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GM Freeze Response: NFU Scotland Call for More GM “Train Wrecks”

Immediate release (25 Mar 2010)

Calls to Eve Mitchell 01381 610 740.

On 25 March 2009 GM Freeze met with NFUS President Jim Mclaren and NFUS Chief Executive James Withers. At the meeting they expressed the view that the US experience of GM had been a “train wreck” and expressed the view that it should not be repeated in the UK.

GM herbicide resistant crops are causing US farmers increasing problems and costs due to increasing resistance to Roundup (glyphosate), the herbicide used with GM.

Yet today their statement calls for faster approvals of GM for both import and cultivation of GM in the EU.

Commenting Eve Mitchell, GM Freeze Coordinator, said:

A year ago today NFUS President Jim Mclaren and NFUS Chief Executive James Withers told GM Freeze they thought GM agriculture in the US has been a ‘train wreck’ that should not be repeated in the UK. Today they are calling for more GM more quickly.

The only thing that has changed in that year is that new evidence has come out questioning the safety of GM crops and that, with the addition of kochia (fireweed), there are now some 130 types of weeds resistant to herbicides used on GM crops infecting 11 million acres of farmland spreading in 40 US states. Meanwhile, Monsanto in India admit that a major cotton pest (bollworm) can now withstand their GM varieties designed to kill them.

Maybe the NFUS aren’t reading the right papers, because this policy is not only unwelcome, it’s unfounded and unwise. Clearly the NFUS leadership need to start getting GM information from a wider range of sources than they are obviously doing at present.

Scottish farmers are relying on the NFUS leadership to protect their interests and livelihoods. The evidence from the US and elsewhere suggests that many farmers deeply regret their dash into GM crops because they are increasingly causing serious problems on the farm.