Sunday, 24 August 2008

GM's, Phil Woolas and the elephant in the room.

GM proponents like to label those who oppose GM technology as ‘Luddites’ or ‘unscientific’. Presumably they imagine that by using these labels on their critics, they confer more gravitas to themselves and their erroneous claims for these agricultural crops. Prince Charles’ recent criticism of GM’s, triggered some bizarre and irrational responses. Because the science is powered by money, many politicians turn a blind eye to the glaringly obvious drawbacks of GM’s. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Phil Woolas, the English environment minister, accused Prince Charles of ignoring the needs of the worlds poorest countries by attacking GM crops, and insisted the government would go ahead with trials unless scientific evidence showed they were harmful. He challenged Prince Charles… “If it has been a disaster then please provide the evidence.” Infact Woolas is stubbornly ignoring independent research, and the actual experience of farmers from across the world.
Vandana Shiva, a physicist and campaigner against privatisation of the world’s croplands, immediately demolishes the cynical argument that the needs of the world’s poorest countries are being ignored by anti GM campaigners.(
In challenging Prince Charles to produce proof of potential disaster, Phil Woolas has reversed the protocol for scientists to produce research to prove that a product is safe.Woolas is condoning the corporate colonisation of areas of British land(within barbed wire and cctv surveillance) to conduct trials of crops which have already been proved to be damaging to human health, wildlife and the environment.

Clare Oxborrow, Friends of the Earth, points to the fact that governments are evading the conclusions of the IAASTD Report. “The UN International Assesment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, written by 400 scientists and backed by 60 governments, found no conclusive evidence that GM crops increase yields. In fact, the scientists were so unconvinced about the role of GM crops in meeting future food needs that the pro-GM US government refused to endorse the report, and the biotechnology industry pulled out of the process, despite having provided substantial funding at the outset.
The report stated that yield gains achieved through industrialised farming have come at an unacceptable environmental and social cost. Prince Charles has identified that GM crops will exacerbate these problems. It is now time for governments to act on the IAASTD’s findings and work for a radical shift towards local sustainable solutions for communities across the world, by combining latest research with traditional knowledge.”

Finally, re Woolas’s attack on Prince Charles, Robin Maynard of the Soil Association pointed out that the Prince of Wales ..”did not say that the problems emanating from overreliance on intensive farming methods during the Green Revolution in Punjab or exacerbating soil salinity in Australia stemmed from GM crops, but that these represented the latest manifestation of industrial agriculture’s overreliance on technological inputs to overwhelm natural resource limits, rather than following sustainable techniques which seek to work in balance with those limits.”

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