MEP Disappointment At Proteins Report Hijack

08 March 2011
Alyn Smith MEP, Scottish member of the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, has hit out at the GM lobby for their hijacking of the Parliament's report by his group colleague Martin Hausling on the EU's protein deficit.
The report, which details Europe's alarming dependence, in a time of high energy prices and transport costs, on imported industrialised soy from South America, and which proposed solutions to help Europe improve its indigenous protein crop production, was subverted by pro-GM MEPs, who inserted the issue of a low level presence (LLP) threshold for unauthorised GM varieties in imported feed. As a result, Smith and his colleagues voted against the report, and Hausling removed his name from the report.

Smith said:

"It's a real disappointment when solid, uncontroversial reports on important topics get hijacked by vested interests. Martin put a lot of good work into this and there was much to approve of, such as encouragement through support schemes of crop rotation involving leguminous plants, the funding of training and extension services to help farmers improve their skills, and the development of decentralised processing facilities for feed. We know that planting protein crops not only helps reduce our dependence on overseas supplies, but also enriches the soil and helps prevent erosion.

"In contrast, a permanent reliance on industrialised production in South America, given the likelihood of climate change, increased energy prices, increased long-distance transport prices, and the increasing competition between food and fuel; coupled with the environmental and social damage in developing countries that the intensive soy model is intrinsically bound up with, is just not sustainable in the long run. So we need to act now.

"We wanted to keep the GM issue separate from this report, in order to build a broad consensus: GM is being dealt with in other legislative files in the Parliament. Unfortunately, the GM lobby scaremongered MEPs into including the LLP issue in this report: a measure which will open the door to contamination of organic and conventional crops across the EU. I think that my colleague was right to make this a "red line" issue and that's why we voted against what was otherwise a good piece of work."