AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org
* Netherlands Debate
* John Stossel Challenges the Doomsayers Warnings on Genetic
* "American" Association?
* Dennie Miller Rant on Civil Disobedience
* BIO2001 Highlights...... Wambugu Addresses BIO 2001, Launches New Book
* Communicating with the Media: Advice from CBS News
* China To Set Pace In Transgenic Cotton Planting
* International Pacific Rim Biotechnology Conference in NZ
From: email@example.com Date
Re: AGBIOVIEW: Netherlands Debate
I think ferdinand Engelbeen gave a rather good picture of the opening
manifestation of the Broad Societal Debate on GE in food in the
Netherlands. There are a few things I would like to add however, in
order to get a more full picture.
Before the "debate", 12 NGO's had written a letter to the organising
committee in which they stated that they considered the Plan of
Approach for the debate more as being a subtle PR campaign in order to
get more acceptance for GE foods. They asked substantial change of the
Plan of Approach. After a meeting with the chair of the organising
committee, they decided not to totally boycot the debate but they gave
out a press release at the beginning stating their critiques again.
They wanted to show good will.
The video that was shown in the beginning actually totally confirmed
the fears of the NGO's that the whole set up is actually subtle GE
propaganda. The chair of the organising committee tried to put the
blame on the videomaker, a well respected ex-journalist, Ton Planken.
Planken, however responded by making clear that he had exactly done as
the committee requested and that nobody from the committee expressed
any doubts when the video was shown to them some time ago. The video
is only one aspect of the whole set up but it demonstrates perfectly
well what we are being confronted with: an attempt to improve
acceptation of GE foods. The 150 selected Dutch people are being
accompanied by a project group which we know to be not neutral and
basically supportive of GE.
The main organiser of the Manifestation used to be Monsanto's PR
office in the Netherlands. The website http://www.etenengenen.nl is
very biased. I can tell you at forehand what the outcome of this
"debate" will be as far as the committee is concerned: "When people
get properly informed, they tend to better acceptance of GE foods". We
will have to wait and see whether this Brain wash attempt will succeed.
W. de Lange
John Stossel Challenges the Doomsayers Warnings on Genetic
Engineering, Human Cloning and Global Warming, in a One-Hour Special
Tampering with Nature with John Stossel, Airing Friday, June 29
In a one-hour special, ABC News Correspondent John Stossel
investigates the outcry over genetic engineering and human cloning and
challenges the dire warnings surrounding environmental threats like
global warming. Why have recent advances in science been met with
fear, protests, even acts of terrorism? Why is the industrial society
that helped make our comfortable lives possible treated with suspicion
and contempt? Stossel challenges the activists who say we?re
destroying the earth?s ecosystem with everything from genetic
engineering to greenhouse gases. Tampering with Nature airs FRIDAY,
June 29, 10-11 p.m. ET on the ABC Television Network.
Former Greenpeace director Patrick Moore, who has quit Greenpeace,
says the environmental movement has been hijacked by political
activists. ?They?re using environmental rhetoric to cloak agendas like
class warfare and anti-corporatism that, in fact, have almost nothing
to do with ecology,? Moore tells Stossel.
Lately, the greenhouse effect and global warming have been all over
the news. But Stossel interviews climatologists who say there is no
consensus that global warming is harming the planet. They point to
the often-overlooked fact that huge piles of funding are at stake.
Says Pat Michaels of the University of Virginia: "Let's imagine
there's a senate hearing, and the senator who disburses the funds goes
to the administrator of NASA and says, ?I've heard global warming is
the most serious problem confronting mankind. Can your agency use
another $2 billion a year to study this thing?? What?s he gonna say?
No?? Moreover, Stossel points out that even if greenhouse gases were
restricted, at a potential cost of trillions of dollars to U.S.
taxpayers, it is estimated that this would prevent a rise in
temperature of only a fraction of a degree.
Stossel then turns to cloning and interviews Dr. Panos Zavos, who
hopes to clone human beings soon with new technology. ?It?s a
marvelous thing,? says Zavos, a reproductive specialist who wants to
help infertile couples have babies. ?We have more than 1,000 couples
that want to be cloned,? he says. Anti-cloning activist Rev. Patrick
Mahoney disagrees, asking what will become of deformed children
created by this new technique. ?Who takes care of that child??
