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Biotech EU

Majority of EU Nations Seek Opt-Out From Growing GM Crops 330

schwit1 writes: Nineteen EU member states have requested opt-outs for all or part of their territory from cultivation of a Monsanto genetically-modified crop, which is authorized to be grown in the European Union, the European Commission said on Sunday. Under a law signed in March, individual countries can seek exclusion from any approval request for genetically modified cultivation across the 28-nation EU. The law was introduced to end years of stalemate as genetically modified crops divide opinion in Europe. The requests are for opt-outs from the approval of Monsanto's GM maize MON 810, the only crop commercially cultivated in the European Union, or for pending applications, of which there are eight so far, the Commission said.
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Majority of EU Nations Seek Opt-Out From Growing GM Crops

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  • by mrthoughtful ( 466814 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @10:04AM (#50661013) Journal

    The problem isn't to do with GM, it's to do with the way in which profits are derived from GM. The difficulties of GM are that the producer is able to develop a dependancy on the product. This dependency should be illegal. It's why pimps get their girls (and boys) hooked on crack or heroin. It's why big tobacco is evil.

    What compounds the issue is that the US patent system is known to be desparately broken. Intellectual property and copyright law are bracketed into the same brokenness. What that means is that not only do consumers of GM products become dependant on the product, but the producer is able to sustain an indefinite monopoly of it.

    This isn't about science. Never was. It's about becoming Monsanto's bitch and not being able to do anything about it.

    • Yeah, i think that in order to save the planet, we need to embrace GMO, and leave Monsanto and the like dying in a ditch. No patents on living organisms, and only sustainable farming practices (like the crop rotation we figured out centuries ago) should receive any subsidies. If you plant corn year after year after year, you're on your own.
      • by Ambassador Kosh ( 18352 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @10:43AM (#50661277)

        So out of curiosity how do you think we should develop GMO crops without patents? These things cost billions of dollars in very hard R&D to develop and bring to market. Without a patent then anyone will grow some of your seeds and then sell them next year to compete with your seeds and they had to do none of the work.

        If you want to replace this system you must come up with an alternative.

        No patents on living organisms would also screw over the biotech industry. What if I make a new tumor supressor gene from scratch that is better than any human gene and would 100% prevent cancer. As soon as I treated the first person someone would just have their DNA read and find the sequence and sell it without doing any of the R&D.

        I understand not liking patents on living things but if you want technology developed our current economic system required a profit motive and without that motive the technology won't be created. This is not like computer programming where a few people on no budget can do amazing work and change things. This stuff is insanely expensive and hard to do. Reaction ingredients alone would bankrupt most people.

        • Patents are an inefficient way of funding research of any kind, which might have made sense 200 years ago, but is complete nonsense today. Just fund this research directly. Most of the discoveries happen with government funding in university labs anyway, we just allow companies like Monsanto to steer it into more profit driven direction and make money off of it.
        • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          "So out of curiosity how do you think we should develop GMO crops without patents? "

          The same way the american indians did when they invented CORN

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          So out of curiosity how do you think we should develop GMO crops without patents? These things cost billions of dollars in very hard R&D to develop and bring to market. Without a patent then anyone will grow some of your seeds and then sell them next year to compete with your seeds and they had to do none of the work.

          Then if it's so important, design the seeds to not do that. Montsanto is famous for "terminator genes" that do just that. Except well, they don't work. Turns out plants generally evolve out

        • There is plenty of science done that doesn't make a profit, and not just in low cost areas like Computer Science.

          Also, all your work is based on thousands of people before you, are you going to let them share in the profits of your discovery?

          Finally, if you want to make a profit, find another field to do it in. Become an investment banker, football player or the next Justin Bieber. I don't care, but getting a PhD in science is not supposed to be a guarantee of vast wealth in the future.

          If everyone ha

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As opposed to the current system in which farmers buy non-GM hybrids from seed companies (upon which they're entirely dependent), pesticides from chemical companies (upon whom they're entirely dependent), fuel from oil companies (upon whom they're entirely dependent), etc. Clearly you've never interacted with a real farmer, and are entirely ignorant of how your food is produced. Farmers buy GM seeds because it makes economic sense. No one forces them to, and they can switch back at any time. When GM see

      • I have farmers in my family. I've, -er-, interacted with farmers from Nebraska, Ukraine, Nepal, India, UK, Germany, Holland and France.
        Many of the farmers have used hybrids, sure. Many of them have decided against using hybrids for exact the same reason that they don't want to choose GM seeds. Some have heirloom crops that they are very proud of. Not all.
        Some of the farmers I've talked with hate the other dependancies that you mention - pesticides are a pain, and farming legislation is increasingly tough

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        "No one forces them to, and they can switch back at any time."

