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November 20, 2000


Population Problem Responses; Ireland Reports; Blair


Take the ENN GM poll -- currently over half of all ENN (Environmental News
Network) visitors polled thin GM benefits outweigh drawbacks! This is not
exactly a pro-biotech audience.


Will the benefits of genetically-modified food eventually outweigh its

Yes 52%
No 48%
Total votes 215


From: "Frances B. Smith"
Subject: Re: Feeding or Controlling a Burgeoning Population

Dear Colleagues,

On this issue I commend to you the work of the late Julian Simon,
particularly his book, "The Ultimate Resource 2" (Princeton University
Press, 1996), in which Simon challenges common assumptions about resource
depletion and population growth. His concluding words are apt: "Adding
more people causes problems, but people are also the means to solve these
problems. The main fuel to speed our progress is our stock of knowledge,
and the brake is our lack of imagination. The ultimate resource is
people--skilled, spirited, and hopeful people who will exert their wills
and imaginations for their own benefit, and inevitably they will benefit
not only themselves but the rest of us as well."


Subj: Population
From: Stevens Brumbley

Dear Agbioview readers,

I am submitting the attached document in response to Alison MacLeod" and
especially to Mary Ellen Jones (As the attached document was too large, I
am unable to forward it----check URL below---Prakash). If we look at the
big issues impacting humankind to day, by far the most serious issues are
global in nature. This requires us to think differently than we have in
the past. A question we must ask as we work to help the developing world
is: "Are we simply trying to create new markets for the products generated
by the wealthy nations of the world or do we have a genuine desire to
improve the lot of our fellow human beings". This is a critical question
because as great as the material wealth of the west is it is not
sustainable and the western materialistic lifestyle cannot be applied to
all of the peoples of the world. However, if we do not address the
extremes between the wealthy and the poor the consequences of
overpopulation and the degradation of the environment because of this
overpopulation will be imposed upon the entire planet. It will not matter
where you live if the web of life on this planet has two many of its
threads cut. The solution to this problem is: 1) part material, the
extremes between the wealthy and the poor must be narrowed; 2) part
social, we need to think of ourselves as members of the same human race
and eliminate all forms of prejudice so that we can unite together to
tackle these enormous problems facing us here on planet earth; and 3) part
spiritual, the human soul is the common thread that links us all and the
opportunity for the soul to progress must be afforded to every human being
on this planet. This last part can only be achieved by giving every human
being access to an education that teaches them how to think rationally and
logically so that the vast majority of people do not go through life
following the blind superstitions and dogmas of their forefathers.

This document is A Statement Prepared by the Baha'i International
Community's Office of Public Information back in 1995. I think that you
will find that it addresses many of the issues facing humanity and offers
some clear suggestions on how to make progress on these issues. It was
sent out to the political, economic, religious and civic leaders around
the world.

For the complete document go to


Steve Brumbley

Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations, PO Box 8650 Meiers Road
Indooroopilly, Queensland 4068 AUSTRALIA


From: Mary Ellen Jones
Subject: Population

How serious am I? Well, I can't prescribe a cure for overpopulation in a
scholarly way, because it's not my field, so I just put out a query,
hoping that we might get a discussion going to satisfy my own selfish
curiosity about how we might be able to use biotech to help in population
control--FOR THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO USE IT--and waste treatment. It never
hurts to explore additional "publicly acceptable" uses for a technology,
especially when it is being challenged by consumers in its current

Even though I tried very carefully to say that I was NOT implying that
only poor folks should give up having so many children, the (fully
expected) reaction in one case was to put words in my mouth like, "Why
don't the poor simply control themselves (like us) and have fewer
children?" This is NEITHER what I said nor what I meant. Also, I never,
EVER suggested that we should tell other countries to stop reproducing or
manipulate people into not reproducing. If I confused anyone it is
probably because I tried to head off any such accusations by listing
several tongue-in-cheek examples of expected objections to bringing up
such a taboo subject.

