UK farming minister Lord Rooker last night hit out at anti-GM protesters, claiming they were on a "messianic mission" not based on science and that the public were being "taken for a ride" by campaigners who behaved as if opposition to the technology was a "religion".Amid mounting frustration at the emotive debate being hijacked by talk of "Frankenstein foods", the minister warned Britain was at risk of losing its position as a world leader in bio-technology because of ignorant public opposition to the development of genetically modified food.He said public attitudes to scientific developments - including GM - had to change or the experiments would simply be carried out overseas, adding: "I think we haven't taken it seriously." He said the public would accept GM technology in medicines for themselves and loved ones, but went on: "It is a difficult issue with food."If the ignorance prevails, we don't allow experiments to take place because of the fear you might find a result you don't want. We just put up with people trashing the crops and magistrates let them off. Frankly, we're just being taken for a ride."And in a stark warning to extremist protesters, he said: "One thing I will not accept is the arguments and the slogans when there isn't any evidence. They are on a messianic mission. It is almost a religion where there isn't any science base to it."Andrew Opie, food policy director of the British Retail Consortium, said: "We don't sell it because nobody wants it. There isn't a demand for GM crops, and we have perfectly good non-GM food in this country."
Paul Temple, vice-president of the NFU, said: "Europe is not engaging in the debate. And it's for political reasons in Europe. It will cause huge problems in the supply chain in future, and we should be talking about it now. We are driving investment in this technology to North America, South America, India and China. Plant genetics is absolutely vital for the future of agriculture."
Thanks to AgBioView for this article.
My hope is that we do not allow our country to be colonised by our colonial masters and blindly follow their positions, which most of the time is shaped by Green NGOs. Let us think for ourselves, what is important for the future of the nation, our welfare, and long-term priorities.
By Mahaletchumy Arujanan