An earlier post of mine was basically a rant against the misinformation put out by, in particular, the anti-GMO crowd; this is a good example. It was actually posted on facebook in response to a thread where most of the claims had already been rebutted but that seems to make no difference. It makes me wonder if these people have read ‘Animal Farm’? Of course, they probably have but they don’t realise I have them cast as the sheep.
Even in its original facebook post, all the claims were comprehensively rebutted multiple times. The rebuttals were all variants on:
- Most commercial seeds are patented, this is not unique to GE seeds and in any case the vast majority of farmers are not set up to save seed from one year to the next. That’s why we have seed merchants in the first place. (I also have a blog post on why farmers use expensive GE seed).
- All farming is chemical intensive (even organic farming). This is not a GMO issue. We certainly need to find a way to minimise chemical overload but if anyone thinks banning GE crops will solve the problem, they are mistaken. In actual fact, it is likely to make things worse, as explained in the above blog.
- Again, this is not a GMO issue, it is an issue of modern farming methods. It IS a serious issue but it has no particular link to GE crops.
- This appears to be a simple fabrication. A fellow eco-blogger has a long blog on the subject.
- This last one is interesting because it reveals the true agenda, which is against large-scale agriculture not only GE crops. Leaving aside the sheer utopian impracticality of the suggestion, many people have pointed out that security of the food supply is threatened, not enhanced by local-only agriculture. Going back to point 3, the Irish famine could not happen today because Ireland is is able to buy in food from outside and the infrastructure exists to supply it.
It is plain from the comments over on facebook that there are legions of fervent activists (well, like-button activists, anyway) who refuse to even read these rebuttals, preferring instead to react emotionally to a crisis they are told is happening. This leads to a situation where they can be, and are being, manipulated by vested interests. Greenpeace is an organisation I have a big beef with (and not just because of its wanton vandalism of a world heritage site). They have begun to communicate with this constituency of activists purely at an emotional level; making wild and unsubstantiated claims designed purely to scare them into line. In that regard they are exactly like Fox News (Faux Noise) and just like Faux, they are now part of the problem and have given up any credible right to be part of the solution. It’s a pity when an activist organisation founded to fight corporate interests becomes one of those interests itself.