Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced that the country will ban GMOs. In April, the EU proposed legislation that would speed up the process for approving GMOs for import into Europe, but it allows member states to ban GMOs within their own borders. Scotland has decided to take the EU up its concession. Reuters reports:
Scotland’s devolved government said on Sunday it intended to ban the growing of genetically modified (GM) crops on its territory to protect its “clean and green brand” and because there was little evidence that Scottish consumers wanted GM products.
“There is no evidence of significant demand for GM products by Scottish consumers and 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-pound ($22 billion) food and drink sector,” [said Lochhead].
“Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment—and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status,” said Lochhead. But not everyone agrees the move is so benign. The Guardian quotes Murdo Fraser, a Scottish Conservative: “I think this decision puts superstition before science. There’s a very strong scientific consensus that GM foods could be hugely beneficial, increasing the volume of food for the world’s population.”
Of the two politicians, Fraser is the one with his facts right. Despite popular movements against the crops and the modern environmental movement’s demonization of the technology, GMOs have time and time again been shown to be safe for human consumption. Not only that, they’re capable of feeding more people on less land in more extreme conditions with fewer pesticides. In other words, they’re the best hope we’ve got for feeding a global population Malthusian greens insist is on the cusp of exploding, and in the warmer, more extreme climate that the same group ceaselessly reminds us is right around the corner.
By banning GMOs, Scottish officials are putting the plaudits of Luddite environmentalists before the interests of the planet.