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Green Kills

Families buying meat for barbecues are unlikely to be aware of their food’s controversial links because the labels on packaging will be no different from normal meat.

Note the “families” there and think of the children! As to the labelling that’s because it isn’t different to normal meat. And as to barbecues the same advice applies as to general food hygiene. Essentially you are more likely to go down with terrible guts from an under-cooked chicken breast than develop super powers (and possibly use them for evil) as a result of insane men in white coats meddling with things they don’t understand in Bavarian castles. Or something.

Campaigners for new controls were defeated after 12 hours of talks between the 27 EU states and the European Parliament failed to agree a law to manage the industry.

Like that is their job? Why is it their job?

Anyway it’s a non-issue. You want a real one. The double muscled Belgian Blue cow. So heavily muscled it’s calves have to be delivered by C-section. Now that is obscene and it is not the work of anything other than good old selective breeding and not loons with eppendorf tubes and an Igor cowering behind the Jacob’s ladder in the Schloss. Most scientists are more concerned about their next funding review and not about auditioning for a Hammer movie. Of course they do “meddle with things they don’t understand” but that’s research. Meddling with things understood is a waste of time. Scientifically speaking it’s down. It’s done.

The failure to toughen legislation means that so-called “Frankenfoods” – which come from ancestors whose DNA was altered – could be on supermarket shelves in the UK within months, subject to approval.

Messing with nature, playing God. People have said that about everything since God knows when. And seeing as God relies heavily on holy books they probably said it about writing too – where will it end? As to the weasel words of “so-called ‘Frankenfoods’”… Well, that was applied to GMO and not cloning but when the peasants have seized the torches and pitchforks such pretty distinctions are hardly likely to diminish the blood-dimmed tide. And you know calling something something doesn’t actually make it so.

Scores of dairy cows from cloned parents are already being reared on British farms.

Why am I thinking this is now one for Mark Wadsworth? Radioactive mutant Godzilla cows on the rampage. Very much his schtick.

This piece from The Telegraph is beyond parody. The comments are (in part – some are sensible) something else…

brian-dickson says…

” authorise cloning for commercial purposes”…. so shagging is out, it seems they can’t reproduce fast enough for the desired amount of profit. (tongue-in-cheek).

Honestly, can chemical companies and scientists keep their experiments away from our food? It’s getting near impossible to eat food that is ‘untainted and natural’. Something that should concern every mature and responsible citizen.

Note the scare quote which mean he knows fuck all about what he is holding forth on. I mean really! If it is truly natural and healthy and Strength Through Joy and all that why the quotes? Why? Note also the use of the word “chemical” as if everything isn’t made from chemicals anyway. I hve noted some shysters trying to sell “organic salt”. To anyone with a chemistry GCSE the idea is risible.

jeremiah_methusela says…

We are what we eat, but we don’t know what we are eating. We do not know the long-term effects of eating GM food.

But the EU does nothing.

When will the English wake up ?

I can’t even start with that utter pig ignorance. So if I eat hummus I become a chickpea. What best bollocks!

HedleyC says…

Naturally, we’re against it. But government’s are fundamentally made up of corrupt scum who only love money.

Why Hedley are we “naturally against it”. Did your great grandpappy protest against aeroplanes because he was naturally against it? And if God had wanted men to fly he would have created us with wings. I hate your assumption. I am by training a scientist. I did physics but almost did genetics and your “Royal we” makes me want to stick my degree certificates up the deranged clacker you clearly speak from. Oh, I shouldn’t say that! I almost called him an arsehole didn’t I? This is unfair to the anus which carries out a necessary though unglamorous job generally rather well. Unlike Hedley who is a twat. Though twats have their uses too. It is a disservice to any part of the human body apart from possibly the appendix to compare Hedley to them.

William Topping says…

Can the DT explain why this article is hidden away?

Why they have a picture of a house that looks like Hitler as one of their main articles instead?

Well, it isn’t hidden, it’s on the front page. And the “Hitler house” is at least funny whereas this just is nuts. It’s just deranged piss-poor Bud Lite journalism raising the hackles of luddites who think George Stephenson’s moving tea kettle was a step too far.

William goes further…

A bloody disgrace.

I need to buy a f**king TV license, but it’s ok for the big multinationals to not label if the food I am eating has been genetically altered.

