“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The truth is lurking down on the farm

Environment Minister Owen Paterson has come out very strongly in favour of lifting the EU ban on GM crops, going as far as suggesting that a failure to embrace genetic modification will result in damage to both European agriculture and the environment. The trouble is that the science is so complex that it's difficult for most of us to develop an informed opinion. We tend to just end up taking on board a range of pro and anti propaganda some of which we suspect is Monsanto marketing strategy dressed up as concern for both the hungry and the environment, and some that sounds a lot like organic back to nature lets all join hand and get in touch with Mother Earth pseudo-science of the worst kind. The truth is out there but scientists need to help us ordinary unlettered folk to find it if we are to get beyond prejudice and jerking knees.
One agricultural conundrum that I can get my head around the issue of feeding pigs with swill. This practise was banned when the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak was traced to a swill feeding pig farm. But we waste as much as 30% of our food in this country and properly treated domestic and catering waste is a cheap and reliable feed for pigs especially for the small scale producer. The pig is natures very own organic wast disposal unit. The trouble is that although we don't like our meat to be produced on agri-business factory farms, in the past few decades  we have gone out of our way to make life difficult for the small scale producer. There is a movement afoot to take another look at this problem and how nice to see that Stepney City Farm is playing a major role in this. It ain't rocket science - or GM.

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