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POLICY & SCIENCE: Environmental concerns boost support for GM food crops in Australia







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TITLE:  ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS BOOST SUPPORT FOR GM FOOD CROPS

SOURCE: Biotechnology Australia, Australia

AUTHOR: Press Release

URL:    http://www.biotechnology.gov.au/index.cfm?event=object.showContent&objectID=DCEAD39B-D2FA-0E45-120609745D799F3E

DATE:   20.07.2007

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS BOOST SUPPORT FOR GM FOOD CROPS

Public support for genetically modified food crops rose dramatically to 73 per cent in 2007, up from 46 per cent in 2005, due to perceptions about the role they can play in countering drought and pollution.

Australian Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, said a Biotechnology Australia report, released today, found a major change in public attitudes towards biotechnology in all areas.

”When asked if GM crops should be grown in their state, 50 per cent of respondents from all states said Yes, with a further 30 per cent approving as long as they were strongly regulated,” Mr Macfarlane said.

”This marks a significant change in public attitudes and coincides with an increased confidence in science across society. The perceived benefits from biotechnology are increasing while the perceived risks are declining.

”Changes in attitudes have been influenced by the public’s increased familiarity with gene technology and a perception that GM crops could be used to counter major environmental concerns.”

The study looked at public concerns about biotechnology applications and sought to understand what benefits people wanted from the technology.

The highest values placed on biotechnology applications were:

- cleaning up pollution (97 per cent support);

- developing environmentally-friendly vehicle fuels (97 per cent);

- recycling water more effectively (96 per cent);

- helping address climate change (91 per cent); and

- combating salinity (90 per cent).

The survey was developed with input from industry, research organisations and non-government organisations and the full study can be found at www.biotechnology.gov.au/reports. 


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