Thursday, September 6, 2012

Who stole the editors?

Today is one of those rare days when the herald editorial actually makes sense. GE crops have been present in the worlds food supply for quite some time now, with no obvious harm arising. We should be looking at individual crops on a case by case basis, deciding if a GE crops makes sense or not in our circumstances. At the very least we should be doing the science here. The fail though at understanding why we need to be investigating new crops and new ways of doing things.
The gene modification industry does its case no favours with apocalyptic predictions of population growth and food shortages. It is enough that genetics can increase crop yields, reduce the need for insecticides and make farming more profitable.
Look at farming as only a way to make more money and you end up with companies like Monsanto - companies which are almost universally reviled - even if they have done good in some places around the world, no one is ever going to give them any credit for, given the reputation they have saddled themselves with. How is using increased profit going to put those who oppose GE at ease? It's not. I find it difficult to believe that there are people who are opposed to GE on the basis that it's not profitable enough.
We should be moving ahead with GE science despite opposition. That doesn't mean that the concerns of those opposed or the researchers motives for doing so should be ignored, they shouldn't. Appeal on humanitarian grounds at least has a chance of assuaging some fears. Feeding and controlling the population so that future generations can have enjoy something like the lifestyle we have now is important. Profit is secondary at best. Putting profit first shows the ugly side of the heralds world view.

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