Annual Stockholders ' Meeting on April 26, 2013
We hereby notify you that we will oppose the proposals of the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board as regards Items 2 and 3 of the Agenda, and will induce the other stockholders to vote in favor of the following countermotions.
Countermotion to Item 3: The actions of the members of the Supervisory Board are not ratified
Reason: The Supervisory Board has inadequately performed its supervising function and its actions should therefore not be ratified. For example, the Supervisory Board has supported the introduction of genetically modified seeds although they are connected with immense ecological problems.
In 2003, the BAYER Group applied for the first time for an EU import license for genetically modified rice. The variety Liberty Link RICE 62 is tolerant against the herbicide Glufosinat, which is also produced by BAYER.
Until now, Liberty Link rice has never been cultivated commercially anywhere in the world. The targeted EU license and the European export market are intended to serve as a "door opener" in Asian and South American countries for local cultivation licenses.
In the votes taken so far, the majority of EU countries have expressed concerns about licensing. Ten years after submission of the application, approval has still not been granted. The licensing of Liberty Link rice should be refused in particular against the background of the health hazards emanating from Glufosinat. The active ingredient is classified as toxic to reproduction, and can cause deformities in fetuses. Glufosinat belongs to the group of the 22 active ingredients that, according to the EU pesticides legislation, should not have their license renewed.
Whereas BAYER has voluntarily dispensed with the licensing of the herbicide Liberty (active ingredient Glufosinat) in Germany, the company announced in February 2013 that it would again increase the production of Glufosinat for export. It is irresponsible to promote a cultivation technology abroad connected with the use of a highly toxic pesticide that is banned in Germany. The fate of the agricultural workers in Latin America or Asia is apparently of no concern to the company.
The ecological risks are also immense: it is known that the cultivation of genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant plants leads to the increased use of pesticides. The suppression of locally adapted varieties also leads to a reduction in the gene pool, which can, in the long term, result in problems fighting rice diseases.
In the event of large-area cultivation of Liberty Link rice, contamination of traditional varieties would be inevitable. Even the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) describes the risk of outcrossing as high (source: EFSA Journal, (2007) 588, 1-25). Because there is no intention of cultivating it in Europe, however, the risk was not included in the EFSA evaluation. The risks to “diversity of the species and the health of farmers were therefore not considered in the EFSA report.
How justified the concerns about approval of genetically modified rice really are is illustrated by the example of contamination of the American rice harvest with the variety LL RICE 601, which is also tolerant towards Glufosinat. The long-grain variety found its way onto the market in 2006, although no license had been issued for it. The damage to the trade and farmers amounted to over 1 billion US dollars. Only after a lengthy legal dispute did BAYER declare its willingness to pay damages amounting to around 750,000 million dollars.
The introduction of herbicide-tolerant seeds is the wrong approach. Within a short time, it leads to the formation of resistant wild weeds that have to be combated with more and more pesticides. There is no improvement in harvests.
Despite the high risks for the environment, farmers and consumers, BAYER, ten years after submitting the original application, is determined to gain a license for Liberty Link rice. The actions of the members of the Supervisory Board should therefore not be ratified.