GLOBAL 2000 on genetic engineering
The majority of people in Austria know that genetically engineered crops do not belong on our fields just as they do not belong on our plates. No advantages compensate for the many risks genetic engineering poses. But a handful of corporations – among the Monsanto, Bayer and BASF – and their lobbyists are trying to establish agricultural genetic engineering with politicians and scientists in Europe.
Genetic engineering and agriculture: countless risks – no advantages
The industry and certain politicians never seem to tire of promoting the advantages of agricultural genetic engineering: they speak of increased revenues, less chemistry on the fields, fighting world hunger, and the generation of jobs. None of these big promises have been fulfilled. Rather, the contrary seems to be true: US Farmers have not seen an increase in revenue despite growing half of all the world’s genetically engineered crops. In the case of genetically engineered soy beans, US farmers even saw a decrease in revenue. Most studies find that the use of pesticides increases dramatically when genetically engineered crops are used. This is especially true for soy beans, but also for maize. Furthermore, there is no factual evidence that agricultural genetic engineering generates jobs. Instead, genetic engineering is a means of economizing farms and thus destroys jobs. Ultimately, world hunger has not declined in any way. All genetically engineered crops available on the open market are geared towards the industrialized agricultures of the North and not towards the regional needs and small agricultural structures of the poor countries in the South.
The alleged chances of agricultural genetic engineering are outweighed by the risks:
The increased use of pesticides pollutes the environment and the health effects of genetically engineered foods have not been determined. Farmers carry considerable economical risk as they may not be able to sell their harvest in the case of genetic pollution. The growing of genetically engineered crops in Austria’s small-structured agriculture might mean the end of being able to choose whether to produce – and to eat – food that has no background of genetic engineering.