In a recent article and radio interview with ABC Rural, Prof Rachel Ankeny explained that the public does not necessarily oppose the science and technology of genetic modification (GM), but is concerned with its use in agriculture.
Prof Ankeny’s research on community attitudes towards food reveals that people make a distinction between GM science itself and its application in agriculture. Many people support the use of GM technology in medicine, where the public benefit is more obvious, but oppose its use in food production because of a perceived tendency for values to be coopted by profit.
She explains that: “People are saying ‘I’m not opposed to the process or the science of GM, but I’m worried about the ownership by multinationals, I’m worried about who is going to benefit in particular, who is making the profit, I’m worried because it doesn’t seem like the kinds of crops or the kinds of interventions proposed are actually a real benefit, except in terms of profit.'”
Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale recently made a similar statement, citing scientific evidence about the safety and potential benefits of GM technology. But he expressed concern about the application of GM in agriculture, raising questions about intellectual property, increased use of pesticides, and freedom for farmers to choose what they grow. Greens policy continues to support a moratorium on the release of GM crops.