AGBIOVIEW: Burried Rice, Superweed Kit,
size="-4" color="#000000">May 22 2001 11:02:29 EDT
face="Times" size="-4" color="#000000">
Burried Rice, Superweed Kit, Eco-fascism, Organics, Fearing Fiction,
Doom and Gloom
Date: May 21 2001 19:53:56 EDT
From: Malcolm Livingstone
I couldn't agree with you more. My frustration with this debate grows
the anti-GM rhetoric increases. It is a terrible shame that such waste
allowed. In fact it is criminal. I wonder if there exists a law which
make an individual or organisation guilty of a crime against humanity
such behaviour? After all it is a crime to not render assistance in
case of an emergency. For example a child in imminent danger of death
to any number of circumstances. Why would it be any different if
children numbered in the thousands but lived in Africa or Asia?
This is an example (even before the most useful GM crops have been
developed) of Western, middle class, spoilt brats who have never had
without food for 24 hours dictating to poor people what is and isn't
for them to eat. Starving people have been known to eat tree bark to
and survive. These fools have taken it upon themselves to be the
of world agriculture and to decide who lives and dies. Don't they
something useful to do with their lives? If they cared about humanity
would not only allow the rice to be given away they would volunteer to
it there. As usual, however, all they really care about is
CSIRO Plant Industry
Ph: (07) 3214
2902 Fax: (07) 3214 2288
120 Meiers Rd.
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 06:58:57 -0500
From: Tom DeGregori <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Biotech rice is headed for landfill burial
The Houston Chronicle has a large picture this morning on
the front page
of a large truck hauling away rice to be buried. It also shows rice in
foreground. The story that goes with it is on page 13a of the home
addition that I receieved. Both the picture and the story are
the following URL. I am scheduled to leave for Asia this afternoon so
unable to act. If anyone has any ideas on what, now is the time to
them forward as each day that passes buries more rice that could
hungry people. Burying good edible food is another victory
Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and others of that ilk. Burying good
is fine as long as it does not interfere with their evening
Date: May 21 2001 11:31:53 EDT
From: Alex Avery <email@example.com>
Subject: Superweed kit 1.0
I obtained the Superweed kit 1.0 over 2 years ago. Of course, I
planted any of the seeds, but it is pinned to the corkboard over my
and provided nice fodder for an article I wrote. I figure the
who request the kits, the more we drain this group of wackos of money
more importantly, time. The little plastic bag contains a rather
bunch of seeds (lots of plant trash and debris, as well as random
seeds) and one wonders if there really is any RR canola at all.
Also, Seminis was kind enough to send us a bunch of transgenic
squash seeds to plant in our garden, as suggested on the list not too
ago. As has been pointed out several times, the more regular
plant and use biotech varieties, the less scary this technology will
So I plan to grow as much of this as possible and then share it with
many friends and family as I can. My mother-in-law will also
plant some in
I plan to take a bushel down to the local farmers market along
with some regular, non-GM squash and do a little local PR.
Call Seminis and tell them you want to promote biotech by planting
sharing their squash with regular folk. Any serious war requires
soldiers on the ground doing grunt work--join the fray and enjoy.
Date: May 21 2001 14:06:19 EDT
From: "Robert Vint"
Subject: Civil Society and GM safety tests
Dear Mr Apel,
"On May 1 I challenged Robert Vint, in his capacity as Genetic
(GFA) National Coordinator, to "publicly call on Greenpeace and
the Earth to conduct 'independent, long-term tests' of GM foods,"
"call" didn't happen that I saw. It appears his group has a
potential allergic reaction to the "unknown consequences" of
The suggestion that it is the responsibility of the public rather
biotech companies to prove the safety of their products and to pay for
tests is clearly asinine. This kind of arrogance has led to almost
universal contempt for the biotech industry from civil society.
keep churning out such statements - they are valuable to my work.
Date: May 21 2001 19:28:15 EDT
From: Andrew Apel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: eco-fascism/scientist connections
Dear Mr. Hopkin,
We are in the grip of "source fanatics" (as you describe
them, people more
concerned with the source than the safety of food) because new-age
fascists, variously dubbed "eco-fascists" or
focused on the farmer as the most vulnerable link in the supply
Name a country, developed or developing, and the farmer is
totally vulnerable to those who want to seize political control of
The eco-fascists want to use food as a weapon in order to gain control
international food markets, and thence to control international
enterprise. Interesting that Italy, having inherited fascism from
Mussolini, leads Europe in this trend.