Stossel reports that genetic engineering is already saving lives
through cutting-edge medical treatments, despite activists? fears.
Biotech is also helping to make food more plentiful, as with bovine
growth hormone that increases milk production. But as Stossel finds
out, even though the World Health Organization, the FDA and the AMA
all say milk from cows given bovine growth hormone is perfectly safe,
activists condemn it, one New York protester even likening it to
?crack for cows.?
Many of us romanticize the simple life of groups like the Pilgrims,
but life without modern technology is tough?often fatal. Half the
Pilgrims died. That?s something to keep in mind when people insist
that we should never ?tamper with nature.? Stossel concludes that we
alter our environment not to destroy but ?to make our lives better in
a hundred ways.?
Victor Neufeld is the senior executive producer of Tampering with
Nature, Martin Phillips the executive producer, and Deborah Colloton,
Mark Golden and Brian Ellis the producers.
ABC News Media Relations: Adam Pockriss (212) 456-7243 Todd Polkes
From: Andrew Apel
Is the 'American' Corn Growers Association (ACGA) really the right
name for this group? The June 27, 2001 edition of The Age newspaper
(Melbourne, Australia) reports that Gary Goldberg, the CEO of ACGA, is
warning Australian farmers about the use of GM crops
(cross-pollenation, etc.). At the same time, he is urging them to not
to "blow" their opportunity to use fears over GMOs to compete against
American corn exports in Asia.
This doesn't sound like representing the interests of the American
corn growers. In fact, it betrays those interests. Someone ought to
look into this.
The text follows.
US warning on GM crops
- The Age, Nabila Ahmed - June 27, 2001
A leading American farming association is warning Australia about the
negative effects of genetically modified crops.
Chief Executive Officer of the American Corn Growers Association
(ACGA), Gary Goldberg, is urging Australian farmers to be careful,
saying the US has lost millions of dollars in export and compromised
the ëëintegrityíí of its crops as a result of using Genetically
Modified Organisms. He said the United Statesí exports of corn to
Asian countries such as Japan, Taiwan and South Korea had decreased
because ëëall three are demanding nonGMOíí.
In Victoria to address the Annual Conference of the Australian
Institute of Health, Law and Ethics at the University of Melbourne, Mr
Goldberg said Australian farmers should be very concerned about the US
experience. Weíve suffered a loss of export markets and thereís been a
lot of confusion over legal liability brought about by pollen
He also said opportunities awaited Australian farmers if they could
guarantee non-GMO commodities for export and that Asia was now a
potential market for Australia. You have opportunity, please don't
blow it, he said.
Mr Goldberg said a recent survey of the 14,000 members of the ACGA in
the US showed 78 per cent of corn growers who planted GMO said they
would abandon the new crops to recover the export markets they had lost.
Mr Goldberg also warned of the dangers of crosspollination between GM
and non-GM crops, saying it was virtually impossible to keep the two
separate, as the Victorian government has suggested. At what point
does an GM zone end and a GMfree zone start? You canít build walls to
pollen contamination, canít build walls to the birds and the bees and
the creatures out there that are going to transport this. You canít
build a wall to the wind,íí he said.
The director of the GeneEthics Network in Australia, Bob Phelps, also
sounded a precautionary note about GMOs, urging the state government
to stop spending millions of dollars on GMO research. We should guard
our genetic engineering free status because once itís gone it will not
be recoverable,íí he said.
Greens Senate candidate Scott Kinnear said the Bracks government
should follow the New Zealand example, where the government imposed a
moratorium on gene research until while a royal commission examined
the effects of the technology.
The calls come as Premier Steve Bracks is trying to sell Victoria as a
centre for genetic engineering at a conference in San Diego.
Wambugu Addresses BIO 2001, Launches New Book
African biotech scientist, Florence Wambugu, addressed BIO 2001
convention delegates yesterday, reminding them of the plight of
African farmers who cannot grow enough food to feed their communities.
