info4action archive

[Index][Thread]

GE - GM news as of 6th Sept



1) U.S. farmers face extra work, costs in GM crop battle -By Bob Burgdorfer
-CHICAGO, Sept 2 (Reuters) 
2) 3 Sep 1999 From: <papadop@peak.org> -WTO (Seattle) and the CIA
3) As WTO prepares for "Millennium Round"  World trade conflicts intensify
By Nick Beams 18 August 1999
4) Patent eagles target Indian curry in Japan - By Kalpana Jain - Courtesy -
The Economic Times, September 3, 1999
5) SUPPORT GREENPEACE'S CAMPAIGN FOR A 'GE-FREE STATE OF RIO GRANDE DO SUL' -
Sao Paulo, 31 August 1999. 
6) EU'S WALLSTROM BACKS ENVIRONMENTAL LIABILITY - Sept 2/99 - Reuters - By
Michael Mann BRUSSELS - 
7) Scientists warn of DDT  trap. - Dairy Exporter July 1999 - The New Zealand
dairy industry, in its enthusiasm to adopt biotechnology, must be careful it
doesn't fall into the same trap as the world  did with DDT.
8)  Published Saturday, September 4, 1999 - Genetic engineering foes claim
credit for crop destruction - Liz Fedor / Star Tribune
9)  09/03/99 UK: ECO-ACTIVISTS TO THE POOR - `LET THEM EAT CAKE'. By T.
Michael
Wilson.
10)U.S. grain merchants paying up for non-GMO crops - Tuesday September 7, -
By Doris Frankel -CHICAGO, Sept 7 (Reuters)

1) U.S. farmers face extra work, costs in GM crop battle -By Bob Burgdorfer
-CHICAGO, Sept 2 (Reuters) -

The global battle over genetically modified
crops moved closer to U.S. farmers this week when agribusiness giant
Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE:ADM - news) warned suppliers to
keep such crops separate from conventional ones.

With harvest only days away in the Corn Belt, farmers and grain merchants
heeding the warning will be forced to
absorb additional storage and handling costs, industry sources said.

``If you needed two bins before, now you will need four,'' said Kevin
Aandahl, spokesman for the National Corn
Growers Association.

Crops genetically altered to resist pests or herbicides debuted three years
ago in the United States and their use has
skyrocketed. An estimated 35 percent of this year's U.S. corn crop and 55
percent of soybeans -- almost five billion
bushels in total -- will derive from genetically modified (GM) seeds.

But consumer groups in Asia and the European Union (EU), both major export
markets, have generated a tide of
protest against the use of GM crops in foods and livestock feed.

ADM said in a statement this week that some customers are basing their
purchases on the genetic origin of crops.

``We encourage you as our supplier to segregate nongenetically enhanced
crops to preserve their identity,'' the statement
said.

ADM is a major buyer of crops, with more than 500 grain elevators and 355
crop processing plants worldwide.

ADM's request was not unexpected. The American Soybean Association advised
its members earlier this year to
expect requests to keep GM and conventional crops separated.

``We are anticipating that Japan alone is going to be needing 700,000
metric tons of non-GMO beans because they go
directly into food use,'' said ASA spokesman Bob Callanan.

Callanan said ASA was disappointed ADM's statement failed to mention any
price incentives for separating crops.

An ADM spokeswoman said the market will determine if price premiums are to
be paid.

``We will let the market direct our procurement policy,'' she said.

``From the elevator standpoint this is going to create a real challenge,''
said Lynn Jensen, president-elect of the National
Corn Growers Association. ``Any time you segregate there is a cost.''

Cargill Inc., the nation's largest private company and a grain processing
and export competitor of ADM's, said it will
continue taking a different approach than ADM.

``We are not asking our customers at this point to do what ADM is
suggesting in terms of segregating,'' said Lori
Johnson, Cargill spokeswoman, of the GM crops.

``With the exception that we are asking our customers to let us know if
they are bringing in the couple of (GM) corn
varieties that are not yet approved in the EU,'' she added. ``We can then
divert those into domestic channels.''

She said Cargill expects the grain industry to become more specialized with
most farmers eventually producing crops
bred specifically for niche markets.

Cargill has a joint venture with Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MTC - news), the same
company that produced the Roundup
Ready soybeans, to genetically design crops for specific food and feed uses.

===================
2) 3 Sep 1999 From: <papadop@peak.org> -WTO (Seattle) and the CIA

Again I'm playing catch-up - I posted the report about the CIA's National
Intelligence Council "rehearsing" for the WTO meeting in Seattle. I still
haven't seen a copy of the original Financial Times' report but the
following implies that the CIA has more than just "law-and-order"
interest in that event. 

