There are definitely some problems with Genetic Use Restriction Technologies, however these have been exaggerated by a number of 'environmentalist' lobby groups. A lack of understanding of the technology has fuelled paranoia and distrust.
Many people are concerned by the frequent mergers of companies (such as D&PL with Monsanto), which is thought to increase the power of the affected corporations (Lehmann 1998) and could potentially lead to a monopoly. The Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) has been a leading critic of Genetic Use Restriction Technology and corporate mergers (RAFI 2000a-c) as has the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO 2001).
A number of “lobby groups” appear to show a moderate and somewhat confused understanding of Genetic Use Restriction Technologies and other related technologies.
Some more extremist organisations appear blinded by ideology and seem interested only in promoting hysteria (Anon 1999) and anti-Capitalist ideology. However the majority of such organisations (and individuals) have public credibility; often a lot more than the companies behind the technology.
The forward in Anderson (2000) is an example of such a writing style. Written by Bob Phelps of the well-respected GeneEthics Network, the introduction is full of emotive language which provides little balance and information; preferring instead to paint Genetic Use Restriction Technologies in the worst possible light. This is presented in a publication that is offered as an informative, non-opinionated, text.
RAFI (2001c) is similar, although the arguments are presented more logically. Many other authors simply repeat the same anti-corporate rhetoric, often copying their material from each other whilst having little personal understanding of the issue (Fumento 1999). This is partly caused by poor reporting in the popular press (Gowda, Suresh & Prathapan 1999) and partly through a desire to alarm people.
I am left with the impression that many people in the community who are actually familiar with Genetic Use Restriction Technologies are apprehensive about it, possibly because of overexposure to biased, ill-informed, lobby-group literature.
I am not suggesting that these groups' arguments have no merit; but rather that the arguments are presented in a manner which does not allow the reader to develop an informed opinion on the issue. The numbers of articles which present informed and logical arguments against the technology in the popular press are scarce and this is most disappointing.