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June 4, 2000


British royals divided over GM crops


AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com

Dear all,

The following news story shows that even in the UK, there is still
some hope for
GM foods.


Saturday, 3 June, 2000, 23:52 GMT 00:52 UK
Princess defends GM foods

Princess Anne: Organic food not the "overall answer"

The Princess Royal has spoken out in favour of genetically modified foods -
putting herself at odds with the views of the Prince of Wales.
In an interview with The Grocer magazine, she said those who were
opposed to all
GM foods were guilty of a "huge simplification" and that organic food
production is not an "overall answer".

Man has been tinkering with food production and plant development for such a
long time that it's a bit cheeky to suddenly get nervous about doing it

Princess Anne
Two weeks ago Prince Charles delivered a fierce attack on the dangers of
unrestrained scientific research, arguing that a world which ignores the
"essential unity" of the living and spiritual universes is doomed.

The Princess, who is the President of the British Association for the
Advancement of Science, told the magazine: "Man has been tinkering with food
production and plant development for such a long time that it's a bit cheeky to
suddenly get nervous about doing it when fundamentally you are doing much the
same thing.

"Of course shoppers feel the speed of change is too fast to understand what the
dangers are and where the weak points might be. And that seems to me to be a
perfectly valid argument.

'Life's not simple'

"But it is a huge oversimplification to say all farming ought to be organic or
there should be no GM foods. I'm sorry - but life isn't that simple.

"You can add value on the marginal farms through organics. But I feel they're
not an overall answer.

"If you consider things in terms of overall production and sheer weight of
numbers, of supporting a population which has so hugely increased,
then organics
is not the whole answer," said Princess Anne.

Prince Charles warns of the dangers of tampering with nature

Her brother is a long-standing advocate of organic farming techniques and, in a
Reith lecture broadcast on Radio 4 last month, said that "nature has come to be
regarded as a system that can be engineered for our own convenience ... and in
which anything that happens can be fixed by technology and human ingenuity".

He added: "If literally nothing is held sacred any more - because it is
considered synonymous with superstition or in some other way irrational - what
is there to prevent us treating our entire world as some great laboratory of
life, with potentially disastrous long-term consequences?"

He welcomed a "precautionary approach" to scientific advances and mocked those
who portray it as a sign of weakness or an attempt to halt progress, saying: "I
believe it to be a sign of strength and wisdom."

He said: "In this technology-driven age, it is all too easy for us to forget
that mankind is part of nature and not apart from it, and that this is why we
should seek to work with the grain of nature in everything we do."

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