And again it's worth noting that the agenda at Seattle is about world
trade, subjects like the environment, health, education, sustainability
and human rights are peripheral. 
Cheers
MichaelP

=====================
World Socialist Web Site
<http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/aug1999/wto-a18_prn.shtml>http://www.wsw
s.org/articles/1999/aug1999/wto-a18_prn.shtml

3) As WTO prepares for "Millennium Round"  World trade conflicts intensify
By Nick Beams 18 August 1999

An article published in the Financial Times last Saturday on some recent
activities of the US Central Intelligence Agency has cast a revealing
light on the tensions between the major capitalist powers as they prepare
for the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation to be held in
Seattle in November to set the agenda for global trade negotiations in the
so-called Millennium Round.

Entitled "CIA rehearses for sleepless night in Seattle", it reported that
earlier this month the National Intelligence Council, which reports to CIA
director George Tenet on potential threats to US national security, had
held a mock WTO conference in Washington in order to prepare for the
November meeting.

A CIA spokesman said the exercise had been undertaken to "prepare
policymakers" for the meeting and that the agency "routinely" held such
conferences "in order to help sharpen the level of debate about important
issues."

According to the report: "Delegates to the mini conference included a wide
range of intelligence officers, former senior trade officials, academics
and others. Many are understood to have played the parts of
representatives of other countries - in particular of traditional trade
rivals such as the EU and Japan - to try and simulate what kinds of debate
and disagreements might be heard in November."

It noted that while the CIA was widely rumoured to have stolen the
position papers of the French delegation towards the conclusion of the
so-called Uruguay Round of global trade negotiations in 1993, "the
decision to give such prominence to the forthcoming ministerial meeting
appears to mark a new departure for US intelligence."

Preparations for the WTO meeting have been underway for several months
amid growing reports of deep divisions between the major economic blocs.
Last Monday, for example, the Australian Financial Review reported that
the tabling of policy positions by WTO members had "exposed a startling
absence of consensus on the content of the negotiating round". While there
was agreement of the need to include agriculture and services, there was
"little common ground", particularly among the major countries on the rest
of the agenda.

The EU and Japan are believed to be in favour of the development of global
rules on investment and competition policy. But the US is opposed to such
a wide agenda fearing that it could take years to reach such broad
agreement, thereby holding up the adoption of specific policies to open up
markets in services, agriculture and industrial products.

Even before the talks get underway, this year has already seen the
eruption of a bitter conflict between the US and the EU over agricultural
policies with the US imposing punitive duties under WTO rules in
retaliation for the refusal of the EU to abide by rulings on the imports
of banana and hormone-treated beef.

But the beef and banana wars may well turn out to be just the preliminary
skirmishes for a even bigger conflict over the issue of genetically
modified foods, for which the EU decided to suspend authorisation in June
until a new system of safety standards could be agreed upon.

Issuing his first major policy statement since taking up the post of US
ambassador to the EU in July, Richard Morningstar warned that Europe and
America are heading for a $1 billion trade war if the EU persisted in its
opposition.

In a biannual Letter from Brussels, Morningstar, who previously held the
position of Special Adviser to the President on Caspian Basin energy, said
that "politics and demagoguery have completely taken over the regulatory
process" in regard to EU policy on genetically modified foods.

"Particularly in the UK, the media has learnt to love a good food safety
scare, and the public debate all too often is dominated by scare stories
and nightmare scenarios without any scientific basis. Until the EU can
credibly separate science-based risk assessment and regulations from the
political process the outlook for resolution of this issue is bleak."

There was a danger that the EU was over-reacting to the Belgian dioxin
food scare and was moving to impose bans on animal feed substances which
were permitted in the US. Hasty EU actions in this area risked becoming
"another trade flashpoint".

With the market in genetically-modified foods likely to be worth billions
of dollars in the coming years, the conflict over this issue would make
the row over beef and bananas pale by comparison, he warned.

But agriculture is not the only area of dispute. Even more significant
could be the demand by the US that a global free market in services be
established as a result of the WTO negotiations.

The significance of this area for US corporate interests and the wide
ranging scope of the American agenda was set out in a speech delivered by
US Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky to the World Services
Conference held in Washington on June 1.

The US, she said, was "laying the foundation for a very ambitious and
challenging agenda on trade in services over the next few years" covering
a "vast range of industries, from finance and telecommunications to
distribution, health, education, environmental protection, travel and
tourism, construction, law, engineering, architecture and more."

The United States had created "the world's most efficient, competitive
services sector" providing more than $6 trillion worth of production - 70
percent of American GDP and more than one dollar in seven of world
production.

However, while 50 years of negotiations had provided substantially freer
trade in industrial goods, the situation was very different in services
where "rules and market access commitments are new."

