the people, already own these
varieties – the old varieties grown by the majority of gardeners are
the result of 11,000 years of selection and breeding by our ancestors,
with parents passing on precious seed to their children, generations
after generation. Their status is well-known and accepted, for example,
they cannot be patented by the seed companies as they are in the public
domain. So we should not have to suddenly pay an annual fee to the EU in
order to carry on growing and eating them!

But the EU have just released a statement saying it
is ok, there will be a way to register ‘old varieties’ cheaply. Why are
we worried?

This tiny concession is a smokescreen. Worried by the
public reaction to the law, the last draft we saw offered a once-off,
limited-time relaxation, just for a short period when the new laws come
in, that any old varieties already commonly on sale can be listed more cheaply and easily.

For some varieties, yes, this will help slightly, though we will still have to pay an annual fee to keep the varieties registered.
But it is still outrageous – most old traditional varieties are not on
sale: in our seedbank alone there are over 1200 old varieties we have
yet to grow out and release to the public. These will all be outlawed
overnight. Likewise all family heirlooms – your own special bean you got
from your grandmother? Now it will be illegal to give that seed to your
daughter to grow when you give up gardening.
But the EU press office have just released another statement saying we all misunderstand and this only applies to farmers!

We have been studying the draft law for almost 2
years now, with the aid of legal experts who challenged the last seed
laws in the European Court of Justice. In every case, in the ‘executive
summary’ at the start of the law, there have been vaguely reassuring
promises that it will only apply to farmers, there will be concession
for old seed etc. But every time, right from the start, the actual
legal articles of the document itself, the bits that will become written
into EU law completely contradict this.

It simply will not work the way the PR people are claiming.
They are assuming that most politicians and journalists will only read
the summary. But that does not become the law. It is the articles that
will become the law, and they do not make anywhere near the same
allowances. Those of us who have studied the draft from start to end –
all 108 pages of it – agree that it does not make the concessions they
are claiming.

Keep writing and tell your friends.
We have heard that due to the volume of people writing
about this, last minute changes are being considered. As soon as the
latest version is leaked (we hope to get a copy very soon 🙂 and we’ve
had a chance to go though it, we will update this page with more
information.

In the meantime, spread the word – we must stop this absurd law.
If you want to understand the background to the problems
with the law, or in more detail, then an argument prepared by Arche Noah
and sent to the EU is a good quick technical summary:
Arche Noah summary
EVEN MORE INFORMATION (THAN YOU COULD POSSIBLY WANT)

The law itself is here -http://www.seed-sovereignty.org/PDF/EU_Comm_Draft_on_plant_reprodutive_material.pdf if you want to read through it.

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