Scottish ministers are putting the finishing touches on a complete ban on the manufacture of genetically modified crops reinforcing a long standing moratorium on GMO’s and will also widen a policy gap between Great Britain and Scotland. According to the UK Guardian, under EU policy, devolved administrations can opt-out of Europe’s more relaxed rules. This move comes on the heels of a recent indication by UK ministers that, despite objections from consumer and environmental groups, they will allow the production of GMO’s.
Scottish scientists have taken charge in GMO research. For example, before her position was scrapped, Dame Anne Glover was the European Commission’s chief science adviser and is an advocate of GMO’s. However, Scotland’s environmental secretary wants to continue on the precautionary principle – where the risks of GMO crops outweigh the benefits. According to opponents of GMO’s they not only pose a risk to organic crops (boo hoo) but they could contain pesticide levels and are genetically modified in a way harmful to humans.
Of course environmentalists are ecstatic. Friends of the Earth Scotland director Richard Dixon issued a statement supporting the Scottish government’s move saying:
The Scottish government has been making anti-GM noises for some time, but the new Tory government has been trying to take us in the direction of GM being used in the UK, so it is very good news that Scottish ministers are taking that stance.
If you are a whisky producer or breeding high-quality beef, you ought to be worried if you don’t want GM but it is going to come to a field near you and you were worried that there was going to be some contamination. It is certainly in Scotland’s interests to keep GM out of Scotland.
Fewer manufactured food results in a higher likelihood that people will starve and even die of hunger. While the alternative pitched by anti-GMO activists is organic food, what they and environmentalists leave out is that organic food cannot be grown fast enough to satisfy human nutritional needs. Using organic methods on farmland would only be able to feed two-thirds of the world’s population. It’s easy to protest GMO’s when the ones doing it aren’t going hungry and have access to lots of food. Then again, that is the point of the opposition to GMO’s isn’t it?