William, assuming your were born of a man and a woman who mixed their DNA in either the traditional way or had the help of moustachioed fanny mechanic Lord Winston in the conservatory with the turkey baster then you are genetically modified. You could though be a lab mistake. You sound like it.

And it goes on. Will.i.am has another bite at the “organic” cherry. If there is anything I hate more than anything it is ludditism. These people are actively preventing the feeding of 7 billion (it will hit that this year). This feeds into the Optimum Population Trust schtick because by banning agrarian advances they cause their beloved population crisis. I live in one of the most densely populated countries on Earth with maybe 62 million others. I don’t feel crowded. And this is not because I’m rich because I’m definitely not. GMO and cloning is the “Horse Hoeing Husbandry” of this century. It is this century pissing on the grave of Malthus from the stratospheric height that jet planes enable us. It is a thing of progress. If like nuclear power and so many other things it is just let rip just imagine that? We are learning how to control genomes at the molecular level. Is that not swell? The same sorts of doom-mongers probably said much the same when Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse first generated alternating current or The Italian Navigator entering the New World and found the natives very friendly.

If our society has gone bad it is due to this insane anti-science. This is not the 1950s any more where every housewife in the USA desired a nuclear vacuum cleaner and every kid just knew they’d live on cities on the moon and eat food pills, possibly whilst using a jetpack. This is the endarkening. This is retreat. Look at this. So what is going to keep the lights on Clegg? What is going to bang the ‘trons because without electricity we are to use a technical term, “fucked”.

How did we get here? How did we go from kids in the ’50s (or in my case the ’70s and ’80s) who wanted to be astronauts or nuclear physicists or look to the stars and see our future and not our doom and now want to be George Monbiot and develop “sustainably” in a fucking yurt like some deranged parody of The Good Life but without Felicity Kendal’s callipygian form and only Richard Briers ratty old sweater? How did we learn such reckless self hatred? Apologies to King Theoden there. How? How can Clegg get away with such tomfoolery? When was the last time Britain had an 8.9 Clegg? When? And quite frankly Mr Clegg you are saying that to keep the Lib-Dem nut-roots happy with such a statement and you are prepared to do it from a soap-box constructed of tens of thousands of dead people. Dead because of nothing to do with nuclear energy. In fact if that quake and tsunami hadn’t happened in a highly advanced economy like Japan but in a poor country we’d be talking hundreds of thousands. We’d be talking Indonesia on Boxing Day. Clegg, you disgust me. You vile man. You utterly opportunistic cunt. The party of Gladstone? If he was still with us Clegg he wouldn’t be using his axe on trees.

Yeah, we have problems… But we can muddle through if we are allowed because money, resources, people and innovations solve problems. We just have to be allowed. We can’t retreat because that will make things worse. That is what scares me because it would be a vicious circle. It would mean we would be less able to deal with our problems which would amplify them and would be spun by the luddites as a reason for further retreat and so on. Feedback.

Look at it this way. Would Uganda have the problems it has if it had the GDP per capita of Singapore? Yet they tell us to live more like the Ugandans and less like the Singaporeans. By banning the technology that could feed the billions of this planet they make their prophecy of doom self-fulfilling. And for that I hate them. We can sort it, if we are allowed. But they don’t want that do they?

It would prove them wrong.

From here.

I went to Sainsburys today. They security tag the better cuts of meat now. apparently the middle class are now lifting their “Taste the Difference” chicken breasts.

Bring on the Soylent Green!

11 Comments

  1. ivan says:

    There are two things to consider here.

    1. The papers have to have several scare stories on the go at once and since the reactors in Japan have been stubborn and not blown up they have to ride this hobby horse.

    2. The education system over the last 30 to 40 years has moved away from science, mathematics and engineering and ended up with media studies and the like which does not need logical thought, or indeed, any thought at all.

    It is therefore unsurprising that the comments are what they are – indeed I would expect them to be even more uninformed with this as they are about nuclear radiation and reactors used to generate power (even the excellent articles in the Register have their share of uninformed comments – and this is from people that should know better).

  2. Lynne says:

    Yesterday I was wondering whether to cover this story or the Clegg fuckulence. You did this one some major justice. It never ceases to amaze me that people can’t see that a cloned cow is still 100% cow. It is not the same as a transgenic animal like a glowing pig.