"Even for WTO members trade is highly restricted. In most service sectors
we see few specific commitments. Seventy WTO members have signed the
Financial Services Agreement ... and a comparable number the Agreement on
Basic Telecommunications; that means over sixty have signed neither. Only
14 WTO members have made commitments in audiovisual services. No
developing countries have made commitments on gathering and dissemination
of news; fewer that 50 WTO members have made commitments in distribution.
And economies outside the WTO have done even less.

"There are barriers to American exports and job creation. Our performance
in a relatively closed world - $265 billion in services exports last year,
supporting four million jobs - is simply an indicator of how much we can
achieve in an open market."

Citing the importance of "regional initiatives" both for their direct and
intrinsic benefits and as "models for what we might hope to achieve
worldwide" in the forthcoming Millennium Round, Barshefsky pointed to the
Transatlantic Economic Partnership with the EU, the aim of which was to
"make it easier for US professionals and firms to operate in Europe,
safeguard US interests as the EU expands and set an example of bilateral
liberalization which the world can follow in the Round."

"Our work in Japan," she continued, "has similar implications. Here, our
agenda will assist the Japanese government's efforts in the financial
services ' Big Bang' and elsewhere to create a more flexible and efficient
economy, open new opportunities for international business, and create
areas of consensus as the Round approaches."

The US agenda in Japan includes liberalization of key sectors such as
distribution, professional service, finance, energy and
telecommunications.

In their public pronouncements, the representatives of the major
capitalist powers proclaim the benefits of the free market agenda in terms
of the expansion of economic growth and jobs. But behind closed doors, the
discussion assumes a more hostile tone ... at least where the majority of
poorer countries are concerned.

This week the Indian Financial Express reported on a WTO Trade and
Development symposium held last March. Held with the aim of winning
support from developing countries for the agenda of the new round of
negotiations, it ended with threats and insults from the chairman.

The director of the World Bank's Development Research Group, Paul Collier,
wound up the conference with a speech in which he attacked African
countries for having marginalised themselves in the WTO by not
participating in it, pressing for special treatment which did not meet
their needs, aspiring to regional trade arrangements that were a "dead
end" carrying out "low credibility liberalisation" and creating a "hostile
environment" by focusing their trade on a few commodities.

According to the report, Collier denounced "African elites [who] did not
want to undertake economic reforms because the status quo benefited them.
' In political science we learn under what circumstances the elites would
bite the bullet and make changes,' he said. ' Political science tells us
that changes come when the elites get scared.' He said the Africans ought
now to be scared, because the future will be one of protectionism in the
United States, unless the Americans could be offered something in a new
round of trade negotiations."

Collier's concluding remarks followed similar threats by the main speaker,
Fred Bergsten, the director of the Washington-based Institute for
International Economics, who warned developing countries that they faced
"huge risks" if they did not agree to a new WTO round. They had to provide
"increased and eventually full access" to their markets as part of a
bargain with the US and the EU not to erect new protectionist barriers.

No doubt - when the conference opens in November, the air will be filled
with the rhetoric of freedom, the rule of law, global economic expansion
and international collaboration. But behind the scenes, with the
activities of the CIA and the issuing of threats to smaller nations, it
will be a very different story as the most powerful transnational
corporations and their governments lay down the agenda for the next stage
of their global expansion.

=================================
4) Patent eagles target Indian curry in Japan - By Kalpana Jain - Courtesy -
The Economic Times, September 3, 1999

NEW DELHI: An application for patenting the Indian curry is pending with the
patent office in Japan.

The application, No. 072829214, filed sometime ago, listed as ``inventors'',
two Japanese, Hirayama Makoto and Ohashi Sachiyo.

This is how the constitution of the curry is described: By mixing
ingredients such as onion, potato, carrot and meat cut and processed by
conventional method with water and preferably extract of spices such as
turmeric, cumin and coriander.

Experts are voicing concern over the increasing trend of patents involving
traditional Indian knowledge.

Government patent experts, requesting anonymity, say that ``It is a matter
of concern. But there is no reason for panic. We need to see whether
granting of such patents can hit commercial or emotional interests.''
================
5) SUPPORT GREENPEACE'S CAMPAIGN FOR A 'GE-FREE STATE OF RIO GRANDE DO SUL' -
Sao Paulo, 31 August 1999. 
Two months ago, Greenpeace Brazil offically launched
its campaign for a 'GE-free state of Rio Grande do Sul'. The goal of the
campaign is to mobilise the public in favour of the GE-free initiative and to
urge the Legislative Assembly of Rio Grande do Sul to approve the relevant
law,
which has been proposed by the regional Government and is currently under
discussion.

