Following is a paragraph taken from the joint statement by the Indian
Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Clinton during Indian PM's visit to
Washington in mid-September. Note their mention of agricultural
biotechnology's potential in enhancing food security.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release September 15, 2000
Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Clinton today reaffirmed the vision
they outlined in March in New Delhi of a closer and qualitatively new
relationship between India and the United States in the 21st century.
The two leaders........ recognized the contribution that biotechnology can
make to a safe and nutritious food supply, in offering new options to
farmers to address problems of pests and diseases, while to contributing
to environmental protection and enhancing global food security. The
governments of the United States and India will explore ways of enhancing
cooperation and information exchange, joint collaborative projects and
training of scientists in agriculture biotechnology research. The ongoing
vaccine research would be further strengthened also, making use of
genomics and bioinformatics. The governments of both the United States and
India support science-based regulatory activities.
(source Agnet Douglas A Powell )
LIVES DEPEND ON FRANKENFOODS
October 24, 2000 The Daily News (Halifax) p18 Scripps Howard News Service
Former U.S. senator George McGovern, is ambassador to the U.S. Mission of
the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome, writes in
this opinion piece that the most promising weapon in the global war
against world hunger is high-yielding, scientific agriculture, including
genetically modified crops, yet, the gene modification controversy and
trumped-up fears of Frankenfoods are stepping on the promise.
McGovern says that science enables life-sustaining plants to survive
pests, salt and dry weather—all of this with less reliance on pesticides
and irrigation water. Cereal grains can be modified to mature more quickly
and yet have more nutritional benefits. Some of the earlier successes with
modifying plant genes have resulted in crops with greater resistance to
insects. Since such plants require less pesticide, they improve farm
income while reducing environmental damage.
Research has also moved ahead by Swiss scientists to produce a healthier
strain of rice—a crop that could improve the diet of nearly two-and-a-half
billion people. The so-called golden rice has increased levels of Vitamin
A and iron, potentially preventing millions of cases of blindness and
anemia among children with scant access to nutritious food, let alone
McGovern says he shuddered recently when he read that a prosperous chef of
a chic Manhattan restaurant denounced this new live saving technology, and
asks how could we have come to this? Many scientific breakthroughs have
been greeted over the centuries by skepticism, fear and some hostility.
Such reactions are not all bad and, indeed, can be productive by forcing a
measure of caution before new ideas are accepted. There should be
sufficient research, experimentation and discussion before unimagined,
far-reaching new foods created by the merger of biotechnology and
agriculture are made available to all. To meet those needs, the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has established an
intergovernmental group of experts to look into critical issues related to
biotechnology, including prudent risk assessment. It is the answer to the
calls for labelling or outright bans, as well as those who seek standards
for international trade. This group can give us the benefit of searching
inquiry into key questions relative to the farming of genetically improved
food by some of the best minds in the world. They have no axe to grind.
Their mission is to arrive at the most realistic assessment possible of
all aspects of the genetic farming issue. The United Nation's work builds
upon the solid regulatory foundation established by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency. None of the genetically improved foods
already available to us would have come to pass without their review and
We know that science and technology have played a key role for the past
century in adding greatly to the production of North American farmers and
those in other advanced countries. Hybrid seed corn developed in the early
1900s was a highly valued breakthrough, not only for Iowa farmers, but for
farmers around the world.
The ``Green Revolution'' got its name after scientists discovered through
gene modification how to increase the capacity of green plants to use
sunlight, water and soil nutrients, essentially making it possible to grow
more food on less land with fewer pesticides and less water. In the past
three decades, most of the increase in food production—with an estimated
three-fourths of it notably in India and other parts of South Asia—has
stemmed from the Green Revolution. To the best of his knowledge, no one
has been poisoned or sickened by progress. Indeed, the health of people
and livestock consuming modified grains has improved, and often even
In fact, for more than four decades, the United States and other countries
have helped in keeping millions of our fellow humans alive because science
has enabled us and others to achieve a much higher output of corn, rice,
wheat and potatoes. And in the not too distant future, an estimated two
million unnecessary deaths each year may be prevented when wholesome
bananas, soybeans, rice, tomatoes, wheat, corn and even lettuce can be
genetically improved to protect children with edible vaccines. Where an
injection of a diphtheria vaccine may be a logistical nightmare in a
faraway jungle, a fresh piece of fruit could save a life. Dr. Norman
Borlaug, the Nobel Prize-winning distinguished professor of international
agriculture at Texas A&M University, is an esteemed, socially conscious
scientist who used his genius to soar above famine and want. It is because
of his love for humankind that we dare not ignore the alarm he sounded in
the International Herald-Tribune: ``Extreme environmental elitists seem to
be doing everything they can to stop scientific progress. Small,
well-financed, vociferous, anti-science groups are threatening the
development and application of new technology, whether it is developed
from biotechnology or more conventional methods of agricultural science.''