Biotech crops offer enormous potential to help, she said, and she
called on companies to continue to look for ways to supply farmers
with the seeds they need. Wambugu has long been an advocate of the
benefits of agricultural biotechnology, having seen first hand,
through her own field trials, how farmers can save precious time and
money through the use of biotech seeds. She told the convention that
"60 percent of African women spend their time hard weeding" - time
that could be spent on training and new skills development if they had
access to biotech seeds to grow key crops such as cassava, corn and
cotton. Wambugu has described biotechnology as "technology in a seed"
that can help provide the necessary solutions for farmers in
developing countries without an adverse impact on local cultures,
traditions or the environment. Field trials of a biotech variety of
the sweet potato are currently underway in Kenya, where over 80
percent of consumers are also the producers.
At a news conference the same day, Wambugu launched her new book,
"Modifying Africa: How biotechnology can benefit the poor and hungry,
a case study from Kenya," which describes her life and experiences
For further information on the book, please visit her Web site,
Communicating with the Media: Advice from CBS News
During a BIO 2001 panel discussion on "Accepting New Technology: Media
and Public Perception of Risks and Benefits," moderated by CBI
Executive Director, Linda Thrane, Washington correspondent for CBS,
Wyatt Andrews, had some advice for the biotech industry on effectively
communicating key messages to the broadcast media. It is important to
remember, he said, that the media is not "anti-biotech", but
"pro-news." The problems for the industry began, he believes, because
the "food got ahead of the information" and, while consumers may not
be on the verge of rejecting biotechnology, in the absence of
information to the contrary, their concerns are understandable. The
best way to recruit the media's help, he said, is to be open and
honest about the technology and not be afraid to talk "on camera"
about products in the pipeline which will be of direct benefit to the
consumer, rather than just the farmer.
Andrews believes that consumers still have "a baseline of trust in the
regulatory authorities and the industry." Consumers do not think
that either companies or the federal government will allow unsafe
products to be knowingly sold. He advised spokespersons against
implying that biotech foods are the same as conventional foods.
Consumers' gut instincts, he said, tells them that these foods are
different and no amount of explanation will convince them otherwise.
It is better, he argued, to get the message across that biotech foods
are new, and that this is not necessarily a bad thing. Finally, he
advised companies to work more quickly to develop products with a
real, direct benefit that consumers could taste and touch.
Visit CBS News' Web site to view "Science on the Plate," an online
report from 60 Minutes II:
Highlights from BIO 2001's Food and Ag Symposium
Golden Rice: Public/Private Cooperation to Battle Malnutrition
Peter Beyer, co-inventor of golden rice, reminded delegates of the
millions of children throughout the developing world who suffer from
vitamin A deficiency and how rice, enhanced with beta-carotene could
help provide a solution. He described the scientific process he and
Ingo Potrykus followed to create golden rice and how it will be
distributed free to subsistence rice farmers once field trials are
Ronald Cantrell, Ph.D., director general of the International Rice
Research Institute, described the need to promote balance between the
interests of both commercial and public institutions in the process of
technology transfer to developing countries. He hopes the "golden
rice model" of donating intellectual property licenses and of making
technology freely available to subsistence farmers could help open up
a new dimension of cooperation in the arena of agricultural research.
For more information on IRRI's work, visit http://www.irri.org
Improving the Safety of Existing Foods through Biotechnology
Food safety issues continue to be of primary concern to consumers -
and to the government. The Center for Disease Control estimates that
sick days due to food borne diseases cost the U.S. economy up to $34
billion a year. By instituting a seven step process designed to
identify all possible places along the food processing chain that
contamination may occur, the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control
Points (HACCP) system used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
Food Safety Inspection Service has already substantially reduced the
incidence of food borne pathogens in meats, in some cases by half.
Meat contamination remains of concern but scientists are helping to
minimize potential risks through plant biotechnology. By introducing
antibodies into plants used as animal feed, researchers believe they
can develop ways to destroy potential pathogens in animals before they
leave the farm.
For more information about the implementation of HACCP at the USDA,
China To Set Pace In Transgenic Cotton Planting
By Lee Chyen Yee, Reuters June 28, 2001
GUILIN, China, June 28 (Reuters) - China will set the pace in planting
genetically modified (GM) cotton with its acreage seen growing the
fastest in coming years, Chinese agricultural officials and cotton
analysts said on Thursday.
