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Genetically modified crops - February issue

Gnome 11 thopkins at thopkins.demon.co.uk
Sat Feb 6 10:13:28 EST 1999


In article <36BC4E7A.23FAA175 at mr.net>, David Kendra <dkendra at mr.net>
writes
>
>
>Gnome 11 wrote:
>
>> Well I don't know much about birds, 'cept they have feathers, and they
>> eat crops, sometimes live in fields, etc. I think that this may be
>> relevant as the food base may well be altered by GM argiculture, so
>> there will be fewer of those feathered things to watch.
>
>And exactly how will GM crops reduce the bird population?  I suspect since
>there will be plenty of wholesome grain available, their populations will
>increase not decrease.  The geese here in Minnesota seem to be doing quite
>well on Roundup soybeans!!!

Fewer weeds with Roundup tolerant soya? Fewer weed seeds for birds with
specific seed needs? Fewer insects with specific weed habitat needs that
birds then feed on? I don't know, my expertise is forests, but perhaps
others can tell me. However, I think all those who study UK birds will
say that the _general_ intensification of agriculture in UK since 1945
has generally been 'a bad thing for birds'. GM crops are a new level of
intensification, and the outcome on wildlife is, as yet, unknown. Nobody
forsaw that early insecicides were going to damage bird populations. And
in the UK, no one forsaw that feeding protine from rendered sheep would
lead to BSE, infecting cattle and ultimately humans. Personally, I don't
think GM _will_ harm birds, but I may well be wrong.


>
>> Present intensive agriculture is blamed for
>> drop in number of some birds: presumably GM rops will continue this
>> trend?
>
>The key word in your phrase is "blamed".  I suspect that urban sprawl has
>more of an impact on bird populations than agrichemicals and farming.

I don't think so. There is actually a lot of countryside left in UK, but
the nature of it has changed. 
>
>Best regards,
>Dave Kendra
>

-- 
Gnome 11



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