  3. alan says:

    The only real problem with GM crops is that there isn’t enough safety testing. The GM agro industry has been lucky so far and the food has been safe to eat, but its only a matter of time before they have a Thalidomide moment.

    In the pharmaceutical industry we test compounds for 10 years for safety (and efficacy) and even then the system if not perfect. GM companies refuse even basic clinical trials for safety. A quote from the Monsanto website…

    “Further, it is impossible to design a long-term safety test in humans, which would require, for example, intake of large amounts of a particular GM product over a very large portion of the human life span. There is simply no practical way to learn anything via human studies of whole foods.”
    (http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/food-safety.aspx#q2)

    DDT was once the wonder insecticide, until its wider effects became understood. Now the use of DDT is banned. We have not learnt the lesson from DDT and we should be more prudent about the adoption of GM crops.

    I agree that the general anti-science meme is wrong, but corporations taking reckless short cuts, and governments failing to learn the lessons of history only help breed distrust in science.

  4. NickM says:

    Alan,
    I have to disagree and agree with the Monsanto quote. It’s not doable. The influence on human health of diet is a minefield. Does a week go by without some research branding a certain food a “superfood” or a “killer”. Ha\ve you seen the Daily mail list of things that cause cancer? Or their list of things that prevent cancer? Have you seen the intersection of those two sets.

    “I agree that the general anti-science meme is wrong, but corporations taking reckless short cuts, and governments failing to learn the lessons of history only help breed distrust in science.”

    No. People need to learn that science is not a set of absolute truths and the fact they sometimes cock-up is no reason to distrust the entire enterprise. Moreover it goes both ways. The AGW hysteria is causing and will continue to cause a distrust of science. And is that not a sort of careful now, precautionary principle thing?

  5. alan says:

    Nick,
    Perfect testing is not doable, but that doesn’t stop looking for shorter term problems. Cancer isnt really the major issue for safety. Typically if you ingest something nasty it causes much more rapid, and easily detected, problems with major body systems, skin, liver, kidneys, immune system etc. Basic clinical trials 101 that pharma already perform.

    Yes, health and diet is a minefield. Pharma has similar issues, so drug x & y might be safe on their own, but not together. A double blind trial of, say, non-gm soy vs gm soy is very specific and if you can detect problems after a few weeks then its a good bet there are major problems in the long term.

    I work in pharma so I laugh (and get angry) about about the DM/Indy/Gard childish health scares.

    GM crops are relatively new and being prudent costs very little. AGW is a whole different subject and gutting our current energy systems will cost trillions. The two subjects are not really comparable.

    I should have been more explicit as I was referring to GMO’s, not unforeseen scientific cock-ups in general.

  6. I think you’re guilty of the same knee-jerkism that you find on the other side of this. You admit to hating ludditism, which perhaps causes you to suspend a little rationality. There are a number of studies that have found GM food to be very far from safe, and the benefits from GM crops (such as increased yields) are open to question, to say the least. On top of this, the activities of Monsanto should give you pause for thought. If you care about property rights, it should bother you that farmers are getting sued for patent violation because Monsanto seed has spread into their fields. If you are happy to eat this stuff, fine, but do you agree with the GM lobby that labelling food as ‘GM-free’ should be banned?

    Characterising all those who oppose GM as unwashed hippies who dream of returning to some pre-industrial Eden is all very well, but not all change is progress in an onward and upward direction a la the Whig theory of history. Rather, as Thomas Kuhn set out, we have paradigm shifts. At the moment you are sticking to the paradigm that GM represents a great leap forward, and will not, it seems, consider the evidence contrary, never mind if it comes from reputable scientists rather than tree-hugging loons. Time will tell, I suppose.

  7. bloke in spain says:

    “If you care about property rights, it should bother you that farmers are getting sued for patent violation because Monsanto seed has spread into their fields.”

    This is an accusation I hear quite often from the anti GM lobby.

    Trouble is, I also hear the accusation that Monsanto force farmers to buy their seed because of the ‘suicide genes’ incorporated in the genotype preventing use of seed derived from a previous crop.

    Now either one accusation is true or the other. They both cannot be right.

