UK royals in sibling rivalry? Princess Anne touts GMO benefits

LONDON, U.K. (Reuters) — Britain’s Princess Anne may have sparked a royal sibling rivalry after saying genetically modified crops had real benefits to offer, putting her at odds with her older brother Charles, who says they would be an environmental disaster.

In an interview with BBC radio, Anne said she would grow GM crops on her farming estates, adding she doubted that the technology had many downsides.

That view contrasts with that of heir-to-the-throne Charles, who has long been an ardent campaigner for organic produce, once warning the widespread use of GM crops would “cause the biggest disaster environmentally of all time”.

“GM is one of those things that divides people,” Anne, whose title is the Princess Royal, told the BBC’s Farming Today program.

“Surely, if we are going to be better at producing food of the right value, then we have to accept that genetic technology … is going to be part of that.”

European Union laws strictly control the use and authorization to grow GMOs, but last October Environment Minister George Eustice said the British government was considering “possible future arrangements” for the regulation of GMOs after Britain leaves the bloc.

Asked if she would use GM for crops and livestock on her own farming lands in Gloucestershire in western England, should the law allow, the 66-year-old daughter of Queen Elizabeth replied “Yes”.

“To say we mustn’t go there ‘just in case’ is probably not a practical argument,” she said.

“I do think … gene technology has got real benefits to offer, which will have maybe an occasional downside, but I suspect not very many.”

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