Brazil is the second biggest producer of soya in the world and the only one
which still produces a GE-free harvest. Monsanto's attempt to market Roundup
Ready Soybeans in Brazil has been stopped by Greenpeace at the Federal
Court in
Brasilia. The initiative of the  regional Government would guarantee the
supply
of GE-free soya demanded by European producers and consumers over the long
term.

Greenpeace Brazil has already begun to collect signatures in Brazil, but
international support is extremely important in order to show that people
around
the world are concerned about the release of GMOs and do not want to eat
GE-food.

We have prepared a letter that you can send to the President of the
Legislative
Assembly of Rio Grande do Sul, Mr. Paulo Odone in order to express your
concerns. Of course we would also appreciate it, if you could write your own
letter expressing your specific concerns.

You can either visit the homepage of Greenpeace Brazil
(<http://www.greenpeace.org.br/>www.greenpeace.org.br)
to send the original letter in Portuguese or send the English version from our
homepage at <http://www.greenpeace.org/%7Egeneng>www.greenpeace.org/~geneng.
Thank you for your help.
=====================
6) EU'S WALLSTROM BACKS ENVIRONMENTAL LIABILITY - Sept 2/99 - Reuters - By
Michael Mann BRUSSELS 

The European Union's future environment commissioner,
Sweden's Margot Wallstrom, was cited as telling a confirmation hearing at the
European Parliament Thursday for wide-ranging legislation to guarantee
that companies are liable for any environmental damage caused by the
products they manufactureis required.
Wallstrom was cited as telling the assembly's environment committee
that the burden should be on companies to prove that products they introduce
are safe, adding that the bloc needed comprehensive rules on
environmental liability, adding, "I will push for comprehensive rules on
liability and

try to ensure the proposal is completed as quickly as possible and
applied across the board."
The parliament will vote on September 15 whether to approve or reject
Prodi's team en masse.
==================
7) Scientists warn of DDT  trap. - Dairy Exporter July 1999 - The New Zealand
dairy industry, in its enthusiasm to adopt biotechnology, must be careful it
doesn't fall into the same trap as the world  did with DDT.

That is because the introduction of genetically engineered  products
into
the agricultural environment is a "one-way street, but unlike  DDT the
pollution from genetic engineering once introduced, will be
self-perpetuating in the soil, the plants, the animals and the rest of
the
environment." This is the view of NZ and internationally recognised soil
scientists from Massey University, Dr Max Turner, a soil chemist,  and
Dr
Neil Macgregor, a soil microbiologist.

Both men consider' themselves objective scientists without  anti-science
leanings, though they say that in questioning the value of GE crops  and
foods they will probably be labelled 'luddites' by those promoting
genetic
engineering, and its products, mainly for the 'profit of the promoters
and
at a  cost to the gullible'.

For dairyfarmers facing the prospect of genetic engineering of  cows to
produce pharmaceuticals, and modification of crops like maize to resist
insect attack, there is a lack of information on potential risks
involved,
the  pair said in a recent joint interview.

Though there has been some debate on GMOs (genetically modified
organisms)
and GMF (genetically modified food) issues in the press (mainly
concerned
with human health and food safety issues), they said there was very
little
research being done into the risk factors agriculture could face were
genetic engineering to be wholeheartedly embraced by NZ farmers.

"We believe," Dr Macgregor said, "the time has  come for the technology
to
be assessed on how safe it is for the environment and  for sustainable
farming. The current research is not designed to evaluate risk,  only to
find out how to make it work."

Dr Macgregor and Dr Turner feel that some NZ scientists could be
dragged
into GE research and technology by non-scientists, amid the push for
profit-driven research funding. A giant company involved in genetic
engineering,  like Monsanto, sees itself as a biotechnology company, but
they say GE  issues embrace much wider parameters.

"The gains the corporates and their promoters are promising  us from GE
will not solve any problems," Dr Macgregor said, "either from the view
of
lowering costs or increasing production."

Citing USDA funded research through University of Wisconsin  involving
5000
non-GE and 3000 GE soybean crops in 8 US states, he said it  had been
found
the GE modified crops yielded on average 6% to 8% less than
non-modified
crops, and seed plus weed costs rose from around $20 to between $40  and
$00'acre. Less yield and higher costs of production for the GE crops was
not  good news. In the United States, already more than 10 million acres
has been  planted with GE crops, while research is just starting to
assess
the  environmental risks of the technology.


Broaden debate

For New Zealand, Dr Turner said, the only answer to the GE  conundrum
was
to broaden the debate and extend the research further from just  food
safety aspects into the wider implications for land use and  soils.

"Nobody has looked at the soil implications," Dr  Turner said. "Most of
the
current interest is in health and food safety  issues, but no one has
taken
into account that GE modified crops are likely to  leave a genetic
imprint
on land on which they are grown.

