Saturday, 1 March 2008

Pro-GM PM.

Public demand for free range eggs and chickens has soared in the UK since the tv series featuring two chefs who highlighted the cruelty involved in raising battery hens. The demand has been so great that UK producers have run out of supply and supermarkets have resorted to sourcing from France. What has all this to do with GM’s?.... despite ever increasing demand for organic and free range produce, these foods which the public prefer are being bullied out of the market by the biotech industries’ unethical practices.

GM’s are making inroads by stealth, one route being by contamination of non-GM crops. Greenpeace said (on 28/2/2008) that it recorded 39 instances (in 24 countries) of genetically modified crops spreading improperly in 2007. Doreen Stabinsky, a US geneticist working on Greenpeace’s anti-GMO campaign said the report dealt with several types of contamination, including cases of crops that have not yet been approved for release escaping into the wild. More commonly crops approved for use in one place had spread elsewhere. Most of the contamination involved such staple crops as rice and maize, but also soy, cotton, canola, papaya and fish.
Considering that contamination scandals are not good publicity for GM’s exports or reputation, Greenpeace wonders why biotech companies let it happen? They observe that contamination allows biotech companies to argue that their crops should not be regulated as they are already in the food chain.

Meanwhile the UK government is paving the way for future GM trials (somewhere near to Cambridge). They are keeping the locations secret in case anyone may try to rip up the crops. Julian Little of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council said “We have to find a way of reducing the amount of damage you get when you do a field trial in the UK,that’s absolutely imperative.” This statement is of breathtaking audacity, considering the damage they do to farmers’ livelihoods, for which they provide no compensation.

The Independent featured John Turner (28/10/07)….’A succession of trials near his 250 acre farm…..south Lincolnshire, between 2000 and 2002 forced him to stop growing certain crops-suffering heavy financial losses as a result. John Turner said “It was a nightmare and we just felt absolutely powerless to do anything over it at all……without any real protection against contamination, we were forced to stop growing crops like maize that could be vulnerable to cross pollination. It wasn’t easy but it was preferable to the damage that could have been done if our crops were no longer GM free”. Mr Turner believes the facts are being twisted to fit a commercial agenda…”There is no sound science behind the push for GM crops. It’s all about money and control of not only the seeds but also food production from one end to the other. The more I find out about it the less I understand why there has been this impetus to force this technology on farming. It has been hugely overhyped by those trying to promote it. There are plenty of ways of improving crops that don’t involve swapping genes around…..”

So why haven’t the government introduced legislation to hold biotech companies to account financially for contaminating non-GM crops?

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