RE: CSPI and Conflicts of Interest
The CSPI database of scientists and their funding is a completely
disingenuous sham. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth do not fund
science, they fund rhetoric, so only "other" scientists will
there. The built-in bias of the database naturally puts the vast
of scientists either in the pay of government (corporate stooges
to some activist claims), or in the pay of universities (funded by
government or with grants from corporations or
both) or employed by corporations (on the corporate payroll). The
database is simply another effort by activists to discredit science.
ploy behind the database is flagrantly obvious.
As an aside to red porphyry, I would add that the vast majority of
scientists, i.e., those not rank opportunists or charlatans, are
independent members of their professions, and only they may be trusted
be worthy of their hire. A falsely dedicated scientist, in any
organization, amounts to a desperate threat. It is a fact that
scientists are willing to sell their reputation to infamy for a
silver, but their names are known.
Date: May 21 2001 15:00:19 EDT
From: "NLP Wessex"
Subject: MAB - Building Wheats with Multiple Resistance to Leaf
Marker Assisted Breeding (MAB)
Building Wheats with Multiple Resistance to Leaf Rust
USDA-ARS News Service. ((Contact: Linda McGraw, (309) 681-6530,
email@example.com)) May 21, 2001. Genetic markers--tools of
biotechnology--are being used by Agricultural Research Service
scientists to fortify wheat with longer-lasting resistance to leaf
a disease that costs Great Plains wheat farmers about $150 million
annually. ARS plant geneticist Gina Brown-Guedira in Manhattan, Kan.,
building gene complexes using markers closely linked to leaf
More on this at:
NATURAL LAW PARTY WESSEX
Date: 21 May 2001 18:32:12 -0000
Subject: Re: AGBIOVIEW: World Congress, Fanatics, CSPI,
Burried Rice, Organics, Genetic ID, Argentina, Canola
Im not sure who wrote asking me to admit that we all want a safer,
nutritious future (Tom de Gregori) but here's my reply.
I agree that we are all good people who want the best for humankind
the health of the environment and that we differ only in the most
sustainable approach. I strongly disagree that, even on a short
scale, industrial agriculture is a more productive and efficient way
produce food. The huge subsidies on which the most industrialised
of agriculture are totally dependent illustrate this point, but
gathering body of statistics on sustainable (not always certified
but always applying practices such as rotation, undercropping,
manures and composting) is not only just as
productive as industrial agriculture, but builds stronger
increases soil fertility over a period of time and does it all without
need for expensive inputs. See the postings from February 2001
Jules Pretty's conference at St. James' Palace where all this
was set out at a Department for International
In other words there would not be mass hunger and starvation. My
precisely that it is the unfair competition from inefficient North
American producers, hugely and increasingly dependent on
handouts, that undercuts unsubsidised but efficient producers
countries, driving them off the land, despite their efficient
The organic industry does embrace the best and most productive of
modern technology, including sophisticated machinery, GPS
computers, hybridisation research and large-scale composting.
processing industry produces wholesome food without using
additives, hydrogenated fats, phosphoric acid or preservatives, in
response to consumer demand. The scares usually come from our
Agriculture, not from the organic industry. The fact that the Soil
Association prohibited the feeding of animal remains to
ruminants in 1983 was derided at the time as anti-science as the
research showed the improved milk yields this practice delivered.
On your suggestion I made a map of the globe to compare where
eat organic food to their health and welfare:
Switzerland 9% organic
> 11% organic
> 9% organic
organic and over 25% organic in dairy production
> 4% organic
Great Britain 3% organic, but with the
fastest-growing market for
organicfood at 50% p.a.
I think you'll agree that these countries have relatively high
standards of health and welfare and that consumers in them have a
good grasp of what constitutes a healthy diet and society.
> 2% organic, but growing
fast. Serious health and
welfare problems mostly associated with consumers of industrialised
> Rapidly increasing organic
acreage in response to
export demand and increasing domestic demand
Cocoa and coffee producing countries - where they have gone
their is increased tree growth as the products are shade-grown.
tremendous health and environmental benefits as the use of fungicides
cacao production is unsustainably high. Organic cacao and
production leads to organic production of tropical fruit and other
tropical products, with economic and environmental benefits.
