The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman, has controversially backed the use of genetically modified crops in the UK.
The move has come as a surprise to many as the Tories have not traditionally supported the use of GM crops, and even the previous Labour administration was hesitant to use the technology due to fears of a negative reaction towards ‘Frankenstein Foods’ by the public.
Now the Environment Secretary believes that under the right circumstances, and without the use of taxpayer’s money, work should begin on developing practicable methods of genetic modification. “The principle of GM technology is ok if used well. The technology can be beneficial. GM can bring benefits in food to the marketplace. The sale should not be promoted by the taxpayer,” said Spelman.
“Lord Henley [the new environment Minster] has approved a trial of a potato blight-resistant variety. That’s the kind of modification that can reduce the amount of agro-chemicals which need to be applied.”
Spelman has a history of backing the use of GM having spent 15 years being involved in the agricultural industry and working as a director of biotechnology lobbying firm Spelman, Cormack and Associates, a role which her husband continues lead in, which has led to criticisms from anti-GM organizations.
In her first speech as DEFRA Secretary Spelman also took time out to wage holy war on badgers, ordering a population cull due to a supposed link to bovine tuberculosis, though fears of a militant, anti-coalition badger uprising is widely believed to be the real reason behind the decision.