INDIA: Bt cotton consumption not cause animal death: AICBA

HYDERABAD: An organisation comprising members of companies engaged in agriculture biotechnology, the All-India Crop Biotechnology Association (AICBA) asserted that the deaths of sheep, goat and cattle were not related to consumption of Bt cotton leaves and plants, Mr R.K. Sinha, Executive Director of AICBA said.

Mr R.K. Sinha along with Mr Raj Ketkar, Joint Managing Director of Mahyco Monsanto Biotech while addressing a press conference pointed out that limited studies in goats and rats fed with Bt cotton leftovers indicated no untoward clinical effects.

Both were quoting observations from a report by the Centre for Animal Disease Research and Diagnosis of IVRI (Indian Veterinary Research Institute) to the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC).

Further, added that none of the reports or analyses conclude that Bt toxin was responsible for sheep mortality in Adilabad and Warangal districts of Andhra Pradesh. The GEAC reviewed reports published in international journals and views expressed by the Punjab State Agriculture University (Ludhiana).

However, the compounds such as nitrates and nitrites found in the viscera of sheep were in no way connected to Bt cotton; whereas on pricing of Bt cottonseed they concluded that there should be no control on pricing.

The Andhra Pradesh Government put a bar, mandating the seed companies to sell Bt-II too at Rs 750, while Bt-I is sold at Rs 750 a packet, Bt-II is distributed at Rs 925.

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Added: July 10, 2007 Source: Agencies
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