“When I first became interested in the controversy about genetically modified crops, I had no bias for or against,” writes British House of Lords member Dick Taverne in the The Scotsman this week. “But the more deeply I studied the issue, the more convinced I became of the case in their support.” And with good reason. Biotech crops have been called a “moral imperative” by the U.S. embassy to the Vatican and have the potential to feed millions of starving people across the world. But don’t bother telling that to green zealots who are currently trying to ban the technology in the U.S. and abroad. As Taverne notes, “most objections are not based on evidence at all but are more fundamental, indeed fundamentalist.”

Taverne takes particular aim at the unhinged views held by so many Neo-Luddites:

Many green campaigners are so convinced they are saving the planet that they have acquired a missionary zeal … So firm are their beliefs that they are more concerned with direct action than with argument. GM crops grown in field trials have been destroyed; farmers who wanted to grow them, and their families, have been terrorised.

Taverne also strongly rebuts some of the alarmist rhetoric used by biotech opponents:

Every major scientific academy in the world, those of the United States, Britain, India, China, Brazil and Mexico, has declared they can find no evidence of harm. If they were unsafe, why have US lawyers, who will sue anybody for anything at the drop of a hat, never found any grounds for litigation during the seven years and more that 280 million Americans have been eating GM too? Every new form of food has to be tested and GM food has been more thoroughly tested than most conventional foods.