Beijing is gearing up to push farmers to sow more GM cotton seeds to
combat ravaging bollworms, reduce planting costs and increase yields,
a senior Chinese agricultural official said. "I see the growing area
of the transgenic insect-resistant cotton in China expanding in the
next few years," Du Min of the research centre for rural economy at
the Ministry of Agriculture told an international cotton conference in
She declined to provide a figure for the acreage increase. China has
been active in researching and growing Bt cotton, which contains the
bacterium Bacillus thuringienesis proteins and is resistant to corn
borers, bollworms and other pests that damage cotton plants. It is
effective mainly against the bollworm in its first and second
generations, but becomes increasingly vulnerable to the third and
The acreage of transgenic insect-resistant cotton in China rocketed to
about one million hectares in 2000, or 28 percent of the country's
total cotton area, from less than 100,000 hectares in 1998, or 2.2
percent of the total area. China's cotton acreage is expected to rise
14.9 percent to 4.63 million hectares in 2001.
Gm Cotton Rising Fastest
"China will become the most important country with regards to using Bt
technology," Carlos Valderrama, chief economist at the International
Cotton Advisory Committee, told Reuters. "China will be having, over
the next seasons, greater growth in areas dedicated to Bt cotton ...
The area in China will increase the fastest," he said.
Analysts welcomed China's approach to Bt research, involving foreign
companies like Monsanto and the government. "It's not only the
multinationals who have been conducting this, but in China, there is
also independent government research," Valderrama said.
Monsanto's Bt cotton covers about 240,000 hectares in China. The New
York-listed firm has gained government approval to grow Bt cotton in
the eastern provinces of Hebei, Anhui and Shandong and is awaiting the
green light to plant in Hubei and Henan, company officials said
earlier in June.
Domestic Bt cotton is also gaining ground. "In 2001, the growing area
of domestic Guokang GM cotton will reach 800,000 hectares," from
350,000 hectares in 2000, Du said in a research report presented at
The Guokang series was developed by the Cotton Research Centre and the
Biotechnology Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural
Sciences. Du also said planting more GM cotton was in line with
government plans to increase rural incomes as farmers could spend less
on pesticides and labour, while selling more cotton with increased yields.
From: Francis Wevers
Subject: 8th International Pacific Rim Biotechnology Conference
The website for the 8th International Pacific Rim Biotechnology
Conference went live this afternoon at
Academics, scientists, business people, investors, Government
officials can use the site to get further information about the
conference and to register for news updates.
Please feel free to forward this email to anyone else you believe may
be interested. We will be calling for papers later this year. Anyone
seeking to register interest early should contact
8th International Pacific Rim Biotechnology Conference
The Pacific Rim countries are at the forefront of modern
biotechnology. The combined challenges of population growth, economic
development and the need for environmental sustainability have
stimulated some of the most creative scientific research and
development in the world.
This exciting conference will bring some of the world?s leading
scientists, businessmen and Government officials together in the
superb City of Sails while the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series for
the Americas Cup is being sailed just minutes from the conference venue.
New Zealand has a global reputation for excellence in the biological
sciences; add to this its clean environment and an enviable track
record in innovation and you have the setting for one of the best
conferences of the decade.
Indicative Conference Themes:
? Biotechnology to enhance forestry
? Environmental biotechnology
? Food biotechnology
? Medical biotechnology
? Marine biotechnology
? Natural bioactives and botanical drugs
? Proteomics and bioinformatics
? Angel investors, venture capital, business planning and incubators
for biotechnology projects
? Regulatory issues for biotechnology
The 8th International Pacific Rim Conference is co-hosted by:
The New Zealand Biotechnology Association
(<http://www.biotech.org.nz/>www.biotech.org.nz) and Biotenz
Strategic Partner : Trade New Zealand
Executive Director, Biotenz/NZ Life Sciences Network (Inc)
PO Box 715, Wellington, New Zealand
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or
Websites <http://www.biotenz.org.nz/>www.biotenz.org.nz or
Dennie Miller Rant on Civil Disobedience
See? That's why we don't summer in Algeria any more: no right to protest.
Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but, unlike in Algeria,
the act of civil disobedience is deeply woven into the fibers of our
nation. From the Boston Tea Party to the Beastie Boys' fight for your
right to party, our country has a proud history of civil disobedience.
