Azara Blog: Environment minister says Prince Charles should put up or shut up

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Date published: 2008/08/17

The BBC says:

The environment minister has challenged Prince Charles to prove his claim that GM crops could cause a global environmental disaster.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Phil Woolas said it was now down to the opponents of genetically modified food to prove it was unsafe.

"If it has been a disaster then please provide the evidence," he said.

On Wednesday Prince Charles said firms developing GM crops risked the biggest environmental disaster "of all time".

The government's initial response to the prince's comments in sister paper the Daily Telegraph was to say that it welcomed all voices in the "important" debate and that safety was a priority.

However, on Sunday Mr Woolas went further, saying it was the government's "moral responsibility" to investigate whether genetically modified crops could help provide a solution to hunger in the developing world.

"We see this as part of our Africa strategy," he said.

"It's easy for those of us with plentiful food supplies to ignore the issue but we have a responsibility to use science to help the less well off where we can.

"I'm grateful to Prince Charles for raising the issue. He raises some very important doubts that are held by many people.

Well, Prince Charles should not have to "prove" anything, but he should certainly "provide the evidence" (which does not exist) that his hysterical claim has some basis in reality. And it is not just people in poor countries that will benefit from GM, it is also ordinary people in rich countries. British people are already paying higher food bills because of they hysterical anti-GM requirements of British food. And that is going to get worse the next few years, not better. But needless to say, Prince Charles, and his fellow travellers (most of whom are academic middle class), are not the ones who are going to suffer as a result.

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