Genetic Engineering, genetically modified organisms, genetic modification, GMO – call it what you will – “has been with us now for 40 years – ever since the early 1970s when Paul Berg in California first transferred DNA between bacteria,” writes Ruth at The Campaign For Real Farming Website. She continues “The first ‘GM’ (genetically manipulated) plants were with us by the 1980s and GM crops now are very big business — notably including maize (corn)*, soya (soy) and rapeseed (canola). To many, including an army of scientists, economists, policy-makers and presumably well-meaning journalists, they seem essential. The former (British) Government Chief Scientist Professor Sir David King summarized the mood way back in 2007 when he told the Royal Society that ‘By 2050 we will need to feed over 9 billion people on the planet’ – and added: ‘We will, I believe, only do this with the assistance of a third green revolution, and GM technologies will be crucial in delivery of this’. Of late this thought has been echoed from on high ever more insistently.”
This article goes on to pose seven questions about GE or GMO technology that really beg to be asked and answered. I have listed them below. It’s worth a click over to the The Campaign For Real Farming Website to get in depth explanations for these questions.
1: After 30 years of intense effort and huge investment, can the GM advocates offer any examples of GM food crops that have brought unequivocal benefit to humanity or to the world at large? Read more.
2: Assuming that the advocates of GM food can demonstrate unequivocal benefits, can they also show that those benefits could not have been achieved – just as easily, at the same cost, in the same time, and without collateral damage — by traditional means? Read more.
3: Putting points 1 and 2 together, can the GM advocates demonstrate that the research on GM has been cost-effective? If the same amount of research effort and resource had been put into other approaches, could we not have achieved far more? Read more.
4: Can we really be sure that GM crops are safe — for our fellow creatures in the environment at large; or for consumers – whether livestock or people? Read more.
5: Taken all in all, do the advantages of GM really outweigh the perceived disadvantages and the conceivable risks? Read more.
6: Can we trust the GM advocates? Can we trust scientists who depend on commercial sponsorship? Read more.
7: What is the real motive behind GM? Read more.
*My additions are in parenthesis