More on false claims by David King
More false claims about GM produce by former chief scientist
Western Gazette (UK), February 11 2010
THE Government's GM Public Debate revealed widespread mistrust of Government and multi-national companies.
With another "public dialogue" imminent will people have reasons to change their minds?
Taking a look at very recent events let's see what information is being fed to the nation and by whom.
Former UK chief scientist Professor David King is busy again. Previously he's claimed that flood resistant rice was GM when it was non-GM. Recently, in a speech to the annual City Food Lecture in London's Guildhall, he's claimed millions have died due to reluctance by some countries to permit GM crops. Speaking about flood-resistant rice, he said it would be available much sooner had it been GM. The truth is very different - rice researchers tried producing a GM variety and failed.
It's not the first time he has made false claims about GM crops. He told listeners on BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We're going to need to get cleverer. More crop per drop. And we need the technology that can deliver it, and in my view that's GM."
Prof King offered an example to prove it. However, the Push-pull maize project in Kenya, his example of how GM was transforming agriculture, was based on non GM techniques. It involved companion planting to suppress weeds and repel insects and was nothing to do with GM.
Following complaints, and truth-seeking Parliamentary Questions by Dorset MP Robert Walter, Prof King admitted to "an honest mistake". However, he was not honest enough to make a public apology.
That a senior scientist like Prof King assumed this successful project was GM-based illustrates how UK research and development has gone down the GM route, and taken people's ability to think independently along with it.
This trend continued last month with the appointment of Professor Maurice Moloney as chief executive of Rothamsted Research, probably the UK's leading agricultural research establishment.
Previously Prof Moloney led the group that developed the world's first transgenic seeds which included Roundup Ready Canola. He currently holds 300 gene patents. Patents are used by companies to restrict use by other plant breeders.
In 2008, Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser spoke in Dorset about how Monsanto had used patent law to prevent him using canola he had bred over many seasons after they had been contaminated with Roundup Ready canola.
Unlike Schmeiser, many farmers have settled out of court so are unable to speak about similar disastrous experiences.