HOW VERY STRANGE!

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Johnboy
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HOW VERY STRANGE!

Postby Johnboy » Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:09 am

On the recent Kew Diploma and Prizes Day Monty Don, chairman of the Soil Association, called for a “broadening of dialogue” between the Anti-GM and Pro-GM camps whatever that means.
When you consider that the SA have worked overtime for many years to take every mortal opportunity to condemn GM and have spent a fortune lobbying the UK and European Parliaments in an endeavour to get GM banished from the planet.
I find this situation more than strange and in fact am somewhat at a loss to understand what this is leading-up to.
To my way of thinking the SA have to go a whole lot further for any dialogue to take place.
1.They must publicly accept GM as a rising science.
2.Cease their continual barrage of untruthful statements about GM.
3.Explain publicly their very sudden change of policy.
When these three criteria have been fully met then and only then could any dialogue be possible but not essential.
Commercial Organics are very much in decline not only produce-wise but the Organic land base is declining year on year even after the many many pounds of public money
has been wasted paying growers to go into intervention, the period before they become fully productive organically.
Quite honestly the public perception regarding GM has changed quite dramatically because they now realise that the statements made by the SA and others are in the main untrue and they feel that they were duped.
For this reason I am against any dialogue with the SA because should they for example condone the use of Cisgenic GM and knowing the way they work it will be made out that is they who have magnanimously allowed Cisgenic GM to be used.
I would much prefer Cisgenic GM to be accepted in its own right not because of the SA but in spite of the SA.
On this mornings Farming Today programme (BBC Radio 4) it was reported that Owen Patterson, Secretary of State for the Environment, is for the use of GM as a very good method of increasing outputs.
JB.

Facts about worldwide GM distribution in 2011.
160,000,000 Hectares were laid down to GM crops.
This converts to 395,200,000 acres or 617500 square miles.
This converts to almost the total LANDMASS of;
United Kingdom plus Republic or Ireland plus France plus Germany plus Italy plus Portugal combined which is 619630 square miles. If you take out all the areas in these countries that cannot be cultivated then you could probably add another few countries.
GM has grown 94 fold since 1996 and is increasing between 5% and 8% every year.
Organics are shrinking by a similar percentage every year and they only start with a very small land base. Organics is in desperate need of reorganization under a completely new management structure. Dogma is what is strangling organics.
JB.
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Re: HOW VERY STRANGE!

Postby FelixLeiter » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:34 am

The Soil Association have been all at sea almost since their inception. I didn't know Monty is now their chairman, probably the biggest cabbage in their maggoty patch. They do need to get their heads and hearts straightened out about this for good, though, and it is vital for them to do this right now if they are to hang on to any credibility. I am a great supporter of their cause but they break my heart, like a delinquent relative. At least they maintain a political standpoint, even though their focus keeps changing, unlike the HDRA who have no comment about anything and do their members a dis-service by remaining so partisan, in my view.

I read Geoff Dixon's piece in Horticulture Week, where he mostly blows his company's trumpet, but I agree with most of what he says as, I suspect, do the SA who have failed to produce any sort of "smoking gun" in the way that dead buzzards and birth defects did with dioxin. Given how extensive GM crops are, and for how long they have been grown, there have been plenty of opportunities for GM to come off the rails, if it was to have done so.
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Re: HOW VERY STRANGE!

Postby Johnboy » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:06 am

Hi Felix,
As you must be aware I have taken some of the statistics from Geoff Dixon's article in the Horticulture Week but I didn't quite agree with some parts of his article.
I have never been the slightest bit attracted to the Soil Association and I have had dealings with them as far back as either 1953/4/5 cant quite remember now.
I was a very firm member of HDRA until Lawrence retired and then his successors I am afraid spoilt it all to the point where I am no longer Organic. Having said that I care very much what happens to the Organic movement because that is where my roots formed.
Sadly the Soil Association have used the condemnation of GM to further their own ends for so many years now they must hardly know what they are doing. They have been spitting into the wind for so long and everything is now returning to them. You can only make untruthful statements for so long before you get rumbled and the public have rumbled them.
Organics desperately needs a change of leadership and they must learn to coexist with others instead of acting like a load of Peacocks making out they are so far superior to everybody who doesn't happen to agree with them.
I have always thought that GM will be the Organics of the future.
I do not expect the Soil Association to agree with me though!
JB.
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Re: HOW VERY STRANGE!

Postby Tony Hague » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:42 am

It is surely not unspeakable to reconsider ones stance. And the GM issue is far from straightforward. Although you might point your finger at the SA for anti-GM scaremongering, of just as large an impact were some tremendous home goals from the pro-GM camp. We were given rhetoric about GM being the way to feed the world. But in practice, early offerings were to provide tougher fruits so that supermarkets could sell produce even less fresh, and herbicide resistance so that farmers could apply more cheap herbicide. The emergence of glyphosate resistant weeds, and in particular glyphosate resistant weed beet, was utterly predictable, yet still the GM industry are busying themselves repeating the mistake with glufosinate resitant varieties, and even maize and soy resistant to 2,4-D (as in agent orange).

