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Biotech Government United Kingdom

Scotland To Ban GM Crops 361

An anonymous reader writes: Scotland's rural affairs minister has announced the country will ban the growing of genetically modified crops. He said, "I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our £14 billion food and drink sector." Many Scottish farmers disapprove of the ban, pointing out that competing farms in nearby England face no such restriction. "The hope was to have open discussion and allow science to show the pros and cons for all of us to understand either the potential benefits or potential downsides. What we have now is that our competitors will get any benefits and we have to try and compete. It is rather naïve."
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Scotland To Ban GM Crops

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  • by Major Blud ( 789630 ) on Monday August 10, 2015 @10:57AM (#50284393) Homepage

    I guess Scotch made from organic wheat will be better for my liver?

    • I think you mean barley, although some variants have wheat or rye in them. Anyhow, there is no GMO barley (outside the lab), same for wheat or rye unless that's changed since I got my info last year.
      • Yep, it was originally all barley, but wheat/rye is becoming more and more common (and I was trying to make a joke more than anything).

        You're right that there's also no GMO wheat being grown commercially, but there is triticale, which is a wheat/rye hybrid (and technically a GMO).
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday August 10, 2015 @10:57AM (#50284395)

    I don't think the world is quite ready for genetically modified haggis.

  • by Mrs. Grundy ( 680212 ) on Monday August 10, 2015 @10:59AM (#50284413) Homepage

    TFA:
    "The Scottish Government will shortly submit a request that Scotland is excluded from any European consents for the cultivation of GM crops, including the variety of genetically modified maize already approved and six other GM crops that are awaiting authorisation."

    The rest of the world calls that corn. We've been genetically modifying it for all of recorded history.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DeathToBill ( 601486 )

      So long as by "the rest of the world" you mean North America, Australia and New Zealand, then yes, you are correct.

      I guess I'm lucky that Australia and NZ get included. The average American doesn't know that ANY of the rest of the world exists.

      • by bledri ( 1283728 )

        So long as by "the rest of the world" you mean North America, Australia and New Zealand, then yes, you are correct.

        I guess I'm lucky that Australia and NZ get included. The average American doesn't know that ANY of the rest of the world exists.

        Isn't listing Australia and NZ separately redundant? (I'm kidding, I watched "Flight of the Conchords" so I'm an educated American...)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 10, 2015 @11:04AM (#50284471)

    Lots of people like to say things like 'there is no evidence that GMOs are dangerous.' But that is mirroring the hippy-dippy types who say that anything 'natural' is healthy.

    Just because no one's found a problem with the corn that most of us have been unknowingly eating for decades, that doesn't mean the latest and greatest GMO won't have its own unique risks. The more GMOs that are engineered, the more chances there are to screw something up.

    • by bledri ( 1283728 )

      Lots of people like to say things like 'there is no evidence that GMOs are dangerous.' But that is mirroring the hippy-dippy types who say that anything 'natural' is healthy.

      Just because no one's found a problem with the corn that most of us have been unknowingly eating for decades, that doesn't mean the latest and greatest GMO won't have its own unique risks. The more GMOs that are engineered, the more chances there are to screw something up.

      Way to be all hand wavy... You forgot to say "think of the children!"

    • Lots of people like to say things like 'there is no evidence that GMOs are dangerous.' But that is mirroring the hippy-dippy types who say that anything 'natural' is healthy.

      That is a bad attempt at conflating two things that have nothing to do with each other. Saying there is no evidence of GMO crops being dangerous is (thus far) an accurate statement of fact. Doesn't mean or even imply there isn't something we don't know yet. But claiming GMO crops are dangerous when you have no evidence to support that claim is not remotely the same sort of statement as asserting that all "natural" things are healthy. One is a correct statement of the absence of evidence of harm and the

    • by Copid ( 137416 )
      The same is true for traditional breeding and hybridisation, though. Mishmashing thousands of genes together has risks. There are practical examples [boingboing.net] of this happening. There's actually an argument to be made that putting one or two well-undrestood genes in is less likely to produce crazy results than making a hybrid that has the gene you want plus half of the genome of the other plant that you didn't want.
  • The SNP, naive? Who'd have thought!

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday August 10, 2015 @11:09AM (#50284505)

    Scotland's rural affairs minister has announced the country will ban the growing of genetically modified crops. He said, "I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our £14 billion food and drink sector."

