Herbicide Trials| 51mins
Director: Neal Livingston | Producer: Kent Martin
Focus Years: 1984 | Country: Canada
In 1983, fifteen Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, landowners went to court to stop the spraying of herbicides by the local subsidiary of a Swedish multinational on forests adjacent to their properties. They found that the testimony of scientists and the support of public opinion, both here and abroad, were not enough to win their case. The film shows their ordeal and the landmark Sydney trial. Concerns raised included potential conflict-of-interest situations where a government must protect citizens' health while supporting certain kinds of industry; the relative value of the political and judicial processes in mediating social problems; and the need for a public forum for debating environmental issues. The film contains outstanding footage from chemical-industry films of the 1950s and recent material about Vietnam veterans affected by Agent Orange.