What people say about them

23 October 1998


CONFUSED about genetically-modified organisms? Or have you made your mind up whether or not they would benefit UK farmers and consumers?

Wherever you stand on this controversial topic, now is the time to make your voice heard. Either attend the conference in person to ask your question, or send us your query and we will make sure the best are put to our distinguished panel of expert speakers.

Simply post or fax your question, along with your name, address, occupation and telephone number, to the conference address which appears in the registration form. Dont miss out on this unique opportunity to put your question to the people that matter.

What people say about them

&#8226 "GM could provide an alternative approach which may reduce existing problems such as pesticide pollution of water courses. Reasoned, non-emotive discussion is required so that all aspects of GMOs can be examined."

Marie Skinner, Norfolk farmer who sits on the NFU cereals committee and the HGCA board. (Talking Point, July 31 1998).

&#8226 "The genetic modification of food is intrinsically dangerous. It involves making irreversible changes in a random manner to a complex level of life about which little is known. It is inevitable that this hit-and-miss approach will lead to disasters."

Dr Geoffrey Clements, leader of the Natural Law Party. 29 Sept 1998.

&#8226 "For a moratorium (on genetically modified foodstuffs) to be implemented, we need strong health, scientific and safety grounds – we have none of these."

Jeff Rooker, junior farm minister, Sept 30, Labour Party Conference, Blackpool.

&#8226 "We need long-term surveillance and we need a new body to actively manage the introduction of GM foods, above all with reliable labelling."

Julie Sheppard, Consumers Association, Sept 30, Labour Party Conference, Blackpool.

&#8226 "A negative list of food products from GM crops which contain no GM material and which need no labelling may be acceptable legally. But that has to be balanced with accurate labelling and that means giving consumers what they want."

Geraldine Schofield, head of regulatory affairs, Unilever. (Arable, Oct 16)


Genetic modification: path to profit or road to ruin?

Where do you stand when it comes to the complicated topic of genetic modification of plants and animals? Would harnessing the new science benefit farmers and consumers by improving crop yields and quality while allowing reductions in the use of agrochemicals?

Or should we turn our back on a science that seeks to tamper with the basic building blocks of life? Surely, theres a middle way that allows the carefully regulated development of a technology our increasingly hungry world can no longer afford to ignore?

To help answer those questions, farmers weekly has assembled an expert range of speakers to take part in our conference on genetically modified organisms on Thurs Feb 4, 1999. To be held at the National Motorcycle Museum, Coventry Rd, Bicken Hill, Solihull, West Midlands, our conference aims to shed light, rather than generate heat, by moving the debate onto a more scientific footing. Special emphasis will be placed on answering audience and FWreadersquestions. So make sure you make your voice heard on the subject that will affect all our futures.

GENETIC MODIFICATION – Path to profit or road to ruin?

Thursday, Feb 4 1999, National Motorcycle Museum, Coventry Rd, Bicken Hill, Sollihull, West Midlands.

Morning Session

9.00-9.20 Registration/coffee

9.20-9.30 Chairmans welcome and opening vote

9.30-9.55 The promise of GMOtechnologyDr Doug Hard, Monsanto

9.55-10.20 GMOs:The dangers aheadRobin Maynard,FOE

10.20-10.45 Realising the benefits while minimising riskProf Ian Crute, director designate, Institute of Arable Crops Research

10.45-11.10 A consumer perspectiveDavid Hatch, National Consumer Council

11.10-11.20 Coffee

11.20-12.20 Questions

12.20-12.45 MAFFs view

12.45-13.00 Questions

13.00-14.00 Lunch

Afternoon session

14.00-14.20 The EUs strategy on GMOs

14.20-14.45 The US vision of GMO technology and tradeRalph Gifford, US agricultural attache, Brussels

14.40-14.50 Questions

14.50-16.00 Hopes and fears for GMO technology

Leading industry experts reveal their hopes and fears for the development of GMOs. Key speakers will outline their thoughts before taking part in a panel discussion.

Taking part will be Prof Sir Colin Spedding, Farm Animal Welfare Council, Dr Nigel Poole, Zeneca, John McLeod, director of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, Prof Michael Antoniou, London University, Jim Reed, UKASTA, James Townshend of Velcourt, John Chapple of CWS, Patrick Holden of the Soil Association and the NFUs Bob Fiddaman.

16.00-1700 Questions and discussion

GMO Conference Registration Form

The National Motorcycle Museum, Coventry Rd, Bicken Hill, Solihull, West Midlands, Thursday, Feb 4 1998.

Please detach and return with your fee to Jill Brown, farmers weekly conference office, First Floor, Aldgate House, 74 Grove Rd, Sutton, Surrey SM1 1BT. Telephone 0181-7707698 (fax 0181-7709775). Conference fee includes coffee, lunch and tea.

Please reserve place(s) at £111.62 each (£95 plus £16.62 VAT at 17.5%. I enclose a cheque payable to farmers weekly for £…………..or charge my Access/Visa/American Express card number.

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