Two weeks ago I bookmarked this entirely vacuous web page from something called Independent Catholic News.1 For all that time it gnawed vaguely at me. I felt I ought to respond. But why bother. They’re not listening. And yet, all it takes is for good people to do nothing ...

It’s about yet another campaign against Terminator technology, with all the usual mistaken rhetoric and inability to think straight.

Unless Terminator technology is stopped it could strike yet another blow to the ability of 1.4 billion of the world's poorest farmers to feed themselves. The seeds of Terminator plants do not grow and therefore would further erode farmers' traditional practice of saving seeds from harvest to plant the following year. Farmers would instead have to buy new seeds each year, which would be costly and increase their reliance on seed companies.

Oh yeah? And how are the “seeds of Terminator plants” going to get into the hands of those 1.4 billion farmers?

Perhaps they’ll buy them. But why would they do that? Why would they choose to lock themselves into a farming system and way of life that offers them absolutely no benefits?

Or perhaps the pollen will drift in on the wind or be carried by flying penes (if their colonies haven’t collapsed) from Satan’s own plot of Terminator plants. But if that’s the case, isn’t it wonderful news that these pollen grains will up and suicide? It means that the poor etc farmer does not have to cope with any of the other nasty genes that have been bred into Satan’s Terminator plants. Our poor etc farmer can safely ignore all that genetic pollution folderol that well-meaning NGOs warned her of, because the pollution destroys itself.

Fernando Ruiz, Progressio's development worker in Quito, Ecuador, said: “Indigenous peasant farming families depend on what they grow. If they can conserve their seeds, it means they have independence and the ability to produce their own food. When they start to buy their seeds from agricultural shops they lose agro-biodiversity and independence. Now we are starting to eat the things that they sell us in seed shops. We are not eating what we grow on our own land. We have to buy the food that we could instead grow in our own earth. This is absolutely ridiculous.”

Indeed, it is ridiculous. But it is nothing at all to do with Terminator technology. Why single out Terminator technology. Why not just ban all “agricultural shops”?

Then there’s an utterly unsubstantiated claim that “research shows Terminator genes may still spread to other crops”. What research? Published where? A briefing for British Members of Parliament repeats the claim, but cites no evidence and displays much the same muddle-headedness. If Terminator genes can spread, they’re not very terminal, are they?

There’s more in this vein, culminating in a plea to “order a seed packets (sic) containing a postcard to send to your MP and action packs to inspire your network or community to join the campaign”.

People who manage to oppose both Terminator technologies and genetically modified organisms give me the willies. If they really want to campaign about something worthwhile then here’s a thought. Instead of bleating on about the noble peasant farmers of Ecuador, or wherever, who can in fact grow anything they like, these social consciences should turn their noble, charitable minds to the state of affairs here in Europe, where the seed legislation ensures that everything not permitted is forbidden.

Could we get a little independent Catholic love for a campaign to stop the legislative madness before everything not forbidden becomes compulsory?

  1. Which may, or may not, be something of an oxymoron. 

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