GM Free Cymru

To Rt Hon Owen Paterson: Your vociferous support for GMOs and Golden Rice

Date Added to website 14th January 2014

OPEN LETTER For the personal attention of:

Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP Secretary of State for the Environment DEFRA Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR

14th January 2014

Dear Mr Paterson

Your vociferous support for GMOs and Golden Rice

I have been increasingly intrigued by your vociferous and even strident support for GMOs in recent weeks, and by your adoption of Golden Rice as a vehicle for your attacks on "wicked" and emotional NGOs and consumers.

I believe that you have been seriously misinformed about the so-called benefits of GMO crops and foods, and about the realities of the Golden Rice Project; but it's your privilege to believe what you want to believe and to promote whatever seems to you a good idea, whatever the political and environmental consequences may be. Like all Secretaries of State, you make your bed and you lie in it......

There is one particular issue that is causing me -- as a taxpayer -- very great concern at the moment: namely your involvement in a bizarre event advertised for Brussels on the morning of 22nd January. This appears to be a meeting organized behind closed doors by EuropaBio, the trade association of the major European biotechnology corporations including Monsanto, Novartis, Syngenta, BASF and Beyer. They are, as you will be aware, not the most popular companies on the planet. The meeting is not even advertised on the EuropaBio web site. Neither is it mentioned on the web site of the small American / African non-profit organization called Growing Voices, which seems to be providing the "green front" for the meeting. As you will also be aware, the meeting is flagged up as part of a European tour by Patrick Moore, whose extraordinary web site is here:

You may or may not be aware that Patrick Moore has said of Greenpeace that its "blindness" has led to the actual blindness of 8 million people, mostly children. That is a completely nonsensical and outrageous accusation, and we hope that it will eventually lead Mr Moore to defend himself in court, where his ignorance will be revealed to the world at large.

You may also be aware that one of the other speakers will be Klaus Ammann, who has in the past entertained the media in Germany with his "Martin Luther" stunts:

And then you will have as your partner on the platform Ingo Potrykus, who has accused Greenpeace of "crimes against humanity" because of the organization's valid scientific concerns about Golden Rice, and who has complained bitterly about the biosafety checks imposed as a result of citizens' concerns throughout the world. Potrykus is also widely credited with originating and pushing high-pressure media campaigns involving the use of Golden Rice as a poster child for GMOs generally.

You might agree with me that these three individuals are not exactly mainstream representatives of the GM industry, and I look forward to seeing what their pronouncements might do for the reputation of EuropaBio and -- by association -- for the credibility of HM Government.

I will be grateful, therefore, if you will kindly answer the following questions:

1. Will you please confirm that you will be speaking at this Brussels event?

2. Will you please explain why you are attending -- presumably in your official capacity -- a closed event designed specifically to further the commercial ambitions of some of the largest GMO and biotechnology corporations on the planet?

3. Will you please explain why there is apparently no advance publicity and no public access to this event?

4. Finally, what will be the cost to the UK taxpayer of your attendance in Brussels and the attendance of other representatives of DEFRA?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Brian John GM-Free Cymru


January 22, 2014 - 09:00 to 13:00

EuropaBio: 'Growing Voices' event on Consumer Benefits of GM Crops Participation of Dr. Patrick Moore in a Growing Voices event: 'Healthy food – the untold story of GM crops' .

Representatives from Parliament. Politics, Consumer Organisations and Science. Other speakers include Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP and Ingo Potrykus, co-inventor of Golden Rice.

Renaissance Hotel, Rue du Parnasse 19, Brussels +32 2 505 29 29