Understandably, some of the economic and social issues that we face in the
future will be controversial. But one compelling moral issue is clear:
every major religion and ethical formulation commands its adherents to
feed the hungry. There is no room in Christianity, Judaism, Islam,
Buddhism, Hinduism, or any of the other great religious and technical
traditions for those who turn their backs on the needy. The scientific,
biotechnical improvements in both the quality and quantity of foods is a
major breakthrough. It must not be stymied by voices raised against the
hypothetical, while real disease and starvation threaten millions of
From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Human Predation
We sit atop the food chain, a position we occupy, according
to one Book, by divine ordinance. Many members of H. sapiens
are unsure whether they should be proud or ashamed of this
position, and are unsure if they are stewards or destroyers.
Their short-lived generations rob them of the chance to
achieve a perspective on changes that span centuries and
millennia. Science seeks to span the generational lapses,
but it falters at each paradigm shift. Science, too, has its
In spite of the intellectual ferment at the pinnacle of the
digestive order of nature, stagnation always beckons for the
top species. Without predators, the most prolific and
powerful species risks morbidity, so it creates governments,
factions, activist groups and yes, wars, to prod its
evolution. Ever since humans conquered the African savannah,
they have had to turn against each other to evolve.
In this turning, in the age of information and global trade,
the lines are redrawn in the perennial human conflict. Now
it is the educated vs. the uneducated, the well-fed vs. the
hungry, Vandana Shiva and Mae Wan-Ho exhorting the hordes of
the latter, preying on superstitions of their own creation.
Exhorting them to sacrifice themselves for the sake of some
ideal which masquerades as the bounty in an imaginary
contest. The most successful tyrants proceed in this manner,
so perhaps not all lessons of history have been lost.
If Hitler today returned to preach his doctrine of the
"natural order," he would be largely ignored. These two
women have a slightly revised doctrine of the "natural
order" and are as gladly embraced as Hitler was, in his own
time. Those willing to delve into these womens' messages
will find them fundamentally little different from Hitler's,
merely updated for a newer generation, in which are found
the seeds of a new war.
The developed nations have been deprived of war for half a
century; the only remaining question is how humans will
conduct the next war, and who the casualties will be. Shiva
and Ho currently lead the newest casualties to a "virtuous"
doom and history will, if these women get their wish, record
their names next to Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Lenin and Pol Pot
as predatory demagogues, and if it is honest will record the
But hey, humans sit at the top of the food chain. Since
their predators don't exist, they have to be invented--and
some members of the species gladly supply the invention.
As in most things, von Clausewitz is right.
Subj: Pro GM news wire
From: "Gordon Couger"
One reason that the anti GM movements get so much of the news is there is
no pro GM new to counteract it. Many journalist will give both sides of a
situation if they are available. Our side is usually not available. Or if
it is it is the writing is way over the 6th grade reading level that is
about the level news is done.
We have the talent, resources and means to provide a free news service via
the inter net of pro GM articles. Some of us that are retired can do the
writing so there is no political problems at work. We can form a jury to
keep folks like me to actual facts. I know a few farm editors that can get
us started in the newspaper world. Maybe there are some of you that have
connections to other media.
Here we are singing to the chior. On this list we will win no converts. We
are all committed one way or the other. We need to tell our story to the
public not each other.
I have the resources to host the mail list and web pages.
Do I have any takers?
Gordon Couger firstname.lastname@example.org Retired Farmer www.couger.com/gcouger
From: "BARRY, GERARD F [AG/1005]"
See new information on data we are providing from the Monsanto Rice Genome
database. This may be of interest to your mail group.