Saturday, 19 January 2008

French farmer on hunger strike over GM crops

Much of the opposition to GM crops is based on the potential harm they pose to humans and wildlife, and the possibility of uncontrollable spread of modified genes into non GM plants and crops.

In addition to the risks posed to humans and the environment, Jose Bove expresses a further concern over GM's. His ethical opposition is perhaps best summed up in his slogan "the world is not merchandise" and " the earth is not for sale".

Many French people regret the effects of globalisation on its rural traditions and farming practice. Bove and his supporters talk about "preservation". He describes how small farmers in France preserve nature through their inherited knowledge and expertise in agriculture. These skills are inseperable from the cultural and social aspects of rural life, from land and animal husbandry to food production,(wine, cheese, meats, pate, etc.)

When Bove refers to "preservation" he is not speaking in a nostalgic or luddite way,(as UK Professor David King likes to characterise the anti-GM campaigners).

From 1998 Bove represented small family farmers as being uniquely qualified to speak about food quality and to fulfil their duty to protect and develop French seeds.

The idea of "preservation" that Bove portrays is a practical, robust, and economic concept. One that is both productive and environmentally sustainable, while continuing to care for cultural and social traditions.

Bove challenges the multinationals for imposing an exploitative international economy. By colonizing and controlling the whole of the food chain, multinationals impose homogeneity on agricultural production, and food production. Nations which are colonised in this way by corporates experience the destruction of their rural communities, livlihoods of farmers, environmental degradation, and also detrimental effects on the health of their people.

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