Table 4. Motives put forward for GMO rejection: risks, fears and reasons for refusal.
Typology developed by the author on the basis of the themes repeatedly treated in debates, articles and declarations made by the opponents.
|Types of risk:||Fears and perceived risks|
|- troublesome, violent gene transfer process|| - transgenesis
= transgression of the barrier between species.
- risk engendered by troubling the "order of the genome", which may appear only later.
- insufficient knowledge of the genome to authorize such tinkering with the transfer of foreign genes (living organisms are not just “building blocks").
|- health, for example Bt corn, glyphosate-tolerant soya|| - allergies,
long term toxicity.
- insufficient safety tests: "consumers = guinea pigs".
- gene coding for Bt toxin à consuming continuously secreted insecticide toxins.
- gene coding for the enzyme which degrades glyphosate à GMOs accumulate products of degradation.
|- environmental||- gene flow towards related wild species à “superweeds”, invasive plants, accelerated decrease in biodiversity.|
|- agro-economic|| - gene
flow towards nearby crops of the same species à impure harvests, "contamination".
- problem of volunteer plants in the following crop (rapeseed).
- risk of a drop in Bt or glyphosate efficiency, interesting molecules for use in other agricultural sectors.
|- economic|| - of
little interest to consumers, "product imposed" by the multinationals.
- increasingly dependent agriculture (farmers must buy seeds every year).
- difficulty for developing countries to access such technology (patents)
=> hypocrisy of saying "Genetic engineering is necessary to feed humanity."
- appropriation of genetic resources by a few large multinationals.
- GMOs = symbol of privatisation of all resources, now even genetic resources.
- "imperialist" technology because coexistence with non- transgenic production is difficult (gene flow).
|- agricultural and food production model|| - reinforcing of the industrialized
model, the limits of which have already been critically portrayed.
- consumer perception: "They’re playing with our health to make more money." (cf. BSE & contaminated blood).
|- more socio-political motives (value systems and beliefs)|| - innovation
neither asked for nor desired, but set up solely for the profits
of some multinational firms.
- no respect for consumer free choice due to the presence of GMOs in many additives and fortuitous "contamination" of grain through gene flow.
- GMOs symbolize development towards a type of society which is perceived negatively.
- "Such progress, why bother?" (a certain loss of faith in science and progress).