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July 4, 2000


open letter to MW Ho


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

Dear Dr Ho,

In your evidence to the Special Forum organized by Congressman Tony Hall,
Capitol Hill, Washington DC, 29 June 2000
you stated that you were

> among the 327 scientists from 38 countries who have signed an Open
>Letter to all Governments demanding a moratorium on GM crops because we
>have reasons to believe they are not safe (1).

I have checked the petition and found that at least 85 of the signators are
not scientists at all (See http://www.netspeed.com.au/ttguy/world-ns.htm).
We have anthropologists,
sociologists, general medical practitioners, 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 this petition.

Why do you lie about the makeup of the petition?

Your evidence opened by stating you are a scientist concerned for the
environment and your evidence concluded:

> GM crops are not safe, not needed and fundamentally
>unsound. Far from helping to fight world hunger, they are standing in the
>way of the necessary global shift to sustainable organic agriculture that
>can really provide food security and health around the world

Here you assert that organic agriculture is sustainable. If, Dr Ho, you are
a scientist then you should be able to back your claims that organic
agriculture is sustainable. You should be able to produce figures that show
that their is sufficient arable land and sufficient means to produce
organic nitrogen by organic farming techniques to sustain the current world
population under a world agriculture regime that has moved solely to
organic production techniques. You must factor in the contribution of
cattle used for manure to the greenhouse effect. You must take into account
methane emissions from these cows and the fact that methane absorbs 25
times more infra-red radiation as carbon dioxide.

The proponents of GM agriculture can prove that their changes will make
incremental advances towards sustainablity. Proponents of GM agriculture
conceed that current agricultural practices are not sustainable. As a
result they are motivated to make minor changes to production techniques
that have a positive and demonstrable impact on sustainablity. For example
getting plants to make their own insecticide using solar energy or enabling
farmers to use minimum tillage and conserve soil structure - things that
can only have a positive impact on sustainablity. These changes can be
shown to have incremental benifits to sustainablility. You on the other
hand are advocating a major far sweeping change to world agriculture but so
far have not presented any evidence that this will have a positive impact
on sustainablity. By the precautionary principle, it is up to you to
provide evidence that this change is not dangerous to the environment.

Since you have been a long standing promoter of organic agriculture and the
founder of the Institute of Science in Society such figures must be easily
available to you. Otherwise you would not be advocating such a radical
change in the way society runs agriculture.

I look forward to seeing your figures.

Roger Morton

Opinons expressed in this posting are personal and do not reflect the
position of my employer