I hope you find this reply the honest one that you requested. I
do not in
any way feel compromised by my position. Whole Earth has plowed
furrow and has watched a fringe position move into the mainstream
You asked about our support for Campaigning groups.
1. We supported the foundation of Genetix Food Alert in 1997,
sought declarations from food manufacturers about their policy on
ingredients. We supported them because we believe that retailers
consumers should have achoice. Not them a choice is the surest
obtain their opposition.
2. Whole Earth Foods has never contributed money to any other
campaigning group in all its 34 years. Most of these groups
primarily on membership contributions or research
funding. Our products
carry the Soil Association symbol, which represents the fact that we
been inspected and audited to a 'gold plated' version of the EU
standard for organic food. This costs money, but it is a
service that we
pay for, not a donation.
However, I do find it a bit rich having to justify the marginalia
our contributions to campaigning groups when Monsanto can spend a
pounds ($1.42m) on advertising GM in the UK and the Government
regularly campaigns to change public attitudes to GM.
pushing organic food forward is the large scale advertising from
like Mars, Unilever, General Mills and Heinz, who are moving fast to
up with the growing number of organic consumers. This is where
millions are being spent and is where you should be looking for the
challenge to the future
acceptability of GM food.
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001 09:47:38 +0100
From: Craig <firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: point missed....
To: Bob Goldberg <email@example.com
My response was motivated by Andrew Apel's extremely unbalanced
about LSD trips from organic bread and E.coli from organic
(I'd hate to eat the burger and the bun of his imagination at
When government policy encourages overproduction of food by
cost (i.e. by subsidising half the U.S. farmer's income) this
too much food at artificially low prices coming out of the
makes farming uneconomic in large parts of the world where
progress has not reached the point where there is an industrial
that can finance artificially low food (and feed) prices.
fourth point is tied up with the first. People in the
wouldn't suffer from hunger and malnutrition if they could
and sell it at a fair price. For as long as a Kenyan or
trader can pick up the phone and buy US Govt subsidised corn
for 3˘ a
pound when it cost a US farmer 6˘ a pound to produce it,
Kenya and India (who can produce corn at a cost of 4-5˘ a
pound) will be
poor and those developing economies will never get off the
was agriculture that was the backbone of America's economy in
the 19th C
and the early 20th C and this created the capital that led to
expansion. By encouraging production regardless of
considerations, the US (and to some extent the EU) is denying
opportunity to farmers in developing countries. As
farmers are the
bedrock of social stability and self-reliant attitudes, if they
their society suffers and instability, poverty, slums and all
of it follow.
To benefit from progress, we must stop fearing fiction
May 21, 2001
The novel The Day of the Triffids has a lot to answer for. Public
attitudes to the technology of genetic modification are dominated by
of the unintended consequences of scientific progress, the theme of
Wyndham's allegory (although it might have been predicted that
species of giant, mobile, stinging plants would lead to trouble).
The Royal Society, the closest Britain has to a body capable of acting
a spokesman for scientists, has decided to tackle such fears by
acknowledging them, but meeting them and by setting out the
benefits to be
weighed in the balance against them. It must be doubted
that this is the right approach. The problem is that many of the
about GM technology are irrational, whereas the gains are often
technical advances in our understanding of diseases with an
element such as cystic fibrosis, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
The truth is that the hazards of GM technology are considerably
exciting than the prospect of a planet overrun by unfriendly
intelligent plants, or of totalitarian superstates producing cloned
or soldiers. The escape of GM salmon into the open sea, for example,
be undesirable, as is the escape of pollen from GM crops on test
but it would be a minor detriment compared with humanity's
interference in the ecosystem through selective breeding, pollution
destruction of habitats.
It is to be hoped that more attention will be paid to the Royal
Society's careful, sensible analysis of the potential benefits of
into GM animals, rather than to its assertion that the potential costs
"great", but that seems unlikely. Equally, the debate over
engineering in humans seems dominated by those who see the treatment
inheritable illnesses as the first step on the road to Aldous
Brave New World.
As James Watson, co-discoverer of the double helix structure of
argued recently, stopping this kind of research would be to avoid
something that is clearly possible, for fear of the risks of
that is currently impossible.
It is noticeable that in Germany, where the debate on the GM issue
distorted by the history of Nazi medical experiments and eugenics,
Chancellor Gerhard Schrńder last week endorsed genetic engineering
an important industry of the future. If the Germans are able to shake
the fears of what really happened, surely the British can shake off
fear of fiction?
