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Wednesday, June 2, 1999 Published at 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK


You back prince on GM crops

Prince Charles: "Spot on", thought most users

BBC News Online users have overwhelmingly backed Prince Charles in his stance over genetically-modified (GM) crops.

Food under the microscope
By lunchtime on Wednesday, more than 400 e-mails had been received on the issue. Of these, over 75% backed the prince, who in an impassioned newspaper article questioned whether science should be meddling with the "very stuff of life".

The majority of his supporters echoed his concerns over the possible long-term environmental consequences of GM crops.

Typical was David Harrison from the UK, who compared GM to the devastating chemicals DDT and Thalidomide.

[ image:
"Like testing anthrax in the middle of a housing estate"
"To put this stuff in food, and to grow it (even on test sites) in the open, is like testing anthrax in the middle of a housing estate, to see if it's safe," he said.

M Maclean from the US agreed."Every time we mess around with nature, we mess it up.

"We spend years trying to correct what we did, which usually makes it worse. An example being the introduction of rabbits to Australia."

However, others thought that the prince, although well meaning, was misguided.

Quinn Farnes from the US said GM foods have been around for centuries. "Every food crop that we use in any way has been modified genetically. None is to be found growing in the wild."

'Taking advantage of position'

Bob Staines agreed. "It's too late to worry about GM foods. We've being messing around with nature since the dawn of time so why stop now?"

Others were concerned that the Prince of Wales is using his position to interfere in national affairs at which he is not an expert.

"He is entitled to his opinions, but should he be allowed to take advantage of his position in this way?" said Alan Winzor of England.

[ image:
"Let people make an informed decision"
"What is needed, surely, is more populist education. Let people make an informed decision, if that is at all possible in today's 'soundbite' world," he said.

Malcolm MacCandless from Scotland agreed. "I support an open debate on GM foods. I do not support people in a privileged position dominating the debate," he said. "That goes for Emperor Blair as well as Prince Charles."

Others welcomed the prince for taking a stand against a government that appears to be refusing to listen to the public.

Raoul Bhambral from Wales said: "The government seems not to care about public opinion, nor do they care about those of their advisors, namely English Nature and the BMA.

"Now that there is such a loud cry against these foods, maybe we can persuade the government to stop pandering to American multi-national companies, which have their own interests at heart, not the interests of the people or the planet."

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