The government yesterday responded to a petition calling for a ban on any genetically modified seeds or animals in the territory.
The petition was presented to the legislative assembly on December 11, 2012.
“It is very likely that genetically modified crops, once planted, would cause irreversible harm to our natural ecosystems and sustainable farms; and genetically modified animals could cause unknown harm to the people eating the meat,” states the petition.
Resources Minister Brad Cathers responded on behalf of the government.
“In responding to the petition, it is important to first note that the federal government is responsible for the research, registration, and approval of genetically modified seed,” said Cathers.
However, the potential impacts of GMOs on neighbouring farms and the environment is partly within Yukon’s jurisdiction, he said.
The last time the issue came up, farmers were divided on the issue, said Cathers. Some thought that GMOs are harmful or potentially harmful, while others saw them as a way to potentially increase the amount of locally grown food.
“As a result, no additional action by government was taken at that time,” he said. “We believe the appropriate action at this time is for government to facilitate discussions involving groups representing Yukon farmers and the broader farming community to discuss this issue again.
“It is our hope that Yukon’s farming community will be able to come to a broadly shared consensus on whether current regulations are sufficient or whether additional measures pertaining to GMO crops are needed to ensure that the health of Yukon farms and the environment are protected.”