17 July 2020

Princess Royal praises ‘enormous advantage’ of GM crops

17 July 2020

The Princess Royal has said the use of genetically modified crops has been an “enormous advantage” in specific environments, contrasting with her brother Prince Charles’ opposition to the practice.

Anne said that she had occasional “but rather short” conversations with the Prince of Wales about farming, with the pair owning land near to each other in Gloucestershire.

Speaking to Australian Women’s Weekly, she said: “It has been an enormous advantage in many parts of the world to use GM wisely for very specific environments.

“It makes it much more likely to be able to grow what you need.

“I have to remind people that rapeseed oil was only made non-toxic to humans by the Canadians after the Second World War by genetically modifying the plant. It’s (ironically) quite popular with all those people who don’t like GM.”

Charles is a passionate organic farmer who has previously spoken out against GM and is royal patron of the Soil Association, which has campaigned against GM crops and ingredients in human and animal food.

Anne’s views also contrast to those of her older brother’s on climate change, saying she would not “go down the climate change route” when looking for causes of Australia’s devastating bushfires.

The Queen and other senior royals sent messages of condolence to those affected by the fires after at least 20 people died and more than 1,400 homes were destroyed over the Australian summer.

And Charles, speaking at the launch of the The Great Reset project last month, said there was a “golden opportunity” to create something good for the environment from the Covid-19 crisis.

Climate changes all the time. It has done so throughout the globe's history, so there's nothing new under the sun

He said: “Its unprecedented shockwaves may well make people more receptive to big visions of change, and global crises like pandemics and climate change know no borders, and highlight just how interdependent we are as one people sharing one planet.”

But Anne told the magazine: “I don’t even go down the climate change route.

“I think the way people manage ground is part of the discussion … Climate changes all the time. It has done so throughout the globe’s history, so there’s nothing new under the sun.

“Somehow, we’ve got to learn that our kind of life is changing. We’ve got to remember to respect what’s out there and how to live with it.”

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