The biological goldrush
By Helen Briggs
Monday, 21 May, 2001
In a laboratory at Monsanto's headquarters in St Louis, Missouri, US,
robot arm works its way through hundreds of DNA samples, adding
shaking, analysing results and churning out computer data.
Each tiny well contains a chunk of DNA, incubated with plant tissue,
an insect in some stage of development that normally feeds on the
The robot shuttles back and forth, performing systematic tests. At the
of the day, it prints out a ream of data for the scientists to look
Eventually, after innumerable tests, one of these biological
lines might come up with what Monsanto is looking for - say, a gene
shows promise in controlling insects on a given plant, or, perhaps,
another research lab, a gene that might alter the fat profile of
making it better for the heart.
Gene traits, Monsanto believes, will form the bulk of its
business in coming years. Its $1bn research centre is dedicated to
biological goldrush, identifying and isolating genes that confer a
beneficial trait, then inserting the gene into a given plant.
It takes tens of millions of dollars and at least 10 years' work to
basic science - inserting a desired gene into a plant - into a
product: seed containing the new genetic characteristic.
Once a desired gene has been selected, the gene is transferred into
plant in the laboratory using one of two different techniques. One way
introduce the DNA into the plant using a common bacterium known as
The other method is to literally blast DNA, coated on tiny particles
gold dust, into plant cells growing in the laboratory using a
Once the new gene has been inserted, using either technique, the
plant cells undergo tissue culture. They reproduce, and grow into
plantlets. Eventually, the plantlets can be transferred into soil.
So far this technology has been used to produce commercial crops aimed
One main approach has been to engineer the likes of potato, corn
cotton to produce their own insecticides via a toxin-producing gene
the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).
The other main approach has been to develop crops that are resistant
herbicides, allowing farmers to apply chemical sprays that kill weeds
The GM loaf
The next product of the biotech revolution, at least in the US, is
to be genetically modified wheat. Monsanto's spring-sown variety has
engineered to confer resistance to Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller.
trials are now underway in North and South Dakota, Montana and
"We are hopeful that there will be a commercial launch between
2005 of RoundUp Ready spring wheat in North America only," says
As a staple part of the diet of millions of people around the world,
advent of the GM loaf is likely to be a particularly sensitive issue
consumers. And there are signs that the US wheat industry is being
cautious about deciding whether or not to go forward with the
However, biotech enthusiasts argue that a new wave of products - the
GM foods with enhanced nutritional qualities - will be more palatable
The first such foods are likely to appear on the supermarket shelves
the next few years.
One of the first examples is being kept under lock and key in a
grenade-proof greenhouse on the outskirts of Zurich, Switzerland.
Unlike any other rice, this genetically modified variety contains a
from a daffodil that enables it to produce beta-carotene in seeds.
Beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body, is
for healthy vision. The World Health Organisation estimates that
million children in developing countries do not get enough vitamin
The scientists who invented Vitamin A rice, Ingo Potrykus and Peter
have promised to make their share of the golden rice intellectual
available to poor farmers for free. But the rice is still subject to
70 other patents and legal agreements.
Advocates believe that vitamin A producing plants, such as golden rice
a new bright orange vitamin A sweet potato, could alleviate
But environmentalists challenge such claims, accusing the biotech
of cynically promoting the benefits of such crops to thrust GMOs on
Dialogue: Doom and gloom stands in the way of progress
The New Zealand Herald
By Shelley Bridgeman
Many recoil at the idea of genetic engineering. But why, asks
BRIDGEMAN*, must we always assume the worst about scientific
Oh, the evils of modern technology. Right-thinking folk everywhere
at the very thought of the repercussions of recent scientific
According to the nay-sayers, it is a given that the cloning of
beings is a bad thing. The popular view is that humans would lose
essence of their humanity and that a sub-class of people would be
simply to provide spare parts and organs for the rest of us.
And don't forget that, according to conventional wisdom, human
could mean that an army of little Hitlers - generated from some
remnant - will soon be wreaking havoc on the world.
But never fear. There's talk of legislation to outlaw cloning,
preventing such horrific scenarios from eventuating.
Unfortunately, the law-makers seem to have overlooked the fact that
sort of people who typically mastermind plots to rule the universe
unlikely to let minor details like a few laws stop them.
