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Don’t Believe the Hype: UK Citizens, Farmers Don’t Want GMOs – Surveys Say

Elizabeth Renter
July 25th, 2013
Updated 05/07/2014 at 7:09 pm
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geneticallymodified no 263x164 Don’t Believe the Hype: UK Citizens, Farmers Don’t Want GMOs Surveys Say

Image is actually of a protest at Zagreb,Croatia. 25th May 2013.

In the United Kingdom, there has been a growing push by the government to support genetically modified crops and the resulting foods. Sources say they’ve been marketing GM foods and crops as something the majority of farmers want and as something that is at the top of priorities for everyone in the country. But, as is the case with most modern governments, their facts seem a little hazy, particularly in light of a few new surveys that indicate not only do English citizens not want GM foods, but the farmers aren’t too thrilled either.

In England, the push for GMO support has reportedly been led by the country’s Farm Minister Owen Paterson, who says has been “trumpeting” the benefits and the played-out promises of GM giants like Monsanto for the whole country to hear. Paterson’s enthusiasm looks a little misdirected, however, when it’s held up next to the findings of two surveys funded by Barclays Bank and carried out by YouGov.

Only 21% of the UK public want genetically modified foods. Approximately 70% said they would prefer to buy traditional foods rather than those that are genetically modified. Not only that, they don’t want to government acting as some publicity arm of Monsanto—43% said they were “completely against” their government promoting GM foods.

Related Read: Italy to Ban Monsanto GMO Corn with 80% Support

While the UK government would have you think the farmers in that country are “clamoring” for GM seeds, another survey indicates that simple isn’t true either. This survey, in conjunction with Farmers Weekly, found that only 47% of UK farmers think that GM technology is good.  While this survey was used by the government to show support for the GM industry, with headlines touting 61% of farmers would grow GMOs if they could, the government-sanctioned press didn’t tell the whole story.

Thirty-nine percent of those farmers surveyed said they would either not grow GM crops under any circumstances or that they would only do it if they had to. Nearly one-fourth of those surveyed swore off GM crops completely.

Even more telling, the percentage of UK farmers willing to eat genetically modified foods. Only 15% would eat GM foods. Fifty-four percent would choose conventional foods and 24% would choose organic if they could.

As with the citizens, many farmers don’t believe the government should be acting as a PR rep for the GM seed companies. About 34% said it wasn’t their place. Instead, most believe the government should be focusing on reducing food waste and educating farmers in developing countries instead.

When governments hold the best interests of corporations above the best interests of the people, there is a problem. Globally, the people don’t want their foods genetically modified and because governments and corporate interests do, there is definitely a fight to be had.

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  • Martin

    I'm up for a fight against against all of these corrupt unnatural representatives of evil. I am from Wales UK, that's Britain if anyone is unsure. I live in the most rural part of Wales amongst the farming community although I am not a farmer. I do not know anyone around these parts in the farming community or in the local towns, who would knowingly grow, consume or promote GM foods.
    I am actively trying to support a natural insect pollinating environment in my garden and it is obvious to me and many others that we have more than enough problems with already accepted pesticides, that have decimated our natural habitats and wildlife.

    "A UK government report showed that 67 chemicals, including Agent Orange derivatives, dioxins and PCBs exclusively made by Monsanto, are leaking from the Brofiscin quarry, near Groesfaen in Wales, an unlined porous quarry that was not authorized to take chemical wastes. It emerged that the groundwater had been polluted since the 1970s.[100][101] The government was criticised for failing to publish information about the scale and exact nature of this contamination. The UK Environment Agency estimated that it would cost £100m to clean up the site, called "one of the most contaminated" in the UK".

    We don't want Monsanto or any other monsters in our beautiful country. We know you are already here and we want you out, O.U.T. out.

  • Sam Thorne

    Corporate Personhood: Corporations each have all the rights any human being has, but not the responsibility. Corporations can't even be incarcerated, much less executed, for behavior that would be capital crimes if committed by real people.

    Please engage your cynicism detector while reading the following:

    "What ever they damn well please", describes corporate and bureaucratic policy – policy written by committees convened for the ulterior motive of gathering adequate stupidity when the stupidity of one person won't suffice.

    Maybe that seems funny, but wouldn't it explain a few things?

    • Martin

      A very interesting point and one that should be brought to everyone's attention.

  • Ann

    Jacob McDaniels, what an intelligent comment.
    Kill the weeds with Roundup and Kill people too!
    Please educate yourself!

  • Jacob McDaniels

    Let's assume that this website actually printed the truth for a change, and say this article is correct. If there is not a problem with weeds or insects then Roundup and Bt crops truly are not needed or wanted by the farmers. Why would they want them. However, in this country where Cutworm and Rootworm are a serious problem then yes farmers do want them. Farmers also love Roundup for $3 an acre when they use to spray conventional chemicals that hardly ever worked for about $50 an acre.

    • Peter Piper

      Go and drink a litre of Roundup you numskull

    • Martin

      I don't know what page you are reading off but you are wrong. Farmers don't want it but manipulated economics and DEFRA are pulling the strings and make it all but impossible to farm any other way.