  8. NickM says:

    Trooper,
    Being able to manipulate genomes at the molecular level is a great leap forward (and I don’t mean in the sense of Mao). I think the buggeration is that there will be inevitable fuck-ups long the way. I mean when Mr Ugg first brought fire into the cave there must have been “incidents”. Undoubtedly Mrs Ugg hit him with the jawbone of an ass because sparks singed her bearskin and that was a bloody wedding present! As to Kuhn – he is frequently seen as having said new paradigms are merely “different” rather than “better”. He vehemently denied this. I’ll come back to this later when I find my copy of “Structure…” Kuhn was not exactly a relativist.

  9. @ Bloke in Spain,

    “This is an accusation I hear quite often from the anti GM lobby”

    Yeah, because it’s true, it happens and there is an on-going counter suit going on at the moment by the Public Patent Foundation in the Federal District Court in Manhatten.

    The second part of what you say doesn’t effect the above in any way. I don’t know what it refers to, but may be to do with farmers not being permitted to save seed from one year to the next. Monsanto are very aggressive in enforcing their patents – which is another thing which is questionable on libertarian grounds.

    NickM,

    the point is new paradigms do not necessarily represent progress. As for the inevitable fuck-ups, they can be more easily avoided if proper tests are conducted before these crops are unleashed. The GM corps are happy, like you, to herald the great leap forward, but when it comes to testing, all of a sudden they want their products considered the same as the non-GMO.

    These crops cannot be contained, once they are being cultivated in the open. That has an effect on the property rights of other farmers who may wish to stick to non-GM crops, or dare I say it, grow ‘organic’ crops. Whether or not you scoff, there is a market for such produce, and if farmers are prevented from remaining organic because of other farmers growing GM crops, there is arguably a tort being committed, in the same way as there would be if a factory was leaking poisonous chemicals into the water.

  10. NickM says:

    Your point on property rights is duly noted Trooper and that is an issue but I don’t like your analogy with poison from a factory. It’s more likely you run a pleasant country gastro-pub with nice gardens and I stick a hog-rendering plant next to it.

    But basically I think the Soil Association ought to just fucking grow-up. One of the key activities of the geneticists is to try and reduce the need for pesticides and such. You’d think the SO would applaud this. They are the problem. Their purity standards are frigging ridiculous especially when the statute on food labeling means you can call it organic if it’s less than 4% GMO. You do appreciate that in may respects organic farming is more polluting and that can be a tort when it gets into the waterways too.

    So, yeah, I appreciate the land-ownership issue but that is an unbelievably tricky issue for libertarians and one I have often seen debated on Samizdata and places at length. It usually ends with Mark Wadsworth suggesting LVT and JP telling him to fuck off.

    But the point remains – all major tech breakthroughs are random walks roughly forward in the dark. Anyway how the fuck are Monsanto supposed to test their GM crops when the freaking Greens torch the test plantations. Note the Green agenda is officially – this is in Hansard – totally opposed to GMO in principle and regardless of scientific evidence. Their words, not mine.

  11. “One of the key activities of the geneticists is to try and reduce the need for pesticides and such.”

    Not exactly. Monsanto’s main stock-in-trade are ‘Roundup-Ready’ seeds, which are resistant to their herbicide Round-up, so farmers can blast the fields, killing everything but their crops (and the increasing number of weeds that have developed their own resistance).

    “Anyway how the fuck are Monsanto supposed to test their GM crops when the freaking Greens torch the test plantations.”

    This has happened a few times in Europe, but Monsanto have all the freedom to test them in America, but they don’t want to test them, they claim there is no need to test them because they are substantially the same as the non-GM.

    “But the point remains – all major tech breakthroughs are random walks roughly forward in the dark.”

    The very fact that it is such a major advance means that the consequences are potentially huge, for good or bad. There have been a number of scientific studies that go against the safety of GM crops. What happens next? You often get the Dr Pusztai syndrome: one day you’re an eminent scientist, next you’re a crank, as a tonne of bricks lands on your head. This doesn’t look like science, but politics, and in the case of Dr Pusztai’s research, the results were politically incorrect.

    There is a certain arrogance to suggest that the GM corporations have a right to blunder around in the dark, knocking things over and fucking things up, when the potential harm would be spread very widely, and to claim that their opponents are anti-science, when the evidence often doesn’t back up their grandliloquent claims (e.g. non-existent increased yields from GM cotton).

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