It has been a part of American history ever since the aforementioned
plucky band of American colonists refused to pay a tax on tea, thereby
paving the way for a free, democratic nation that does not tax tea...
except, of course, for a local sales tax paid by the purchaser, an
income tax paid by the seller, and corporate taxes paid by the
manufacturer... Civil disobedience is the greatest engine for change
the world has ever known.
However, all that today's so-called civil disobedient seems to be
protesting is boredom and guilt over having well-off parents, while
killing time between Dave Matthews concerts.
Throwing a chair through the window of Starbucks because you
disapprove of their treatment of coffee pickers in South America is
juvenile. Throwing a chair through the window of Starbucks because you
asked for a grande latte percent and they gave you a venti half-caf
caramel macchiato, well, that's just basic common sense.
Do you know there are people who refuse to pay their federal income
taxes because they don't want their money going towards building
weapons of mass destruction? Now, while I applaud these citizens for
their dedication to their ideals and for having the courage to act on
their personal conscience, I also offer them one word of advice: move.
It's a big world out there, Rainbow McDolphin. If you don't feel like
paying the cover charge at Club America, pack up your Birkenstocks and
find yourself another place to groove.
Many participate in acts of civil disobedience because it gives them
an instant community of like-minded brethren who keep them from having
to spend their evenings alone, perusing a three-year-old issue of
"Mother Jones" magazine under the flickering half-light of that
cat-s**t-powered lamp in their hydroponic marijuana nursery, before
crawling under their unbleached burlap sheets for the unsatisfying
solace of a non-gendered dildo carved out of a cruelty-free handmade
Give them this, though. Today's protesters are a lot more media-savvy
than their predecessors, striving to spend more time in front of the
camera than a lens cover. Sure, without a doubt, there are many people
out there truly sacrificing for a worthy cause. However, I opine that
for every one of them, there are many more who are in it for the
publicity, the ***** or the buzz.
Come on: Al Sharpton on a hunger strike? Please. All he's doing is
going on all the diets he should have been on for the past 20 years,
all at once.
I mean, look who's doing the protesting: garage band dropouts, the
chronically unemployed, limelight-whore politicians and B-list
entertainers. People for whom living up in the top of a tree for 3
years could only be considered a lifestyle improvement.
Remember that girl in the redwood tree, huh? I think her name was
Butterfly, and she was living there to keep a timber company from
cutting it down. She stayed up in that tree for over a year through
lightning storms and rain and fires. And I have to say... I was
inspired. So inspired, in fact, that about a week after hearing about
Butterfly, when the owner of a local shoe store refused to give me a
refund for what was obviously a defective pair of Ugg Boots, well, I
got a sleeping bag and some basic supplies and climbed up in the
green-striped canvas awning over the shoestore's front door. And I
read a book, took a nap, ate an olive-loaf sandwich, talked to some
friends on my cell phone... then an hour and a half later, climbed
down and went home. I don't think the shoe store owner ever even knew
I was up there. But I knew it... and a few people walking by knew
it... and I... I just think sometimes you have to take a nap in other
people's awnings, that's all.
And a personal note to all the eco-zealots out there, inexplicably
blocking the roads to protest global warming: nobody loves this planet
more than I do. I live here, most of the time. But don't make me sit
in traffic for six hours because the only way Mother Earth will let
you **** her is if I stop using hairspray, OK, Stinkbean?
You know, in 30 years, this country has gone from Vietnam protestors
placing rose petals down the barrels of National Guardsmen's rifles to
tossing over garbage cans and setting fire to police cars because
we're glad the Lakers won the championship. I can't tell if we've
grown soft or just lost our ******** minds.
Ironically, nonviolent protest is at its most effective when it sparks
the authorities into violence, shaming them in the eyes of the world.
So what I'm saying is, if you're a cop, and some irate malcontent
who's dressed up like a sea-turtle is screaming in your face about
globalization or multinational corporations or whatever the latest
codeword is for "my parents say I have to be out of the house for at
least four hours a day," well, pull out your billy club and give him a
good whack on that
so-many-piercings-you'd-think-it-was-a- ***** -tacklebox head of his.
He'll be getting exactly what he wants. And if not, well, at least I will.
Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.