        No you cant. Once you grow a GMO crop your fields are contaminated with the crap for years. and if your neighbors are growing it, you are FUCKED. as the cross pollination will taint your entire crop and then yuo get fined for growing a monsanto crop without a licensing fee because the genetic markers are there.

        Why dont you actually TALK to a farmer, I have 3 in my family and I know the reality of this. You grow what your neighbors are growing

    • Once you plant GM crops and their genes spill over to non-GM crops, Monsanto will lay claim to the non-GM seeds and sue the farmer to death.

      When all non-GM seeds end up with genes from Monsanto's GM crops, Monsanto will own the legal right to the food chain.

      You can't pay, you starve.

      • Once you plant GM crops and their genes spill over to non-GM crops, Monsanto will lay claim to the non-GM seeds and sue the farmer to death.

        Can you cite an example of this happening? I'm genuinely curious. I know of only one case where Monsanto has sued a farmer for cross-polination. It was shown in court that the farmer actually was trying to deliberately and surreptitiously acquire GM seeds through a roundabout way.

    • The problem includes GM by methodologies such as Monsanto employes, obviously it is at least possible to alter DNA of something to make it harmful to humans, but the pro-Monsanto shills here would deny that possibility of such a problem should even be subject to testing. The are the ignorant anti-science shills, calling for blind faith in a mega-corporation that buys laws and seeks to take control of the food supply. How vile and evil, without a concern for human well being.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        Heh... Look! I found the guy that is doing the "that is the way of their kind" posts and other absurd junk posts. You can deny it if you want but your writing style matches it too well for it to be a coincidence as does your... Um... Manner of expressing yourself.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      The difficulties of GM are that the producer is able to develop a dependancy on the product. This dependency should be illegal. It's why pimps get their girls (and boys) hooked on crack or heroin. It's why big tobacco is evil.

      What "dependency"? You can switch from GMO to non-GMO any time you like. Of course, you have to live with the lower yields if you do.

      What compounds the issue is that the US patent system is known to be desparately broken. Intellectual property and copyright law are bracketed into the s

      • Now pray tell me how european agriculture would collapse without american whatever? I think you are rather full of yourself, but you are welcome to prove me wrong.

      • For an answer to some of your retorts, see my response to AC above.
        Let's look at this another way. The EU market is different from the USA. I'm sure we can agree on that.
        For whatever reasons, possibly because it's the 'old world', EU consumers are innately conservative when it comes to the basics. We can probably agree on that.
        Monsanto has a very bad name in the EU. Blame the PR department, or ignorant (but communications savvy) activists, but it's true. We can probably agree on that.

        Fortunately for the

    • by ksheff ( 2406 )
      It's a way to Monsanto out and protect EU companies developing GM products.
    • The problem isn't to do with GM, it's to with the way profits are derived from GM.

      The modern farmer is first and last a business man.

      He specializes. He raises grains, fruits or vegetables for sale in the retail or wholesale markers he understands or he evolves into a seed company or a nursery. Never both, because the labor and capital requirements are so very different and so very demanding.

      When he buys seed from Monsanto, he is looking at the return on his investment, as any business man must. He is looking at how the product stands up against the competition. If it is sweet corn, he

      • Let's just concentrate on Monsanto for a moment..

        Agent Orange: In the manufacture of 2,4,5-T, Monsanto accidentally overheating of the reaction mixture which caused it condense into the toxic self-condensation product TCDD. It was this dioxin, found present in Agent Orange, that caused untold suffering for which the defoliant is known for. Monsanto had overcooked the mix. QA did not find out about it until the stuff was already delivered to the DoD.
        Profitable? Yep. Ethical? Definitely not.

        DDT. Produced and

    • Actually, I don't think Monsanto's patent on the GM seeds are in and of themselves a problem. What's a problem is that the court decisions revolving around this IP have decoupled the risk from the reward. If you use Monsanto's patented seeds, you have to pay Monsanto. But if you don't want Monsanto's seed but some of it blows onto your farm, Monsanto isn't liable for it. In fact you'll probably be forced to pay Monsanto if you don't detect it and get rid of it yourself.

      That's what's broken. If you w
    • I'm struggling to figure out how Monsanto can create a dependency upon something that's self-replicating and for which any legal restrictions they try to impose can only last 20 years. Also how "20 years" constitutes an "indefinite monopoly".

