Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Another report supports GM

A new report by the Nuffield Council on Bio-ethics supports the idea that GM crops could be very beneficial to developing countries. The BBC reports:

'Nuffield Council director Sandy Thomas said the council recognised it was discussing only part of a much larger picture. "Food security and the reduction of poverty in developing countries are extremely complex issues. We do not claim that GM crops will eliminate the need for economic, political or social change, or that they will feed the world. However, we do believe that GM technology could make a useful contribution, in appropriate circumstances, to improving agriculture and the livelihood of poor farmers in developing countries." '

The developing world argument seems particularly popular among pro-science people who want to get GM accepted. But the problem is that it fails to confront the anti-science prejudices that inform much of the debate. So, while I welcome the Nuffield report, it would be nice if someone would just spell out why GM is good for us in the UK, too.

All of this is grist to the mill, as the UK's public debate about GM gets underway. Except that giving the general public a substantial say in the matter is particularly pointless, as Paul Reeves illustrates with his article for spiked describing the first public consultation. Most people simply don't know enough about the subject to pass judgement.

GM crops 'good for developing countries', BBC News, 10 June 2003

Modified discussion, spiked, 5 June 2003

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