"For NZ this could mean that land on which these crops grow  or on which
GE
modified animals roam could lose value. The use of GE products  could
limit
the versatility of the land in a similar way to what DDT use on
Canterbury
cropping and sheep farms has done; These farms have effectively been
devalued because they can no longer be used for dairying.

"No one has even thought of the implications of crop  residues, from GE
crops, remaining in soils after the crops have been grown and
harvested:'
he said.

Dr Macgregor and Dr Turner said they were speaking out on the GE  issue
because they felt that some in the dairy industry hierarchy were pushing
GE solutions for problems which did not exist. They believed, as
Independent  members of the academic community, it. was their duty to
speak
out on  controversial issues like GB when other scientists were not so
free
to discuss  these issues in public.

They said another problem with the GE debate to date was that  anti-GE
arguments were labelled as 'emotive' when in their view the advocates of
GE technology were guilty of using emotive tags, such as solving the
world's  food supply problem, to promote their stance.

"Being part of the global agricultural community" Dr  Turner said, "we
know
there are potential major risks associated with GE  which are not being
properly recognised in NZ at the moment.

"The demand for NZ's produce is based on the perception of  'clean,
green'
quality technology, and future profitability is likely to be tied  to
servicing wealthy niche markets which may be put at risk forever by use
of
GE  products on our farms.


Two edged sword

"From a farming point of view, farmers are in a bit of a  cleft stick.
They
are going to be told - they are being told - that GE will  solve a
myriad
of their problems. For that reason GE crops and products will  offer
enormous appeal to them, but they must be made aware it is a
double-edged
sword.

"For them it Is not so much the products that are the  problems, but
what
they could be doing to their land and to this nation's  potential niche
markets.

Dr Turner and Dr Macgregor emphasised they were not just talking  about
the
on-farm risks to Individual farmers, but also for national trade
reasons,
NZ's agricultural future, and possibly even the health of existing and
future citizens. Consumer perception, they said, was already turning
against GE  products among the wealthy nations of the particularly in
Europe.


NZ farmers must realise and acknowledge this because their  future
wealth
generation was
probably not in commodity markets, because of the country's  small size,
but lay within the rapidly growing wealthy niche markets, such as  for
organic foods.

Noting that the British medical journal, the Lancet,  had run articles
critical of the risks associated with GE modified food,  they said they
felt the general trend in wealthy nations outside the United  States
would
be to be 'anti' these foods. They foresaw a time when in many  markets
anti-GE sentiment could become more widespread, if not mainstream, as
consumers are more acquainted with the risks of GE technology. NZ
farmers
should  stay outside the GE trade war which they saw developing between
the
US and the  European community.

"The Europeans," Dr Macgregor said, "do not  accept that GE foods have
been
independently and adequately tested in the US,  nor do they accept GE
foods
on their supermarket shelves."

There was no necessity for them to accept them either, Dr Turner  said.
The
problems in world food production were not so much a general shortage
of
food but where it was produced, how it was distributed, and at what
price.
Dr  Turner and Dr Macgregor predicted "GE is probably not the solution
to
our  agriculture, but could become the problem."

Dr Max Turner, a soil chemist, is a member of the Soil  & Earth Sciences
Group within the institute of Natural Resources at Massey  University, a
position he has held for almost 30 years. He obtained bachelor and
masters
degrees in agricultural science at Massey and a PhD in soil science from
University of Minnesota. He held a postdoctoral position in the USDA
Plant,
Soil  & Nutrition Laboratory at Cornell University, New York, and has
been
a visiting professor at University of Colorado in Fort Collins and
University of  Wisconsin in Madison. He is a member of the American
Agronomy Society, the Soil  Science Society of America, NZ Soil Science
Society, NZ Grasslands Association  and NZ Agronomy Society. Dr Turner
teaches, or has taught, soil chemistry, soil  fertility, fertiliser
matters
to agricultural,
veterinary, degree and diploma students at graduate &  postgraduate
level.

Dr Neil Macgregor, a soil microbiologist, is an academic  member of the
Soil & Earth Sciences group in the Institute of Natural  Resources,
Massey
University. He graduated BSc and MSc from University of Otago,  and PhD
from Cornell University, New York. He has held faculty positions at
University of Arizona in Tucson and University of Wisconsin in Madison,
and
research and technical advisory positions with Institute National
Recherche
Agronomique, Montpellier, France, and International Atomic Energy Agency
at
Vienna, Austria. A member of OPEG (Organic Producers Export Group) of
Tradenz,  Dr Macgregor's primary lecturing and research activities are
in cell biology,  soil biology and biochemistry (e.g., biological nitrogen
fixation), and  microbiology, and co-ordinates the Organic Farming
Systems course.
==============
From: Beth Burrows <beb@igc.org>
Subject: EDMONDS INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES POETRY PRIZE WINNERS
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" ; format="flowed"
X-UIDL: e9b2e2ecd1890ecf98be7240ce6c2740

**************************************************** 

THE EDMONDS INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES POETRY PRIZE WINNERS 

**************************************************** 

Background: 

Earlier this year, on the Internet and in Poets and Writers magazine, the
Edmonds Institute announced a poetry contest with a social theme ("poems about
designing people") and a top prize of $500. Hundreds of (English language)
poems were submitted from all across the US and from Europe and Asia. 

