PANTS ON FIRE -- VOTING DEADLINE TODAY 18 MAY
*1. The Institute of Public Affairs - smearing indigenous NGOs
*2. Scottish Enterprise - pushing BIO propaganda into schools
*3. The John Innes Centre - biospinology at its finest
Farmer rethinks GM crop trial
Friday, 18 May, 2001, 07:32 GMT 08:32 UK
[Mr Cottle's farm is the only one in Wales hosting trials]
The farmer involved in the only GM crop trial in Wales is considering abandoning the experiment. John Cottle, who farms near Sealand in Flintshire, says he will make a final decision next week, but admits he still thinks genetically modified crops hold great benefits for farming.
On Thursday, he held a lengthy meeting with Welsh Agriculture Minister, Carwyn Jones. The minister - who is leading the Welsh Assembly's opposition to GM trials - met Mr Cottle on neutral ground at a hotel in Welshpool, Powys.
Mr Jones had admitted it was a last-ditch attempt to persuade the farmer to abandon the experiment with treated fodder maize and keep Wales GM-free. But, after discussions lasting more than three hours, Mr Cottle agreed to consider digging up the seeds, giving the assembly more time to debate the whole issue.
The crop is due to be harvested in October, and Mr Cottle remains convinced of the merits of genetic modification. "The sprays we are using with this GM maize is so much more friendly to the environment compared with what is used in conventional farming," he said.
"The GM plant has been tested for 20 years and nothing untoward has ever happened to it with it.
"It is safe."
-After two crop trials in Pembrokeshire were abandoned, the Sealand scheme is the only one left in Wales. Now the assembly and environmentalists are hoping that too will be abandoned - at least temporarily.