From a sociological perspective, it is fascinating that this subject is so
sensitive that we automatically read between the lines to see how many
sophisticated ways a statement about population control offends our
closely held beliefs about human reproductive rights, and then respond to
the statement defensively. Only a few people who responded to my posting
noted that I also suggested looking into waste treatment opportunities for

Overpopulation does not consume any more of my intellectual time than
other miscellany. I was just curious what ideas others might have. I did
get some thought provoking replies, (Malcolm, Alex, in particular). Too
bad we didn't come up with a potential Nobel Prize winning idea this time
around, but, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Thanks to everyone who
responded to me privately as well as on the list. I think I'll drop the
subject now and go back to federal biotech policy analysis. It's a lot
less stressful!

Mary Ellen Jones, Ph.D.
PPWS - Glade Road Research Facility
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

From: "Shoba Venkatanagappa"

I concur with some views expressed here although none of them is a sole
answer. One of the biggest problems in the world today is poverty in so
called third world countries. A main reason for this is not so much of
food production per se but also distribution. Unfortunately globalisation
does not address this problem. For eg., in Australia farmers have in past
have slaughtered lambs to keep the meat prices stable. On many occasions
citrus farmers destroy their crop because it is too expensive to transport
to give it away. Similar situation with rice. If globalisation and
biotechnology have to address these imbalances then they have seriously
look at mode of food distribution as well. Biotechnology will have limited
implications on farmers in countries such as India where the holdings are
small and machines are not being used by majority of farmers. So any crop
selected as per western farming practices will not be of use there. It is
silly to develop advanced lines in western countries and then test them in
these countries as the G X E effect needs to be assessed in the third
world countries prior to developing advanced lines. Very few companies are
doing this. Biotechnology definitely has tremendous value in alleviating
poverty provided people address issues head on and not try to skirt around
the issues.

Shoba Venkatanagappa

From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Greenpeace Claims


Greenpeace boasts annual income of $125 million and $88 million in cash
reserves -- and then complains that it "can't compete" with the resources
of Life Sciences New Zealand when it flies in some expert witnesses like
Dr. Moore. A bit disingenuous at best. Calling it a lie might be more

>Excerpted - Dirty tricks call as defector flies to GM inquiry NZ
> Herald 19.11.2000
>Greenpeace is accusing the
>pro-GE Life Sciences Network of using "dirty tactics" by flying Dr
>Patrick Moore from Canada to appear before the commission this month.

From: Andrew Apel
Subject: Greenpeace Spreads Suspected Allergen

Greenpeace Admits Environmental Release of Suspected Allergen

November 16, 2000 Greenpeace, an international environmental and
anti-biotechnology group, has admitted intentionally releasing alleged
allergens produced by genetically-modified (GM) plants in an urban
environment. In a statement, the group said that several of their members,
wearing biohazard suits, dumped two tons of GM StarLink maize on a
sidewalk in San Francisco, Calif.

The group claims that the maize, which produces an insecticidal toxin,
"could cause dangerous allergic reactions in some people."

"The health of Americans should not be put at risk," said Simon Harris of
the Organic Consumers Association in the Greenpeace statement.

Greenpeace had no further comment on how it could justify exposing the
public to a toxin it considers dangerous.

From: Klaus Ammann
Subject: Debate 2000'1120 b: Inter-Departmental Group on Modern
Biotechnology Report from Ireland, October 2000, just released

Dear friends,

here a veritable textbook on genetically engineered crops, an impressive
new 'book of Kells' from Ireland, some 1200 years later, but alas, not so
nicely illuminated...

I also agree with thanks to the following comments from Shane Morris

Dear all,
I haven't read this fully yet as this report has just been released. Its
over 200 pages long so enjoy. the file it can be accessed on
http://www.entemp.ie/Whats.htm or directly at


Shane Morris
Research Associate Center for Safe Food Dept. of Plant Agriculture
University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1 Phon e: (519)-824-4120 ext.
3596 Fax: (519)-763-8933 Email: morris@uoguelph.ca
Web: <http://www.plant.uoguelph.ca/safefood/>
you can also load the file down from:



Blair turns his fire on anti-GM food protesters

Roland Watson, Mark Henderson and Alan Hamilton Times of London November
18, 2000

THE Prime Minister promised money and moral support for Britain's
scientific community yesterday as he criticised sections of the Green
lobby for standing in the way of progress.

