Christian environmentalists have added their voice to criticism
of Government plans to approve the commercial exploitation of GM
Speaking in advance of a major conference on faith and the environment,
Chairman of Christian Ecology Link Tim Cooper, a university lecturer
in food and nutrition, today accused the Government of "a serious
breach in the moral fortitude that people should expect of government."
In response to revelations from Government committee papers leaked
to BBC's Newsnight programme on Wednesday Dr Cooper said:
"Evidence suggests that Government intends to use deceptive
arguments in trying to win over the public. But the possibility
that GM technology may be of future value to poor countries cannot
justifiably be used in a debate on growing GM maize in Britain.
Nor should the Government pretend that recent trials prove that
GM technology is safe while fully aware that these addressed biodiversity
but did not consider equally important concerns relating to gene
flow and soil condition."
"The church must demand greater honesty and integrity from
the Government in its so-called 'big conversation' with the British
public. When making its announcement on GM technology Government
ministers must not distort the truth."
The Government, he concluded, was "hearing but not listening"
to public opinion during last year's 'GM Nation' debate, which exposed
overwhelming public opposition to GM technology.
(1) An ecumenical conference Faith and the Environmental Imperative
takes place on Saturday 21 Feb in Hereford and will be addressed
by the Bishop of Hereford, Rt Revd John Oliver, Abbot Paul Stonham
and Sir John Houghton, with a closing presentation by Tim Cooper.
(2) The Evangelical Alliance Policy Commission, to which Dr Cooper
acted as adviser, concluded in its report Modifiying Creation that
"the issues raised by genetic modification involve spiritual
and ethical, as well as technological, considerations."