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

GMO protest
GMO protest
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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