      Round-up doesn't have patent protection any more. And Round-up ready seeds won't have for much longer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05, 2015 @10:05AM (#50661025)

    We'll see all the usual "you're anti-science!" strawman arguments flung around here, I'm sure. A lot of us (my self included) happen to think the science is sound.

    My beef is I don't like how Monsanto behaves, and I don't want to (knowingly) spend my money purchasing a product they might profit from.

    And GMO is really a euphemism for Monsanto. They're the *only* meaningful player in this industry right now.

    • They are not the only meaningful player in the industry: For instance, take DuPont's agro side, branded as Pioneer. They sell quite a bit of GMO corn in the US every year. The only major row crop when they are not a big player is soybeans, and that's just because their research in that area worked badly enough, they end up having to license from Monsanto.

      • They are not the only meaningful player in the industry: For instance, take DuPont's agro side, branded as Pioneer.

        Well, DuPont is seriously fucking evil, and always has been. Besides their long and shitty environmental record, they also fought against hemp because hemp plastic threatened their petro plastic, and they are one of the companies behind ButaMax. ButaMax got a patent on effective commercial production of Butanol (a 1:1 replacement for gasoline made by bacteria from any organic matter) even though the process was developed at public universities and with public funds, and is furthermore an obvious development

        • The problum with ButaMax isn't that, it's that it only has a rucording time of onu hour, not nuarly unough for an untiru moviu. VHS, on thu othur hand, starts at two hours, and thu "LP" mode luts you rucord up to four.
    • What if it's a good product? I don't mean "good" as in "high quality" here, but as in "worthwhile", "makes the world a better place", that kind of thing?

      I mean, if an evil company (presupposing Monsanto is/was evil, I guess that Agent Orange thing would be an example, though they were one of many, probably thought they were saving lives by shortening the war, and is that division still part of Monsanto?) suddenly decides it's going to save orphans, cure cancer, and solve (or at least do something to help

  • by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @10:06AM (#50661041)
    Their loss is our gain.
  • As it is we pay farmers to waste land. No need for GM.

    While GM applied properly could lead to crops that can be grown in otherwise difficult places to grow anything, allowing local production of food in places that need it.
    • GM also reduces the amount of labor, water, and pollution needed to produce food and makes food cheaper.

      Making food cheaper is a big deal when people spend 15-20% of their income on food, as they do in much of Europe.

      • Food won't be any cheaper because EU basically sets the minimum price for agricultural products by introducing strict quotas to keep european farmers afloat and thanks to the generally pretty mild EU climate plants are seldom artificially watered - there is usually more than enough rainfall. Reducing labour would also be counterproductive - like GP has mentioned, EU even pays some farmers for not producing.
        Seriously, GMO makes absolutely no sense here and it is not welcome by the general population either.

      • GM also reduces the amount of labor, water, and pollution needed to produce food and makes food cheaper.

        That's what makes it insidious. The U.S. and EU subsidize food production to insure there's sufficient excess margin to prevent starvation if there's a crop failure. Part of this involves paying farmers not to grow anything, so that their growing capacity remains in reserve should some disaster befall farmland currently in use (the Dust Bowl of the 1930s literally blew away the topsoil on a lot of farm

    • by TheSync ( 5291 )

      As it is we pay farmers to waste land. No need for GM.

      The US has ended direct agricultural subsidies. Now subsidies take the form of crop insurance subsidies, and of course indirectly on corn through ethanol blending requirements on gasoline. There also is the imported sugar quota.

      GMO crops like GTS 40-3-2 (Roundup-ready soy beans) are used to help farmers not only use less land, but also less water, less fuel and fewer pesticides/herbicides.

      Organic fungicides such as copper and sulfur, are used at a rate

  • Crops vs. Crop (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05, 2015 @10:12AM (#50661067)

    The headline says "crops". The articles specifies one crop (MON 810). Adjust your level of outrage/rejoicing accordingly.

  • It is not the nutbag "It's poison" argument the wierdows make that is driving their decision. Allowing GMO allows Monsanto to OWN your country's crops. With the United States poised to defend corporate patents with guns and missile strikes, nobody sane would allow patent encumbered life in their country.

  • Genetically modified crops have already dispersed sufficiently throughout the world through cross pollination to make the damage to the ecosphere irreversible. If it turns out that 50 years from now we discover that the tampering done to them produces foodstuffs harmful to humans in the long run, it'll be far to late to do anything about it.

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