Three well-published poets and writers were the judges. Friday, September 3,
1999, the judges announced their decision. 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  * 

The winners of the Clone Poems Contest are 


First Place:  A Mother Considers a Cloned World  by Helen Pruitt Wallace 

Second Place:  Scientific Knives Are Sharp, Not Mythical by Vivian Shipley 

Third Place (tie):  Future-sex  by Raymond Martell 

                              and 

                     Hearts on a Shelf  by Maria Terrone 


Also to be published in the contest chapbook, entitled "Divided Again": 

HGP by Stfn Comack 
Double Helix by Stfn Comack 
Lodged in a Nursery Glass by Stephanie Strickland 
A Case Study of Whiptails, A Case Study of Human Beings by Paul Brooke 
The Culling Cycle by Paul Brooke 
Xeroxing Anne by Doris Lynch 
Heart Song by Doris Lynch 
Songs of Greed and Songs of Plenty by C. Vowel 
You Had the Choice, Martha by Vivian Shipley 
You Deserve a Break Today by Vivian Shipley 
Clone Poem by Daniel M. Lev 
Atomic Haiku by Max Valentonis 
Genocide by Ian Stevens Trecobben 
As Age Eats by Patrick Whitehurst 
Evening News, January 6, 1998 by Margaret Young 
Trigger-Happy by Ulf Kirchdorfer 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * 

For a copy of the contest chapbook, send $3 to: 
The Edmonds Institute 
20319-92nd Avenue West 
Edmonds, Washington 9802 USA 
(Expected date of publication: early December, 1999) 

Note: $3 covers the cost of printing and mailing within the US. Anything sent
beyond that cost will be considered a donation.The Institute is a 501(c)(3)
organization under the rules of the US Internal Revenue Service and donations
are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. 

===================
8)  Published Saturday, September 4, 1999 - Genetic engineering foes claim
credit for crop destruction - Liz Fedor / Star Tribune

                            Employees of a Golden Valley seed company learned
Friday that an anonymous group called the Bolt Weevils is taking credit
                            for destroying corn plots because of the group's
opposition to genetic engineering.

                            Novartis Seeds Inc. notified the Goodhue County
Sheriff's Department Wednesday morning that corn plants along Hwy. 19
                            had been damaged near Stanton, Minn.

                            "It appeared to be a prank or vandalism, like
somebody had just gone in there and tried to make a mess. Corn plants were
                            broken off, a substantial number of them,"
according to Tony Minnichsoffer, Novartis communications manager.

                            Friday, Minnichsoffer got calls from the news
media
after reporters received news releases from the Bolt Weevils that were
                            distributed by the Bioengineering Action
Network of
Eugene, Ore.

                            The Bolt Weevils claimed to have "trampled and
crushed" several thousand stalks of corn in research plots in Goodhue County.
                            The news release also said, "Simultaneously, in a
northern Twin Cities suburb, another strain of Weevils glued and jammed the
                            locks of Novartis/NK Seeds corporate offices at
7500 Olson Memorial Hwy. to prevent another day of profiting off the dirty
                            business of genetic engineering."

                            Minnichsoffer confirmed that some type of adhesive
or glue was applied to the locks. However, he said, "I was here before 7
                            that morning and I just walked in." Building
maintenance workers fixed the locks, he said.

                            Novartis sells corn seed that is genetically
altered, so the crops can resist damage from the corn borer, which is the
larva
of a
                            moth that feeds on corn.

                            Bioengineering Action Network said the Novartis
incident in Minnesota is the sixth "direct action against genetic engineering
and
                            the biotechnology industry" since November in the
United States.

                            Minnichsoffer characterized genetic engineering of
crops as good science. "This kind of silliness is not going to stop it," he
said.
                            "For somebody to claim this type of thing is a
political activity is like saying the James gang and Bonnie and Clyde were
political
                            activists robbing banks."

