GM fanatics hurting ag

All credible scientific bodies agree that GM plant breeding is just as safe ....

EXPECT to see a tall dark shadow cast over plant breeding science and commonsense in Perth at Saturday's march against Monsanto and genetically modified (GM) foods rally.

The rally started on the steps of Parliament House in the early afternoon and involved a leisurely stroll through the city centre to Russell Square where various speakers addressed the audience.

The Perth rally coincided with other like-minded protests around the globe - in an estimated 52 countries and 400 cities - all designed to try and gain lots of media coverage to turn the world against big bad Monsanto and those nasty GM crops.

The first global march against Monsanto was held in May this year and drew an estimated two million angry protesters.

That figure included an estimated 1000 people in Perth - even though 2032 replied to an invite on the event’s Facebook page saying they would be going, from the 20,998 invited.

For the latest march against Monsanto, 10,116 Facebook invites were issued with 920 Facebookers saying they’d be going and 333 giving it a maybe.

Today’s event is also timed to coincide with World Food Day on October 16 which will help to inject even greater levels of symbolism and cynicism into efforts to try and scare the wits out of food consumers everywhere.

“The march is happening again in October to tie in with the fact that Monsanto is set to receive the World Food Prize known as the “Nobel Prize in Agriculture” this month,” the media promotion says.

Just hold that thought and reflect on it for a minute or two; Monsanto is set to receive the World Food Prize known as the “Nobel Prize in Agriculture” this month.

Maybe reflect for a minute or 10 and look it up on Google.

Intrigued by all the commotion and emotion, I phoned an old mate who happens to be an experienced grain farmer with an agricultural science degree and a bit of knowledge on this topic.

I asked what he thought was really going on at this global march against Monsanto and how many other scientists, farm industry leaders or down and dirty grain farmers supported what the protest was trying to promote.

His answer was: "none that are credible, factual or objective".

But what will the rally achieve, I asked?

“It will damage agriculture by scaring naive people into thinking GM crops or foods made from GM crops aren’t safe, even though food safety regulators all over the world including here in Australia have declared them to be safe,” my award-winning scientist friend said.

“All credible scientific bodies agree that GM plant breeding is just as safe as traditional plant breeding, if not safer.

“Let’s just hope the media doesn’t swallow all of the propaganda and gets it right.”

I asked my learned friend what he saw when he looked out across a rally like this one with so much feverous talk about grain crops and food production.

I asked what exactly crossed his mind when he observed the colourful mob of placard wielding protestors being spurred on by angry leaders, standing to attention at microphones and mega-phones making so much noise?

“What do I see? Just a game being played,” he said.

“But I’m not sure what their end game is here.

“I see people who are not educated and getting very emotional and promoting an organic niche but ignoring science and the environmental and health potential of GMs.

“Maybe they only take their information off the bloody internet – no cross checking of facts.

“Maybe they should be talking to plant breeding professors and other scientists and listening to the facts.

“Who they shouldn’t be listening to are celebrity chefs and others with vested interests in marketing organics.”

I also asked why the protesters objected so strongly to Monsanto making GM seeds and made it seem like the US based company was about to take over the global food chain and send the planet broke, taking farmers down with them.

But he pointed out they’re not the only multinational company producing and selling GM seed, with Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont/Pioneer and Dow AgroSciences also in the mix and dominating the US corn and soybean market.

“Why do they begrudge companies making a commercial profit?” he said.

“It’s almost like a religious belief.

“It wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t causing so much damage to farmers, science and forcing up regulatory costs making it harder to apply GM to other niche crops.”

Time maybe for the fanatics to wake up and smell the (engineered) coffee beans.

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READER COMMENTS

Trugger
12/10/2013 7:57:03 AM

It seems to be, that the New Age Club of the Ignoratti dominated by the Anti-vax, Creationists, GW Denialists, Animal Rightists, Vegans, GM Objectionists and the under 90 IQ clique have taken over the Flat Earth Society.
Katrina Love
12/10/2013 9:20:03 AM

GM fanatics are hurting agriculture the way human rights fanatics hurt slavery, or animal rights fanatics are hurting vivisection and animal testing.
David Harrison
12/10/2013 10:21:13 PM

Let me get this right. If you disagree with anything, (read GM foods), you are a fanatic. BUT, if you agree with what is being promoted, (GM foods), you are a visionary. That line of thought doesn't lead to a balanced and non-judgemental discussion. It strikes me as a rather paternalistic mentality whereby only the learned scientific community know what is best for us. I personally do not want anything to do with GM foods, as is my right. I cannot force my beliefs or opinions on anyone else. So how can GM proponents justify their view that they are correct? Cont'd
David Harrison
12/10/2013 10:22:48 PM

We definitely need source of origin labelling for food so we can make informed decisions as to what we buy. That will never happen while the big players dictate to the consumer.
Crime Watch
13/10/2013 10:17:41 AM

Oh dear isn't it a crying shame that the "ignoratti" are aware that GM giants, Dupont, Bayer, Dow and BASF are officially listed as the top polluters in all of the United States of America for the year 2012. And you should have a gander at their regulatory violations. Could take you a week though to wade through the burgeoning stats. How can we obscure these evil facts from the "ignoratti?" More propaganda to dupe the masses?
Bob Phelps
13/10/2013 12:36:04 PM

Talk to us. Bettles & his anonymous crony can easily find out why there were over 500 Marches Against Monsanto in 57 countries on October 12 that also targeted chem & gene giants Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont/Pioneer, BASF & Dow which, with Monsanto, monopolise global seed and food supplies. This harms us all & our grandkids. E.g. the companies own & control over 70% of the world's commercial seed supply: https://www.msu.edu/~howardp/seed industry.html This cartel works together through cross-licensing to stack their various genes into food crops & push chemicals. We, the 99%, say "NO!!" to them.
GM not needed
13/10/2013 1:56:13 PM

If GM is supposed to feed the world, why create a terminator gene so seed cant be used the next season???
No to GMO
13/10/2013 11:13:00 PM

If the big biotech ninjas are confident that their GM food is a good thing, why are they afraid to label it? It would be too easy to add it to the nutrition and allergen portion of the packaging. If they are so proud of their product, what tis the big secret?
Alice
14/10/2013 2:57:20 AM

Colin Bettles, rather than limit yourself to the fluff of one unnamed old mate in one location, how about using the bloody internet to cross-check the facts from the thousands of speakers in the estimated 52 countries and 400 cities. Or would you prefer not to know?
Merinoman
14/10/2013 3:01:54 AM

I suggest Colin Bettles do more Research into GMO to find out that Monsanto is the one who is Fanatic here trying to control farmers & their health. I am just a retired Sheepman not a greenie
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Canberra CommentFairfax Agricultural Media Canberra correspondent Colin Bettles tackles the big national rural and agricultural issues which will impact regional and rural Australians.

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