    Oh he's gambling with their food and drink sector but not in the way he thinks he is. Simply banning these crops in the absence of actual evidence of their harm will definitely cause an impact but probably not a positive one. I understand taking reasonable steps to evaluate the effects of new(ish) technologies but slapping a blanket ban on something without any actual evidence of harm seems rather short sighted. This is exactly the sort of thing that you need to have a rational and evidence based debate over. Not a fear motivated ban.

    • by jabuzz ( 182671 ) on Monday August 10, 2015 @11:35AM (#50284749) Homepage

      Rational and sensible policies out of the SNP, please pull the other one. This time last year they where telling everyone just vote for independence and we will all be swimming in oil money. Then they wanted full fiscal independence, then when that had a £7 billion hole in it, it was going to be phased in over a period of years. Funny because this time last year when they where saying vote for independence they had set a date of May 2016.

      Why would I believe a bunch of racist (the anyone but England mentality is racist plan and simple), tax dodging (yep if you don't like the tax the SNP thinks that it is perfectly fine not to pay it - aka the Poll Tax) closet Tories, yeah the I am all right Jack now we have oil money we don't want to share with the rest of the UK, despite hundreds of years of the rest of the UK sharing with Scotland much to Scotland's benefit, especial through trade with essentially English colonies. Socialist my ass.

      Even their Socialist policies like free University tuition for Scottish students in Scotland simply means *FEWER* Scottish students go to University (loads of EU students out competing them for those free places), especially those from poorer backgrounds. Way to go.

    • Scotland's rural affairs minister has announced the country will ban the growing of genetically modified crops. He said, "I am concerned that allowing GM crops to be grown in Scotland would damage our clean and green brand, thereby gambling with the future of our £14 billion food and drink sector."

      Oh he's gambling with their food and drink sector but not in the way he thinks he is. Simply banning these crops in the absence of actual evidence of their harm will definitely cause an impact but probably not a positive one. I understand taking reasonable steps to evaluate the effects of new(ish) technologies but slapping a blanket ban on something without any actual evidence of harm seems rather short sighted. This is exactly the sort of thing that you need to have a rational and evidence based debate over. Not a fear motivated ban.

      Looking at changes to an entire nations food source is most certainly gambling, and based on the legal antics of the GMO players running the game today, what you label as a fear motivated ban others simply call common sense. One thing to keep in mind. There is no turning back once the decision is made. Monsanto's legal teams will guarantee that.

  • Not to mention burning witches.

  • You get the science you pay for. And who's paying for it? Why, it's Monsanto! Do you see any non-profits who can buy a comprehensive study disproving Monsanto claims? Is there an elected official who will support an investigation of Monsanto? (Try to find one who doesn't get support from the company.) As usual, when a controversy arises you can usually follow the money to see who is behind the 'facts' we are presented with.

    • by Copid ( 137416 )
      There are plenty of ag programs at public universities doing research on GMOs and they don't seem to have produced the results you're looking for either. If you want to point to specific studies and back them up with funding information, I'd be interested in hearing it, but I'm guessing all you have is vague innuendo.

      Do you see any non-profits who can buy a comprehensive study disproving Monsanto claims?

      Greenpeace has a quarter of a billion dollar annual budget. If they spent a tiny fraction of a percen

  • Hi there. I'm a big-time sustainability nerd. In fact, it's literally part of my job description. I have friends throughout the industry-- energy, transportation, water, land use, etc. I have a couple friends in the food sustainability area and they're vehemently divided on the viability of non-GM crops in the modern world. Me? I can't be bothered to care too much. I don't have the time in the day to figure out how to best grow free-range battery chargers for solar chickens. I need to leave that to someone
  • is worrying about the effect of GM food on public health.

  • I don't know how governments think they can just legislate a potential problem away when it comes to nature. The world does not have isolated bubbles when it comes to crops. Sure, you can ban the seed but that doesn't stop the change. Look at Mexico, GMO corn has been banned there for years yet they are still infected from the US. You can't control pollination.
  • This could benefit Scotland in that "grown in Scotland" could mean more value to the a consumer. Putting the science issues aside for the moment, a certain percentage of consumers don't like GM food. Sometimes zigging when everyone else is zagging gives you an edge.

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