==================
9)  09/03/99 UK: ECO-ACTIVISTS TO THE POOR - `LET THEM EAT CAKE'. By T.
Michael
Wilson.
> The U.K. biotech industry has threatened to switch genetically
> modified crop
> trials to other parts of Europe if the government cannot protect trial
> sites
> from destruction by activists. That's because British eco-activists
> are
> doing all they can to deny new biotechnology to the rest of the world,
> where
> the need and benefits are great.
> These activists are treading on very thin ethical ice. Not only do
> they use
> emotion, fear and intimidation to deny European farmers the freedom to
> adopt
> competitive agricultural practices, they are exporting their paranoia
> to
> those developing countries most in need of the benefits of genetically
> modified (GM) crops. This is a "let them eat cake" attitude of the
> highest
> order.
> "You must not disenfranchise us from GM technology," cried a senior
> Malaysian agriculture official at a recent meeting on Science,
> Technology
> and Social Responsibility at the Royal Society in London. In a report
> of the
> same meeting, Prof. Dick Flavell, former director of the John Innes
> Institute in the U.K., wrote that the greatest disservice Europe could
> do to
> the developing world would be to export unsubstantiated fears and
> obstructive attitudes to GM methods and new crop varieties.
> Perhaps the irony has not yet set in. Lord Peter Melchett, executive
> director of Greenpeace U.K. since 1989, and his followers, have taken
> it
> upon themselves to destroy carefully planned, regulated and monitored
> biotechnology research plots in England, stating: "It is up to
> organizations
> like Greenpeace to act on the public's behalf." Such actions, however
> indirectly, influence the policies and agricultural practices in parts
> of
> the world where subsistence farming dominates. The small-holder farmer
> in
> India, who sees his crop destroyed by disease or insects, may not
> appreciate
> such beneficence from the food-secure aristocracy.
> The Greenpeace case against biotechnology simply does not hold up to
> scrutiny. Today, it is true that the biggest beneficiary of
> biotechnology is
> high-production agriculture. Insect-protected crops and
> herbicide-tolerant
> crops help farmers get better yields while lowering their input costs.
> Growers in the United States, Canada, Australia and South America, who
> have
> access to the technology, are adopting it at a rapid pace because it
> makes
> them better farmers and reverses their heavy chemical dependency which
> has
> grown over the past 50 years.
> The direct benefit goes to the farmers, but environmental benefits
> also
> accrue through less use of chemical insecticides and herbicides. It is
> far
> more effective to treat weeds when they are in leaf than before a crop
> is
> planted. Therefore, crops that tolerate a weedkiller while they are
> growing
> need fewer chemical treatments (one or two rather than four to six),
> most
> often resulting in less herbicide used. Crops with built-in insect
> protection also reduce reliance on chemical sprays, which do not
> distinguish
> between harmful pests and beneficial insects and which drift on the
> wind.
> Other benefits of these technologies include better soil management to
> control erosion, less use of fuel and less land put into production at
> the
> expense of wildlife.
> Built-in protection against devastating crop viruses may be the most
> important single achievement to benefit small-scale farmers around the
> world. In Africa, farmers living on very small plots of land grow
> enough
> sweet potatoes, a main dietary staple, to feed their families and
> maybe sell
> a few pounds. But when viruses attack their crops, they literally are
> at
> risk of starvation. Many times, they have no access to the chemicals
> that
> could protect against virus-carrying pests. But potatoes with a
> built-in
> virus protection gene (often not available in any natural collection
> of
> breeding stock varieties) allow these people to plant seed and harvest
> as usual.
> The Hawaiian papaya industry was destroyed 30 years ago by a virtually
> uncontrollable virus. It has now been rescued by inserting a single
> gene for
> virus-resistance into a commercial variety of papaya. The only thing
> that
> can stop the resurgence of this key industry and the preservation of
> papaya
> fruit is the unsubstantiated anti-technology propaganda that has
> spread to
> the islands from the European media.
> Other benefits lie ahead:
> - Cornell University researchers have added genes from two wild rice
> relatives to the best Chinese rice hybrids and are getting 20% to 40%
> higher
> yields. Imagine the importance of such a yield increase to the Chinese
> population. Imagine its importance 20 or 30 years from now when
> another
> billion or so people are added to the world's population, largely in
> developing countries.
> - The International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines is
> redesigning the rice plant to achieve 30% higher yields by diverting
> growth
> and food stores to the grain. The result is shorter stalks and larger
> grains
> (thus less rice straw waste, which is burned in many regions).
> - Aluminum is the most abundant metal on Earth and is highly toxic to
> plant
> roots, especially under acidic soil conditions. Over one-third of the
> world's arable land is acidic and is therefore susceptible to aluminum
> toxicity. In these regions, production losses of up to 80% occur in
> maize,
> soyabean, cotton and field bean. In Mexico, researchers have added a
> single
> gene which results in slightly higher levels of secretion of citric
> acid
> from the roots which, in turn, allows plants to grow on this toxic
> soil by
> precipitating the aluminum as a salt. Acidic soils are most often
> found in
> tropical regions, where the solution to the consequent low yields has
> been
> to cut down yet more tropical forest for temporary agriculture.
> - Cassava, a fleshy root crop, is an important food for more than 400
> million people, mostly in the developing world. However, it also
> contains
> highly toxic cyanogenic glycosides, which are associated with diseases
> such
> as goiter and konzo (paralysis of the legs) when not properly
> processed.
> When firewood is in short supply, cooking is inadequate. A Danish
> research
> team is working to create GM cassava strains that can be eaten, even
> where
> processing systems are rudimentary, without fear of such diseases.
> These are only some of the hundreds of potential benefits of
> biotechnology
> that already exist, or will exist very soon if research and
> development are
> allowed to go forward. Science-based companies, universities and
> research
> institutions have been working for almost two decades to develop
> products
> with value and utility. What they learn through research today will
> bring us
> closer to benefits for a broader range of people tomorrow.
> The regulatory controls and precautionary risk assessments applied to
> GM
> plants since 1983 are without precedent. There have been over 25,000
> closely
> monitored experimental field trials involving billions of individual
> plants.
> During all this time, no predicted or unpredicted hazard has emerged.
> In the future, if the self-appointed crusaders against scientific
> experiments, discovery, understanding and facts will allow it, many
> more
> benefits will come. The possibility exists to create food high in
> vitamin E,
> which is effective in delaying the aging process. Vaccines, more
> nutritious
> foods, stronger fiber, faster-growing trees that preserve forest,
> plants
> that grow in arid soils or withstand frost - all are realistic
> possibilities. Every research plot that is ripped up and destroyed in
> Europe
> delays the arrival of these and other benefits.
> -
> Prof. Wilson is chief executive of Horticulture Research International
> in
> Wellesbourne, Warwickshire.
> (Copyright (c) 1999, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.). 
> ASIAN WALL STREET JOURNAL 03/09/1999 
=================

