21 August 2001
GM firms in ‘new opium war’

By FWi staff

BIOTECHNOLOGY firms are using coercion to ensure that farmers plant genetically modified seed, claims George Monbiot in The Guardian.

The controversial environmentalist says US farmers face legal action over claims that they deployed GM seed more widely than they claim.

To avoid the prospect of being sued, frightened farmers are planting only GM seed, says Mr Monbiot.

“The new opium wars are being waged in the fields of North America, where many farmers are beginning to shy away from engineered seed,” he claims.

“Like the opium forced upon the reluctant Chinese by British gunboats, once youve started using GM, youre stuck with it.”

He adds that governments are also helping force compliance. A vote by the Welsh Assembly that Wales should be GM-free was ignored by Westminster.

And EU environment commissioner Margot Wallstrom warned that the EU could be sued if it upheld its ban on GM food, says Mr Monbiot.

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