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From the editor: Hysterical eco warriors must not prevail in glyphosate saga

What is really at stake in the glyphosate debate?



When considered rationally, what hits you about glyphosate’s latest stay of execution is the sheer irrational nature of the entire debate.

 

How have we got to a position where a herbicide, deemed safe by scientific consensus, is potentially facing the chop in a move which could leave farmers across Europe in the lurch? If the science says it is safe, then why do we find ourselves in the position we do?

 

The answer comes in the form of the environmental lobby, which is pursuing politicians and policy makers with ever greater vigour to carry through decisions which match their ideological beliefs.

 

Whether it is prompted by a hatred of modern agricultural techniques or a misguided view of these herbicides, the impact on farmers could be catastrophic.

 

The wider concern must be that the glyphosate debate is symptomatic of a wider social malaise in the sense that it is not those armed with the facts who now shape debate, but rather those who have the biggest social media following or can generate the most hysteria.

 

We seemingly operate in a post-truth world in which science and facts can be challenged in a way they have not been before. This level of ‘he said, she said’ debate is helpful for no-one and is not just confined to the glyphosate saga.

 

You only have to look at how the President of the United States uses Twitter to shout down his rivals to realise the debating goalposts have moved.

 

The binary spats also emerge on issues such as the badger cull or large-scale farming, with big dairy or chicken units often castigated as ‘factory farms’, with welfare reports on these subjects simply ignored by those too blinkered to begin with.

 

Sense must prevail where agricultural regulation is concerned. Well-fed members of the ‘green blob’ who have nothing else to worry about must not be allowed to undermine food security by stripping farmers of the tools they need to do their jobs properly.

 

And finally, if positivity is tangible then I would have made a fortune bottling it at the British Farming Awards last week. For all the photos from the night go to fginsight.com/galleries

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