Last week, the heir to the British throne, HRH Prince Charles, spoke out about Genetically Manipulated crops and their many and varied impacts on food production.
Recognised as an opponent of industrialised agriculture, the Prince’s comments come at an opportune time, and will surely re-ignite debate in the GM arena as scientists plead for more sites to run tests on, while opponents continue the fight, even taking to destroying crops at one test site earlier this year in the UK.
The article appeared in London’s Daily Telegraph, after an exclusive interview with journalist Jeff Randall.
In the interview Prince Charles accused firms of
conducting a "gigantic experiment I think with nature and the whole of
humanity which has gone seriously wrong", and he goes on to say "What
we should be talking about is food security not food production – that
is what matters and that is what people will not understand.
if they think its somehow going to work because they are going to have
one form of clever genetic engineering after another then again count
me out, because that will be guaranteed to cause the biggest disaster
environmentally of all time."
Small farmers, in particular, would be the victims of "gigantic corporations" taking over the mass production of food.
"I think it’s heading for real disaster," the Prince said.
As you can imagine, the story has bought a raft of comments – two of which appear below, and yes they support my biased view.
studied plant genetics at the University of California at Berkeley with
many professors who also had their own biotech companies. Later I got a
masters in public health studying environmental health at Tulane
University. The science behind the GM scenes is fascinating and may I
say that plants are far more interesting than animals when studying
genetics. In the end though, I decided that nature is more efficient,
more diverse and knows what she’s doing 100 times better than we do. GM
not only jeopardizes the lives of farmers and the environment (which of
course will eventually affect all of us), but there is some evidence
that GM foods may be immediately harmful for human and animal health.
Check out this website, link.
I haven’t reviewed the literature myself, but my family who are
livestock breeders have heard anecdotal evidence of the damage GM may
do to animal reproductive health. The bottom line is, don’t mess with
been in the cattle business for nearly 100 years, here in west Texas.
We have had mixed results with GM corn feed and it’s dropped our birth
rate by double digits in some years. We’ve gone back to grass feeding
because the beef tastes better, sells easier, and we’re not always
fretting about the result of passing down GM to our customers, usually
without their knowledge. Most people here in the USA don’t even realize
that most of what we eat here comes from GM corn…either in feed or
Here in Australia, the debate
also still has a way to go, despite two State Governments lifting bans
to grow GM crops earlier this year. Consumer negativity is the largest
hurdle that GM proponents need to jump, and with labelling laws in this
country about to legislate for GM content to be included on food label
products, the debates could be raging for sometime yet.