The Government would not be "blackmailed" by opponents of GM crops or
biotechnology that promised cures for a range of killer diseases. Tony
Blair conceded that there were "legitimate concerns" about the pace and
scope of scientific development, adding that there was "more than one
morally acceptable outcome". But in an unashamedly pro-science address to
the European bioscience conference in London, which appeared to put him at
odds with the Prince of Wales's recent remarks about man's hand being
behind natural disasters, Mr Blair gave warning of the dangers of slipping
unintentionally into an "anti-science" mindset.

Appearing to refer to anti-GM protesters and anti- vivisectionists, the
Prime Minister said it was wrong to "make heroes of people who are
preventing basic scientific research taking place; it is to substitute
aggression for argument". He added that the Government would not tolerate
"blackmail, even physical assault", by opponents of research. St James's
Palace said the Prince of Wales was not anti-science, he merely tried to
persuade people to look more closely at the implications of an
industrialised and scientific society. The Prime Minister's defence of
controversial research was welcomed by the scientific community. Some
researchers, however, said that the true measure of his support would be
found in legislative action rather than warm words. In particular, they
demanded that the Government do more to protect field trials of GM crops
from destruction by protesters, and to simplify the bureaucracy involved
in animal testing of new drugs.

Sir William Stewart, a former government Chief Scientific Adviser who is
now President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science,
said: "It is very good news that the Prime Minister is talking in this
way. He has signalled to the scientific and industrial community that he
is largely on their side. He has got to deliver financially, however,
which he is starting to do, and he has got to deliver a broad policy that
is friendly to science." Sir Walter Bodmer, the leading geneticist and
cancer researcher, said: "I applaud him for making this speech. It is very
important that politicians speak up for the view that science and
technology must be one's friend, not something to be seen as a threat."

Sir Vivian Moses, chairman of the pro-GM panel CropGen, "strongly
welcomed" Mr Blair's warning to anti-GM protesters, but added: "If he is
really serious about what he says, we have to see proper protection of GM
trials against vandalism. The evidence in favour of GM foods is stacking
up and it is time to begin to draw some conclusions. Being neither pro nor
anti is not really good enough."

Lord Melchett, the executive director of Greenpeace who was acquitted of
criminal damage to a field of GM maize, said: "Worshipping slavishly and
unthinkingly at the seat of every new scientific fad is more damaging to
science than the healthy, questioning scepticism that most other countries
show towards untried, unpredictable and uncontrollable technologies like
GM food."

Pete Riley, of Friends of the Earth, said: "What concerns us on the food
front is that we do not regard science as sufficiently well advanced to
make decisions on the future of farming."

From: Klaus Ammann
Subject: Debate 2000'1120 a: DOK field trial: FiBL Dossier August 2000:
Organic farming enhances soil fertility and biodiversity Results of a 21
year field trial in Switzerland. The DOK-long term trial - unique in its
conception - compares the consequences of bio-organic, bio-dynamic and
conventional farming systems

Dear Friends,

here the impressive results of a 21 year field trial from Switzerland,
published by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture in Frick,
Switzerland. Its well worth studying the results - an unique set of data
comparing conventional, biodynamic and organic farming systems. These
results show, that organic farming is a strategy to be taken very serious.
ALL new farming strategies should incorporate such results.

I cannot see ANY reason why these farming practices should not be combined
with modern breeding methods such as adapted genetic engineering,
application of systemic acquired resistance etc. etc. Indeed, a
combination, wisely adapted, would be the future goal. As usual, with
important documents, I also produced a Power Point document, both can be
downloaded from our ftp server, but also you can go to the FiBL site, see
below the imprint with all addresses and authors.

the FiBL Document
ftp://debate:friends@sgiserv.unibe.ch/home/debate/DOC_slim.pdf the Power
Point Document containing all graphs
ftp://debate:friends@sgiserv.unibe.ch/home/debate/Monitoring.ppt (just in
case you load it down in Internet-Explorer: Go to Edit pulldown menue:
'edit slides' will bring you to the normal Power Point things)