Vitamin A deficiency causes enormous suffering amongst those afflicted by it with blindness and ultimately death being the final outcomes for many in the developing World. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that one in three pre-school children in the World is vitamin A deficient with half of the children who become blind dying within a year. It is therefore a travesty that one of the most effective ways to save these lives through a genetically modified crop known as Golden Rice has been constrained for so long. Despite being ready for trials since 2000 and being offered for free to those who need it most, a toxic cocktail of government imposed bureaucracy, outright sabotage and scare-mongering with no credible basis in science have prevented it from being taken up on a worthwhile scale. In the meantime, millions of children have gone blind and died.
Unfortunately, this extends far beyond Golden Rice and the development of GM crops. An array of activists and politicians are simply choosing to ignore the evidence that technologies ranging from shale gas extraction to nuclear power can make us greener, safer and healthier. This vehement opposition to crucial scientific advancements in the UK and elsewhere must be overcome.