Monsanto Meets Ministers to Push Return of GM Crops to Britain

Source: GeneWatch UK and GM Freeze, 25 Oct 2012

GeneWatch UK and GM Freeze today released documents obtained as a result of a Freedom of Information request, which reveal that the GM companies Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, and BASF are setting the agenda for UK agricultural research with a view to bringing GM crops into the UK and exporting overseas.

The companies and their industry body, the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC), joined Science Minister David Willetts and Lord Taylor at a roundtable meeting on 26 June 2012 with an agenda based on the ABC's "Growing for Growth" report. [1] Academics from UK universities, such as Reading and Edinburgh, and research institutes, such as Rothamsted Research and the John Innes Centre, were also present, along with representatives of the National Farmers Union (NFU). George Freeman MP, a strong advocate of GM crops, hosted the meeting and Roger Williams MP also attended.

The summary of the meeting, written by the ABC, an industry body, shows plans to:

  • Spend more taxpayers' money on R&D for GM crops and on "education".
  • Promote GM crops in developing countries.
  • Remove regulatory and political barriers.

Read the full story at GM Watch.

ANH-Intl Comment

This depressing story gathers together several strands of the genetic modification (GM) saga, and throws a stark light onto the single-mindedly pro-GM stance of the UK government. 

As far as GM goes, the long-suffering UK citizen is threatened by a well-planned pincer movement. One the one hand, regardless of which party is in power, the country is run by politicians who – despite public protestations that, “The protection of human health and the environment are our overriding priorities” – have always been in favour of GM organisms (GMOs). Closing in on the other side is the European Commission, whose recently appointed Chief Scientific Adviser, Anne ‘GMO Lover’ Glover, couldn’t be more pro-GM if she worked for Monsanto.

If the biotech companies have their way, the UK will become a country where small farms are extinct, replaced by giant monoculture growing operations developed along US lines – and, no doubt, by the blight of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), AKA factory farms. Factory farming and GM are effectively crimes against nature, but to ensure the smooth transition to an industrial and biotech-led food production model, schoolchildren will be brainwashed from infancy to believe it’s the only way forward. The laws of the land will continue to change so that barriers to the industrial model no longer exist. And all of this will be paid for by taxpayers, a very considerable number of whom will violently object to the policies they are funding. Welcome to modern democracy, European Union (EU)-style.

None of this should come as a surprise: as Dr Mercola reports, the same companies are involved in a campaign of fraud, deceit and illegality to thwart the GM labelling proposition, which comes up for a vote on 6th November in California. Looked at one way, the activities of the biotech companies can be understood as merely doing business; but for the government to be working with the industry to force GM onto its citizens is unforgivable. We’re sure, however, that the strength of feeling among UK citizens will repel every attempt to put GM on their plates.  In the end, our refusal to buy GM foods remains the most powerful statement we can make.


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