GM debate 1 July-6 August, 1999

09 August 1999

GM debate — 1 July-6 August, 1999


GM debate — Readers have their say

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FAR too little is understood about the possible effects of eating GM foods. Furthermore, there has not yet been anywhere near enough research on
the possible effects on the environment of growing GM crops.

It is vital that we are certain beyond any doubt that both these areas are understood before we proceed.

  • Chrisse Hawkins, East Sussex

    I THINK that before anyone agrees with GM crops, more research needs
    to be done into the “after-effects”.

    “We do not inherit this land from our parents, we are borrowing it from our children.”

    I think consumers are becoming tired of what is or isnt good for you; lets do
    some hard and fast research in controlled conditions and get the facts out first.

  • No name and address supplied

    GM technology is bad science that we do not need. I do not believe it will
    deliver any of the benefits advertised for it.

    The adverse consequences are as yet unquantifiable, but have the potential to be catastrophic.

  • Kevin Beaumont, Bridge of Cally, Perthshire

    MONSANTO and other big companies have lost our confidence by rushing through this new generation of crops and proving they are only interested in making money at our expense.

  • David Whitaker, Lancaster

    I BELIEVE that GM crops is a very dangerous route to follow. It is in
    real danger of upsetting the natural balance of the countryside.

    We should be concentrating on how we can deliver excellent produce with the
    minimum of processing and chemical intervention. I am not completely pro-organic, but I think it has a lot to offer.

    GM crops are not necessary in todays markets. In some ways, I think its just a way for the scientists to think they justify their existence!

  • Allison Bisset, Culbokie, Ross-shire

    THERE will be benefits to all from GMs. The problem at the moment is that it
    only looks like benefits to the big multinationals such as Monsanto.

  • No name supplied

    I AM a student at Cirencester, currently studying in New Zealand. I have done more on GMOs here than in England, which seems wrong since it has only just become an issue here, unlike in England.

    GM crops will be vital for English farmers to compete with overseas competitors.

  • Stuart Mayhew

    I THINK the Government are being too pushy here when they havent
    fully researched the long-term risks which could lead to a genetic altering. Remember the BSE crisis.

  • No name and address supplied

    RESULTS of laboratory trials of GM crops have not been established and proven, and we do not know the knock-on effects to other species. I disagree with crossing the species barrier as this I see as unethical.

  • No name supplied

    CONSUMERS will decide what they want to eat, and not what farmers want
    to grow.

    Do we really need GM crops? Far more safety tests are needed- have we not learnt from BSE and OPs?

  • No name and address supplied

    THE GM debate is very interesting, but I personally feel that
    genetically modified crops should have much more safe and secure testing applied to them before they are released into the open commercial farming market.

  • David Quarrell

    IF we start to grow vast acreages of genetically modified crops and animals,
    where will the resistance be when the next virus comes along?

    There will be no knowledge of long term health problems to ourselves.Theyve occurred already in some products – why let it occur again.

    If nobody has GM products, nobody will have a competitive edge to force others. There are too many “cons” and not enough “pros”.

  • John Nicholson

    ALL crops have been genetically modified for centuries by random selection and, more recently, plant breeding. Now specific characteristics can be added for the benefit of all.

    Remember – we share 50% of our genes with the banana.

  • David Johnstone, Presteigne, Powys

    I FEEL that there has not been enough research done on GM crops and that the
    information available to the ordinary people is very inadequate.

    The implications of cross-pollination with native and cultivated vegetation has not been fully investigated and any information about such research is not easily available.

    We must tread very carefully as an already mistrustful public will be
    alienated even further from farmers. They already have a bad impression of us, and our public image must be improved – going for GM crops without proper information and research is not going to help.

  • Graham S McCutcheon, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire

    I AM currently working in Australia. The Aussies are handling food issues much better than the UK by linking consumers and farming issues together – it really works.

  • Graham Place, Pudsey, West Yorkshire

    IT seems to me that most people are going down the line that GM crops
    will be damaging to wildlife.

    I would like to put the point forward that when the likes of Monsanto have the
    world under control with GM seed, who will suffer then?

    No more home-saved seed means higher prices charged by companies. And with no more local seed merchants, how many more job losses will there be in an already declining rural economy?

    The public are against it, for whatever reason, be it lack of understanding or whatever, so let it play into our hands. We have a premium product
    here – “GM free” – so lets promote that.

  • No name and address supplied

    ALTHOUGH, as a scientist, I am reasonably confident about the safety of most of the commercial GM crops, I am rather more certain that it will be impossible to convince the public of this.

    More harm will be done by tarnishing the image of British food by the use of GMOs than will be gained from the slightly dubious claims of great commercial advantages.

  • Ben Heal, North Shields, Tyne & Wear

    I BELIEVE more research needs to be carried out to determine the possibility of gene transfer between plant species under field conditions.

    If there is any possibility, no matter how small, that genes which have been manipulated and or introduced into a specific plant from another source can transfer to other plants under field conditions, then I believe the concept poses too many risks for the environment and, ultimately, mankind.

    For example, if the genes in “Roundup Ready” soya crops were to “arise” in a weed crop, the complications which would arise in attempting to eradicate what would be a “super weed” would surely prove catastrophic to the primary producer.

    I look forward to hearing any views people have on this issue.

  • Graham Scott

    LIVING in the USA allows me to see the other side of the issue.

    When Roundup-Ready soybeans first came out there, was a big resistance to the contracts and control that Monsanto was enforcing.

    Three years later, it is all accepted and in 1998 our soybean sales went through the roof. However, many farmers soon realized that roundup doesnt kill everything and now this year Roundup-Ready bean sales are falling back.

    I believe that it is an enormous benefit to a farmer with a specific problem,
    however it is not a cure-all, although of all the chemicals that I handle
    Roundup is one of the safest and environmentally friendly compared to many of the alternatives, which have residal and carryover problems.

    I believe that in the right situation, you cant beat them.

  • No name and address supplied

    WE are grasping at a promise of something better, whether through
    greed or some alturistic reason, without understanding the medium- to long-term consequences of our decisions.

    This sounds totally irresponsible to me, and doesnt it ring a bell? We are totally ignoring the concerns of the consumer, whether they be justified or not. Ignore your customers at your peril.

    Consumers have little faith in what is put on their table, for good reason – a result of too many years of telling the customer what is good for them rather than listening.

  • No name and address supplied

    WHAT is the point of getting crops to produce more and when our prices
    will be less. It will also stockpile the food which farmers do not want, yet
    again you get less for your produce.

    The problem is people want organic food and are williling to pay for it – so let them pay.

    Personaly I wold not grow GM crops when you can get more money for organic food, but that will only last so long because more and more people will go organic and so the price of organic food will go down.

    More research has to be done before people will support GM foods, so it will only take time. Mind you, thats what the government wants – cheap food for people, no matter what it does to British farming.

  • Bruce Drummond, Mouswald, Dumfries

    WE have been genetically modifying ourselves for millions of years, so why not crops?

    Most feed rations contain GM soya, and have been fed to livestock for at least eight years, therefore somewhere down the line I have eaten “GM-contaminated meat” and havent suffered any side-effects.

    Whether we like it or not, GM crops are here to stay, so lets talk about the
    “benefits” as well as the pitfalls and come to a logical conclusion, rather than
    the hysteria,which now surrounds the system.

  • Dave Bramhill, Skirpenbeck, York

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