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July 2, 2000


ISIS, GMO speakers, Sainsburys, China


AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com

Date: Jul 03 2000 01:31:04 EDT
From: Roger Morton
Subject: Re: final reply to Ryan. Phew!

Dear Tony and list members,

You make a good point about the ISIS petition. I have taken a careful look
at the petition and noted that
not only are the vast majority of the so called scientists on the ISIS list
without any obvious expertise in the field of plant molecular biology at
least 85 of the 310 names on the list are not scientists at all. See
http://www.netspeed.com.au/ttguy/world-ns.htm to see a sub list of the ISIS
list which reveals that much of the ISIS list consists of anthropologists,
socialogists, general medical practictioners, economists and psychiatrists.
We also have a podiatrist, a linguist, a wholistic practitioner, a PR man,
a chiropractor and the director of the UK Soil association on the "world
scientists statment".

Dr Roger Morton 02 6246 5069 (ph)
CSIRO Plant Industry 02 6246 5000 (fax)
GPO Box 1600 roger.morton@pi.csiro.au

At 01:37 PM 30/6/00 +0000, you wrote:
>AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com
>Dear Angela
>At the beginning you said you had constructed a list of scientists who had
signed a petition against GM.
>Unless that list contains virtually all plant scientists then frankly in
my opinion it is useless. Detailed
>examinations by psychologists have shown that outside their narrow area of
expertise, scientists are not
>better informed than the average well-informed layman and just as prone to
silly mistakes. Simply calling
>someone a scientist can be used to try and imply to the public that this
individual has detailed knowledge
>whereas the reality is that he is no better informed than anyone else.
Within an area of expertise built up by
>experience, reading, research and publishing journals a totally different
perspective is created so that the
>thinking becomes different.

Subj: Re: GMO Speakers
Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2000 1:10:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: "Garth Coffin"

My request is similar to that of Maria van Hekken's in that I am
seeking speakers to participate in a GMO debate as part of the
Atlantic Agricultural Science and Technology Workshop to be
held at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC) on October 26
and 27, 2000. We anticipate an attendance of about 200, mostly
reseachers, extension specialists, professors and industry
representatives, primarily from Eastern Canada. More about the
program can be found on our web site:

For those who do not know the NSAC, we are a university-college,
specializing in agriculture and related fields, and located in the
town of Truro, Nova Scotia. It is a great place to visit in October!

I have followed the debate on the AgBioView network with great
interest since it's inception and must say it has been informative as
well as entertaining. So many well-articulated arguments and
thoughtful comments from many corners of the world, together with
the occasional "testy" rejoinder between those of opposing views,
have made this a fascinating journey. The odd bit of empirical data
has also added value.

One interesting aspect of the ongoing debate is the extent to which
the focus has shifted away from the safety of GMO's to the safety
and economy of organic agriculture. We need to be reminded from
time to time that this should not be an "either-or" proposition. There
is room for both and both should be encouraged to satisfy a
broader range of consumer preferences. While I am convinced
about the value, necessity and potential of the latest technology for
genetic improvements of crops and livestock, the scientific and
economic challenges of organic agriculture also merit some
attention, not as the solution to the challenge of feeding the world,
but as a response to consumer preferences by those who are
willing and able to pay for those products. Indeed, if we can get
past our hang-ups about GMO's, genetic manipulation of crops
might even help organic methods to become more competitive as
an alternative method of production.

Having acknowledged the sovereignty of consumer preference, I
am, nonetheless, somewhat astonished by the extent to which the
"chicken-little" (sky-is-falling) syndrome has influenced consumers
and, consequently, affected decision-making in the food industry.
Without documented evidence to support it, the food safety issue
appears to be a less than genuine case, one might even say
intellectually dishonest tactic, to persuade the public to support the
various lobby groups carrying an anti-biotech banner. The GMO
issue may be the best thing since baby seals as a revenue
generator for groups like Greenpeace.

One thing the strategy has done in a round-about way, of course,
is to focus public attention on the issue of market structure,
namely, the role of the large corporations. While the nature of
competition at all levels in the food industry is a valid and
increasingly relevant issue deserving attention in its own right, this
method of addressing it leaves something to be desired. The
shrinking role of governments in many areas, including research
and development in agriculture and food, and its effects on the
directions of that research, should be examined on a broader
basis, perhaps by an international consortium of economists and
bio-scientists, in the context of public welfare. One might
hypothesize that, while commercial considerations carry more
weight in that decision-making, the public, as a whole, is not
necessarily worse off. However, the distribution of benefits from
R&D might well be affected.

But that's a story for another day. In the meantime, I look forward
to your suggestions for GMO debaters for our science and
technology workshop in October.

Garth Coffin
Nova Scotia Agricultural College
Box 550, Truro NS
B2N 5E3, Canada

Subj: Re: GMO Speakers
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2000 1:00:12 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: EEntis@aol.com

As the spokesman for Aqua Bounty Farms (transgenic fish),I have a certain
amount of experience in speaking before various groups - hostile,
mass media, etc.
Elliot Entis
Aqua Bounty Farms

Subj: Research into GM foods
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2000 7:30:45 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: "Meredith Lloyd Evans - BioBridge"

I am contacting Sainsburys to support your research into GM vegetables and
crops. At the same time, I wish to point out that you are ignoring my
views as a consumer, removing my choice as a consumer, and damaging a
technology that has more potential for environmental benefit and food
security than organic cultivation has, by promoting an anti-GM stance in
your advertising and your selling policies. Please reintroduce foods
containing GM ingredients, since there is absolutely no scientific basis
for any decision not to stock them. If necessary, place them in a specific
area, as you do for organic foods.

yours sincerely

Mr Meredith Lloyd-Evans, Managing Partner BioBridge Associates & Arcadia =
International eeig; 45 St Barnabas Road, Cambridge CB1 2BX tel +44 1223 =
566850, fax +44 1223 470222
Biotechnology for a safer future!

Subj: RE: Biotech in China
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2000 9:32:38 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: "TENG, PAUL S [AG/5330]"

John Mottley's request last month for data on China:

The following data were presented by Prof. CHEN ZangLiang, Beijing
University, at the SEAMEO-SEARCA Regional Agricultural Biotechnology
Conference, Bangkok, Thailand, June 29-30 2000.
1997 1998
Applications 55 68 73
Approval for commercialization 4 2 20
Env. release 31 10 18
Field trials 10 39 24
Pending 7 16 11

Source cited: Office of Genetic Engineering Safety Administration, Ministry
of Agriculture. Chen ZL distributed a three page summary of his talk.