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http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,3604,1211481,00.html
 
RSPB letter excerpt:
 
However, his claim that GM crops allow low-till farming that is "the most beneficial to birds and wildlife" is deeply misleading. The field-scale trials clearly demonstrated what a disaster these crops can be for wildlife, drastically reducing the availability of seeds, an important food source for birds.
 
Letters

Organic approach to better food and environment

Friday May 7, 2004
The Guardian


Dick Taverne (The costly fraud which is organic food, May 6) tars all in organics with the same brush. There are extremes, as in every field. But the majority lie in the middle, happy to coexist.

Indeed, on a large estate, organic production can exist alongside non-organic. Many organic farmers believe in doing the best they can to support the environment and producing food as healthy and natural as is possible.

In doing so they increase choice for consumers - who are entitled to their own beliefs about the quality of the food they eat. Sensible exponents of organics do not make claims they cannot substantiate. Perhaps, in the nottoo- distant future, science will provide us with more data on which consumers and producers alike can decide. Until then, why don't we all simply keep working towards better food and improved sustainability, instead of trying to undo the good work that has been done to reassure the public about the excellent quality of all British food.
Richard Thompson
Organic Farmers & Growers

Dick Taverne would have us believe organic food is an expensive fad. In reality GM crops, dependent on highly toxic weedkillers, are much more likely to promote poverty and hunger.

While organic food is increasingly popular in Europe and the US, it can also benefit people in the developing world. The UN has recently said that organic farming methods can be a vital tool in promoting sustainable rural development.

Dick Taverne should isten to the experiences of real farmers in these places (see www.farmingsolutions.org).
Ben Ayliffe
Greenpeace UK

Integrated farm management, the more targeted use of chemicals, which Dick Taverne praises, probably delivers for wildlife, but the evidence is not, as yet, very convincing.

However, his claim that GM crops allow low-till farming that is "the most beneficial to birds and wildlife" is deeply misleading. The field-scale trials clearly demonstrated what a disaster these crops can be for wildlife, drastically reducing the availability of seeds, an important food source for birds.
Dr Mark Avery
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

I don't need TV chefs to tell me which foods taste better. My own experience tells me that certain organic products consistently taste better than their non-organic equivalents - yoghurt, cream and eggs being three of these. And the idea of trebling food production to feed the world's starving millions is ridiculous.

Better that the western world reduces its wasteful patterns of food consumption and we solve the problem of hunger by redistribution.
Corin Ashwell
London

Dick Taverne is so reassuringly sensible about the safety of paracetamol, I almost forgot its sale was restricted in the UK because of the 100- 150 deaths a year it caused.
Nick Coupland
University of Alberta