Three views on Owen Paterson’s advocacy for GM crops: the MP, the farmer and – implicitly – the bishop

7 Aug

 The Conservative MP, who questions his suitability  

In July, the Telegraph reported that MP Zac Goldsmith thinks that Owen Paterson the Environment Secretary is citing “nonsense” to argue for genetically modified crops and acting as a mouthpiece for the GM industry.

Mr Paterson argued last month that GM crops would improve human health and the environment. He also claimed that had the deployment of “golden rice” – a strain of the food that boosts vitamin A levels and reduces blindness in developing countries – not been thwarted, seven million lives could have been saved.

Mr Goldsmith told The Independent: “Any half-way decent GM enthusiast with a scientific background would have blushed during much of the speech Owen Paterson made. You have to wonder about the Government’s gung-ho attitude to GM – you can’t stuff pollen back into a tin.”

He raised questions over Mr Paterson’s suitability for the job of Environment Secretary, suggesting he failed to understand the issue of GM: “When designing policy that’s a dangerous thing, and I’m concerned big business is framing the debate for the Government.”

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The farmer, who considers that Owen Paterson is wrong to back GM crops

With a clarity reminiscent of Dr Antoniou’s ‘Myths and Truths’, Peter Lundgren’s website lists the unfulfilled promises made about the technology and the advances made by conventional plant breeders ending:

“The uncomfortable truth is that GM is failing on its promise whilst enhanced conventional breeding is delivering for farmers and wider society”.

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The Bishop of Norwich, who implicitly answers the frequently repeated assertion that GM crops will feed the world

The Rt Revd Graham James briefly summed up the heart of the matter on Radio 4 recently, selecting as the most important question:

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“How will we order the world’s already abundant food supply”.

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