Combined with poor presentation of the new technology and dismissive behaviour to opponents fears - like the antibiotic resistant marker genes etc, a PR disaster.

But we are faced with the need to feed the unsustainably increasing population. And some work, like blight resistant potatoes - might be truly beneficial. So perhaps there is reason to think again.
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Re: HOW VERY STRANGE!

Postby Shallot Man » Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:46 pm

I also think the HDRA have lost their way, probable will not renew in the new year. :(
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Re: HOW VERY STRANGE!

Postby Nature's Babe » Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:00 pm

The latest surprising results in farmers weekly, show an increase in pesticide use with GM crops and many new glyphosphate resistent superweeds
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/ ... 100112.php

Both GM intensive and organic farming are heavily dependent on oil which is in decline, as prices rise and oil depletes both will need to reconsider options and we will need to produce more local food more sustainably as oil prices continue to rise due to scarcity.
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Re: HOW VERY STRANGE!

Postby Johnboy » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:41 am

Hi Tony,

It is surely not unspeakable to reconsider ones stance


That is certainly true so why do they not come out and say it!
This is part and parcel of the devious way the Soil Association operates.
Tony, over the years they have made so many untruthful statements nobody can discern any longer what is truthful and what is untruthful so this is another reason to forget any dialogue. There is no need for any dialogue with the prop-GM camp to for the Soil Association to make a public announcement. They are free to do this at any time.
What I would ask of you is to forget Monsanto and read up on the science of GM and then try and make-up your mind.
British geneticists were ahead of the field when the Soil Association began their spate of condemnation and due to the untruthful campaign they adopted they all went to the wall and moved abroad which was a great loss to this country. In doing this the SA gave "carte blanche" to Monsanto so in a way because of SA stupidity they are in a roundabout way responsible for the hold that Monsanto have on GM at present.
Sadly every attempt by British geneticists to try and correct this imbalance is met with not only opposition from the SA but the threat of crop trashing episodes and more untruthful condemnation.
I do not believe the statement made by Monty Don to be truthful!
JB.
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Re: HOW VERY STRANGE!

Postby FelixLeiter » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:24 am

Johnboy wrote:I do not believe the statement made by Monty Don to be truthful!

Maybe the truth lies somewhere deep in Monty's baggywag...
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Re: HOW VERY STRANGE!

Postby Tony Hague » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:26 am

Johnboy wrote:What I would ask of you is to forget Monsanto and read up on the science of GM and then try and make-up your mind.


And this is what perhaps for me typifies the poor approach of the pro-GM aruments. Implicit assumption that any oppositon must arise from ignorance of the science, or hatred of big corporations.

There are concerns which at least worth taking seriously enough to deserve a reasoned explanation. Instead there is this attempt to portray GM as nothing really more than we have been doing already by conventional hybridisation, which is clearly false, both with regard method and scope of what can be achieved.

In a strange way, GM is in the same sort of position as nuclear power. One proported to offer an end to famine but in practice simply improved profits for the agrochemical industry. The other offered power too cheap to meter but was in fact (at the outset at least) principally for manufacturing weapons. Unless we can control our population growth or find a miracle alternative, we will probably need to use both technologies. But both now face an uphill battle for acceptance because of their history.
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Re: HOW VERY STRANGE!

Postby Johnboy » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:28 am

Hi Tony,

What I would ask of you is to forget Monsanto and read up on the science of GM and then try and make-up your mind.


The emergence of glyphosate resistant weeds, and in particular glyphosate resistant weed beet, was utterly predictable, yet still the GM industry are busying themselves repeating the mistake with glufosinate resistant varieties, and even maize and soy resistant to 2,4-D (as in agent orange).


You are simply fixated by Monsanto and to a degree I share your worries but this is why I asked you to consider the science of GM and the possible good that can come from that science.
I do not consider anybody and everybody as ignorant because they are anti-GM but those who are against GM have a minefield of untruthful rhetoric to plough through and to a great degree are ignorant to the truth. They only believe what they hear and read from sources that are thoroughly disreputable and in this I include the Soil Association.
The only reason for the success of Round-up Ready Crops is because there has been absolutely no competition for them.
JB.
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Re: HOW VERY STRANGE!

Postby Tony Hague » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:06 am

I think I cannot be making myself clear.

I have no particular problem with Monsanto - in fact this is the first time I've used the name in a post. The glufosinate resistant varieties are Bayer, and the 2,4,d resistant ones are Dow, so no particular finger pointing at Monsanto. And clearly they do have competition.

I mention the herbicide resistant GM varieties from the context that at least one concern, that of herbicide resistant weeds (or Superweeds, if you prefer) was legitimate, that has been borne out.

I have no particular problem with the SA or Monty Don either. All parties have their prejudices and vested interests for sure, but I cannot see how, from where we are now, that a more open dialogue can be anything but a step forward.
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