Scotland accused of playing politics, subverting science with GMO ban

| | August 14, 2015
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Scotland’s government has decided to prohibit the growing of genetically modified crops. Their main rationale is to avoid any possibility that premium Scottish exports such as whisky could be adulterated with GM material.

The government said it would shortly submit a request for Scotland to be excluded from any European consents for the cultivation of GM crops, including a variety of maize already approved and six other GM crops awaiting authorisation.

But not everyone is thrilled with the decision.

“Any Scottish farmer who may have been interested in using the technology has now officially lost his or her freedom to choose,” says Katarzyna Jasik of EuropaBio, a pan-European biotechnology trade association.

Ian Sands of the Scottish National Farmers Union says the ban is unnecessary because the GM maize already approved for European farmers to grow and the six other products under consideration aren’t suitable for growing in Scotland anyway.

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“It seems mad to ban it when we’re not using it anyway,” he says. “Surely if things come up that are more useful in the future, our farmers should be able to use them.”

Sands argues that one element behind the ban might be the determination of the Scottish administration to make its policies distinctive from those of the UK parliament in London, which openly backs GM crops.

“I think it’s flag-waving, an opportunity to be different,” he says.

A spokeswoman for the UK government says the decision was a matter for Scotland, but that the UK government’s commitment is to base its decisions on the scientific consensus.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Why Scotland will use new EU rule to ban the growing of GM crops

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