With G.M.O. Policies, Europe Turns Against Science

Published in the New York Times, 24 October 2015

CALL it the “Coalition of the Ignorant.” By the first week of October, 17 European countries — including Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland — had used new European Union rules to announce bans on the cultivation of genetically modified crops.

These prohibitions expose the worrying reality of how far Europe has gone in setting itself against modern science. True, the bans do not apply directly to scientific research, and a few countries — led by England — have declared themselves open to cultivation of genetically modified organisms, or G.M.O.s. But the chilling effect on biotech science in Europe will be dramatic: Why would anyone spend years developing genetically modified crops in the knowledge that they will most likely be outlawed by government fiat?

In effect, the Continent is shutting up shop for an entire field of human scientific and technological endeavor. This is analogous to America’s declaring an automobile boycott in 1910, or Europe’s prohibiting the printing press in the 15th century.

For the full article see the New York Times website.

8 Comments

  1. Bluebell

    They haven’t turned against Science, they just don’t want to grow GMO’s, and they have the right to decide. They have choosen not to be bullied by Corporations. Good on them.

    Reply
    1. Clyde Davies

      So Bluebell (are you a cow, by any chance?), you seem to have missed the deduction:
      “Why would anyone spend years developing genetically modified crops in the knowledge that they will most likely be outlawed by government fiat?”

      Lots of new GM developments being undertaken happen to be PUBLIC DOMAIN. This means publicly funded, and the results are available for anybody to use. Rothamsted are doping some sterling work in this area: search for “GM camelina” : engineered to stop us from overfishing the ocean.

      No ‘corporations’ anywhere in sight, yet this technology will still be banned. The EU has instead chosen to be bullied by NGOs.

    2. Bluebell

      GM Camelina, engineered to stop us from overfishing the ocean? You eat fish because you like the taste. The oil from the Camelina is naturally rich in Omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids as well as Vit. E etc. Why would you want to manipulate the genes of this plant when it has all this goodness, Money of course. Maybe more money should be spent on ways to dispose of pollutants instead of them leaking into our oceans & destroying the marine environment.
      By the way, I must say you are still not a very nice individual, name calling as usual, life must be pretty ugly for you,

    3. Clyde Davies

      People are going to eat fish because they like the taste. Telling them to eat camelina instead is totally counterproductive: ‘let them eat kale’.

      “The oil from the Camelina is naturally rich in Omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids as well as Vit. E etc.”

      No it isn’t. that’s why Rothamsted modified its genome:
      “Omega-3 fish oils specifically long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 LC-PUFA) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are acknowledged by the medical community to be beneficial components of the human diet. The primary dietary sources of EPA & DHA are marine fish, either wild or farmed (aquaculture). Although some types of omega-3 fats are available from other sources in the human diet (such as flax seeds), the nutritionally-beneficial omega- 3 LC- PUFA EPA & DHA are only available from marine sources. Fish, like humans, accumulate the omega-3 fish oils by feeding on other organisms in the marine food chain or, in the case of farmed fish, through fishmeal and fish oil in feed.” – See more at: http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/news-views/first-gm-oilseed-crop-produce-omega-3-fish-oils-field#sthash.wElbgpTo.dpuf

      “By the way, I must say you are still not a very nice individual, name calling as usual, life must be pretty ugly for you…”

      Spent too much of my time online in the company of bigots. Seems to have rubbed off on me. As Nietzsche said: ‘battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster also’.

    4. Scott

      Clyde,
      Quite right except for one thing, long chain omega 3s are available in all sorts of animal products, and in large enough quantities for good health, assuming the animals are properly raised. That they lack the proper lipid balance is due to the industrial feedlot and CAFO system. Sick animals are not good for human health, and no need to deplete fish stocks if those animals are raised properly.

      http://www.csuchico.edu/grassfedbeef/research/Review%20Grassfed%20Beef%202010.pdf

  2. Scott

    Give me a break, GMOs have nothing to do with sustainably feeding the world. Pure hogwash. GMO or not, what makes a type of agriculture sustainable or not is the methods of production, not whether it is a GMO or not.
    Absolutely fail propaganda Mark, as unscientific as those you claim to oppose.
    BlueBell is right, more power to them. Without the crutch of GMOs which actually are generally nothing more than a crutch designed to prop up a failing unsustainable conventional model of production, maybe just maybe EU might work on actually developing sustainable models of production, something they are significantly behind compared to even third world countries. Heck even barefoot peasant farmers in India are far more advanced in sustainable agriculture than most the EU.

    http://sri.cals.cornell.edu/conferences/IRC2014/booth/SRI_climate_smart_rice_production_%20handout_2014.pdf

    it’s a joke how backwards the EU is, especially the UK. Almost like you are in some weird dark ages where you have set up a false dichotomy of destructive and even more destructive, completely ignorant of anything actually sustainable.

    Reply
    1. Clyde Davies

      Oh, come ojn Scott, we’ve been through this issue all beforehand – systems thinking versus the q

    2. Clyde Davies

      Oh, come on Scott, we’ve been through this issue all beforehand – systems thinking versus the quick ‘tech fix’. There is nothing wrong with tech fixes: vaccination is the ultimate tech fix and probably the single most successful intervention in human health.

      As I’ve said myself, if I were suffering from VAD I’d eat the arse from a dead mole if I thought it gave me a fighting chance. There isn’t any practical reason why ‘sustainable modes of agriculture’ and GMOs like Golden Rice can’t be combined to huge benefit.

      And Bluebell as usual is talking bollocks. Many developing nations have started their own *public domain* biotech programs, yet the likes of Greenpeace seem to think they have the right to dictate their policy towards them. The single biggest export from the UK to these countries seems to be our paranoia. If all we can offer them is condescension, it’s time we butted out.

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