ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
Date:  26 November 2000

The following is based on information provided by nlpwessex.

One of those invited to speak at the John Innes Centre almost entirely pro-GM gathering, ‘Global Agriculture 2020: which way forward?, is Jonathan Porritt.  But then establishment accolades have been coming thick and fast for JP of late.

He was at last year’s establishment Bilderberger meeting, see
ttp:// Porrit.  Then, of course, JP, who quickly condemned Greenpeace’s direct action against GM crops at Lyng last summer — action that a jury subsequently accepted as lawful — is now an environmental adviser to none other than Tony Blair.

So perhaps it is not such a surprise to find that in this week’s ‘Farmers Weekly’, under the headline, “Leading environmentalist sees benefits in GM trials, ” we read that Jonathan’s suddenly been sounding the positive note about GM crops.

“With the second generation of GM crops we are beginning to see there may be some real benefits, even if there are some risks,’ Jonathan recently told the CLA.

Still a bit surprising from a patron of the Soil Association who once said:  “ The huge arrogance of the companies developing GMO crops and their determination to destroy the line of accountability which links the developer to the product is breath-taking. When something goes wrong, as it inevitably will, there will be a great benefit to those who have taken a stance against genetically modified organisms.”

Inevitable problems are a long way from JP’s now nonchalant “some risks”.  Even further away is what he told the Telegraph in an article titled  “Beware the geneticists”(November 15 1997), in which he praised Greenpeace for pointing up the number of unexpected bloomers that had already occurred with GMOs.

JP went on to say: “The only certainty is that the “unexpected consequences” will grow in direct proportion to the number of  genetically  engineered products released into the environment.  And that will happen because the well-meaning Dr Frankensteins employed by companies such as Monsanto think they have got it all under control when they quite obviously haven’t - and **never will**.” [emphasis added]

Knighthood pending, Jonathan?

*  *  *
Leading environmentalist sees benefits in GM trials - Farmers Weekly, 24 November 2000

By John Burns ,South-west correspondent

Environmental campaigner Jonathon Porritt has spoken out against the “trashing” of genetically modified crop trials.

Mr Porritt, who is a patron of the Soil Association and former chairman of Friends of the Earth,
said he was reserving judgement on GM crops.

“I do not think it’s very sensible to go into fields and trash crops. I feel we need to do proper
evidence-based research to give us more information.”

Despite  widespread  public opposition to GM crops, the remarks are significant because Mr
Porritt advises the Prime Minister on environmental issues.

Nothing is inherently wicked, or immoral or unsustainable about genetic engineering, he said.
“Maybe it will produce some benefits in the future.”

Mr Porritt said the first generation of GM crops was of questionable usefulness to either consumers, farmers or the environment.

But biotechnology may eventually prove more beneficial than risky, he told a Country Landowners’ Association conference  “With the second generation of GM crops we are beginning to see there may be some real benefits, even if there are some risks.’

Mr Porritt said he wanted to avoid the absolutism of saying there should never ever be any
crops grown on any ground anywhere in the world.  It would not be responsible to say GM crops
should never be engaged in under any circumstances.

Meanwhile, fast food restaurant McDonald’s has pledged to ban meat from cattle reared on
GM feed. McDonald’s UK, which uses 30,000t of beef a year, took the decision because of public concern over GM technology.      •

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