Commentary: A ban on genetically engineered crops?
Despite a quarter century of promises, agricultural biotechnology has yet to provide any concrete advancements towards reducing world hunger, ameliorating global malnutrition, combating…, creating miracle drugs through GE [genetically engineered] plants or animals, or climate change." (WRONG!)
On Feb. 25, 2014, this statement was made by the Center for Food Safety, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Beyond Pesticides, and Center for Biological Diversity in a petition filed with the Secretary of Interior that seeks to ban genetically engineered crops from being used on National Wildlife Refuges.
These anti-agriculture nongovernmental groups, as usual, do a terrific job in putting their case into context. Their petition against the use of GE crops shows the legal authority to ban GE crops, examples of GE crop bans in numerous towns in the United States and in other countries.
The NGOs' claim that GE crops are being unlawfully grown on National Wildlife Refuges across the nation and that GE crops pose "significant threats" to NWRs.
If these groups are successful in banning GE crops grown on NWRs, it will not be long before the same claims are made against farmers who use GE seeds everywhere else.
The NGOs' 61-page petition is a blueprint for attempting to destroy the use of genetically engineered seeds and crops. The petition also requests Fish and Wildlife Services to prohibit the use of neonicotinoids. (I will write a separate piece on the banning of neonicotinoids later.)
The NGOs ignore overwhelming proof of GE crop benefits. They do not acknowledge the U.K.'s Secretary of State for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Owen Patterson, who says that nongovernmental organizations such as the Center for Food Safety are "casting a dark shadow over attempts to feed the world."
He says of such groups, "It's just disgusting that little children are allowed to go blind and die because of a hang-up by a small number of people about this technology."
Patterson adds, "If there ever was a clear-cut cause for outrage it is the concerted campaign by…nongovernmental organizations as well as by individuals against golden rice." You'll recall that golden rice is a genetically engineered rice seed that boosts vitamin A.
The British Environment Minister has gone so far as to say that public interest groups opposing GE crops such as golden rice are "wicked".
Notwithstanding this strong condemnation, NGOs are asking the Department of Interior and FWS to declare that farming with GE crops is not a compatible use for refuge lands.
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