Posted: August 18, 2010
It is only human nature to take the freedoms that we have for granted. Likewise, freedom taken for granted is often taken away. Though this may seem like rambling waxing of the philosophical, today it applies to something vital to life in the United States and around the world – food.
In the U.S., we take affordable, plentiful food for granted. Most of the population isn’t familiar with where their food came from before the local market or how it was grown or raised. Instead, they happily enjoy the bounty produced by American farmers.
These farmers, along with all of modern agricultural, are under attack. Anti-agriculture groups fire off unsubstantiated accusations against the biotechnologically enhanced crops that make large harvests, key to keeping food affordable and providing enough to sustain growing populations, possible.
In Italy, one man is fighting back. Giorgio Fidenato is risking both criminal prosecution and large fines in order to highlight the importance of approving biotech crops for use in Italy.
Like much of the European Union, Italians do not have the freedom to determine the crops that they will grow. They cannot grow biotech crops, like the 12 acres of corn Fidenato planted, without risking imprisonment.
This leaves two big “why’s”? Why can’t they choose what they grow? And why would Fidenato, a farmer, risk becoming an avid supporter and protestor given the consequences?
As in Germany and France, a vocal fringe group took control of the conversation about food early in the game. They did not hold themselves to scientific standards when claiming that genetically engineered foods were harmful or undesirable. Instead, they relied on the weak, we just think that they could be argument and scare tactics to bully an unknowing public onto their side. This may provide food for thought while reading food propaganda state-side.
Why would Fidenato take this risk? Because he, like many others who understand the science behind and importance of modern agriculture, knows that it is essential to maintaining the world food supply.
He understands that these crops preserve the environment while raising yields. Technology allows growers to produce more grain per acre, growing more bushels of corn for the amount of pesticides and fertilizer used, and doing so more affordably with less disturbance of the environment.
He also understands that the end product is safe. Biotech crops are among the most thoroughly tested, following accepted international, scientific standards. Thirty-one regulatory agencies plus international scientific authorities have stated biotech crops are as safe as conventional crops.
It is easy to believe sensational claims. They can be scary and intimidate people into believing them “just to be safe.” But Fidenato knows what we lose if we allow the anti-ag in our country to dominate the national discussion. Instead of giving up our freedom to determine what crops we will grow and purchase, let’s make the rational decision. Take action now to let your views be known before anti-ag groups manage to raise the stakes.