And have you ever noticed that apparently only the bad guys will
cloned? No one ever postulates that Mother Teresa could be cloned and
there would then be a plethora of selfless do-gooders working with
poor and the hungry.
Speaking of hungry people, proponents of genetically modified
profess that this technology has the capacity to end starvation. It
clearly a biased,
and as yet unproven, view, but surely it's too early to
dismiss the claim out of hand.
Genetic engineering is an emotive subject. Few of us know much about
details, so it is easy to assume that it is dangerous.
As soon as we hear of herbicide-resistant crops, we conjure up images
some indestructible super-weed that evolves to choke the entire Earth
We are equally suspicious when we learn of potatoes being modified
toad-like genes so they become resistant to rot. We fear that an
of french fries could result in us hopping everywhere and
It is true that the issues of cloning and genetically engineered food
take a while to resolve and, who knows, they could well end up being
thalidomide of our times. But must we always assume the worst outcomes
any scientific progress?
Genetic testing is another hot topic. The man on the street is up in
about the prospect of being tested for a predisposition to various
The fear, of course, is that insurance companies will require these
to be carried out before providing life or medical insurance - and
then either refuse to insure people who test positive, or demand
impossibly high premiums of them.
That would obviously place high-risk people in an unenviable
Dramatic phrases such as genetic discrimination are being bandied
and the British Government plans to ban these so-called genetic
tests from being used to deny people essential insurance.
But, surely we need to temper the predictable gut-reaction to this
explore the issue just a little further.
Let's suppose that people who are 100 per cent healthy - who have
genetic-predisposition to anything except a long life - are also
These hale and hearty people will then soon realise that they no
need medical insurance because they are unlikely to ever claim on it.
they will also steer clear of mortgage insurance since - as long as
are not knocked over by a bus - the chances are that they will be
long enough to pay off the mortgage.
If the only people queuing to buy insurance are the high-risk and
unprofitable customers, the insurance companies will simply cease
exist. They operate only on the basis of having enough healthy
paying premiums to subsidise the claims of the unhealthy.
So, if an insurance company started requiring genetic testing of
customers, it would have effectively signed its own death warrant,
the only people it would be prepared to insure would be the people
will have little need for insurance.
In the long run, the insurance industry probably has more to fear
these tests than the average person. But somehow the Joe and
Bloggses of the world blithely refuse to consider this.
Buying into all the scare-mongering just seems to come naturally to
of us. And anyway, those horrific predictions just make for
tittle-tattle, don't they?
* Shelley Bridgeman is an Auckland writer.
EU's Fischler optimistic on GM food
European Union Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler said yesterday
Europe was moving toward a new policy on biotech foods that will
food safety concerns while allowing advancement of the new technology
By Carey Gillam
May 22, 2001
"Europe is very much in favor of new technology and
Fischler told a press conference at a World Agricultural Forum
Congress in St. Louis. But he added: "There is a huge sensitivity
He said a proposal outlining traceability as well as labeling
and requirements for genetically modified (GM) crops and foods would
completed in the next 30 to 60 days and would then be presented to the
member states, with a "solution" hopefully agreed to
Tolerance levels are up for debate, but Fischler said he believed
tolerance levels for products containing GM material would be
at 1 percent.
Anything much higher than that - specifically, one
suggestion of tolerance of up to 5 percent - would not be acceptable,
Registration applications for GM food products have been bogged down
years as Europe wrestles with controversy over biotech foods. But
said he saw that backlog breaking in the near future.
In other comments, Fischler said that he felt optimistic after he met
week with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman that Europe's
beef industry would soon be getting a boost from a re-opening of
The United States in March banned fresh meat products from all 15
countries because of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. The
has only been found in four of the EU member countries.
Veneman said on Friday that the ban would be relaxed in some regions
the next couple of weeks.
Fischler said reform plans for European farm policy and budgetary
were taking into account the severe hit that the European beef
has taken of late. The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Europe
fresh on the heels of the spread of "mad-cow" disease, a
illness that can be transmitted to humans.
Efforts to eradicate foot-and-mouth alone had resulted in the
about a million animals, including 200,000 cattle, Fischler said.
Now the EU must restore its stocks as well as its markets, a factor
could require funds to be shifted away from other agricultural
programs, Fischler said.
"We need to pay for the consequences of the disaster in the
industry," he said.
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