9) U.S. grain merchants paying up for non-GMO crops - Tuesday September 7, -
By Doris Frankel -CHICAGO, Sept 7 (Reuters)

Grain merchants in the U.S. Midwestern
Corn Belt said on Tuesday they have started paying a premium for
export-bound soybeans and corn that have not been genetically altered,
despite the higher storage and handling costs involved.

``We are in the process of working on it right now,'' said one grain
merchandiser in the northern Midwest. ``Bids for
non-GMO (genetically modified organism) cash soybeans are generally
structured at about a 10-cent premium. It
would be new-crop beans,'' from this year's harvest.

``We are trying to keep up with end-user demands,'' said the merchant, who
like others declined to be identified.

The value of GMO food crops is a sensitive issue as harvest approaches in
the Midwest. Plantings of the crops have
expanded rapidly in the past three years. About 35 percent of this year's
U.S. corn crop and 55 percent of U.S.
soybeans are genetically modified, industry sources estimate.

But a rising storm of protests from European consumers about potential
health and environmental effects of GMO
foods and crops has prompted caution by many grain exporters.

Although more than 30 GMO crops have been approved for use in the United
States, the U.S. grain industry was
shaken last week when Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE:ADM - news), a top
exporter and processor, formally
warned its grain suppliers to keep GMO crops separate from conventional ones.

``I have heard anywhere from 8 to 15 cents (a bushel) premium on corn and
20 to 30 cents for non-GMO soybeans,'' a
grain merchandiser in the western Corn Belt said.

``We are not sure what we are going to pay yet,'' he said. ``We hear the
end-user is paying 12 to 15 cents or more on
corn and 30 cents on soybeans,'' he said.

The merchandiser noted that foodmakers overseas now appeared to want to
label their finished products as non-GMO.

``Consumers in Europe and in some parts of Asia, particularly Japan, are
willing to pay more for those type of crops,''
the merchandiser said.

In the eastern Corn Belt, one Indiana merchandiser said he was posting a
10-cent premium for non-GMO corn and
soybeans. ``The beans are for harvest period and the corn is for January
through April,'' the merchandiser said.

One type of soybeans known as Synchrony Tolerant Soybeans (STS), produced
by DuPont Co. (NYSE:DD - news),
is already earning from 20 to 30 cents per bushel premium at Consolidated
Grain and Barge Co. over the genetically
engineered soybeans such as the ``Roundup Ready'' variety produced by
Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MTC - news), said
John Haas, a merchandiser at CGB Market Development.

STS soybeans are bred to resist the Synchrony herbicide also produced by
DuPont, while Roundup Ready soybeans
were engineered with a gene to resist Monsanto's popular Roundup herbicide.

Haas said his company has been paying a premium of 20 to 30 cents a bushel
for STS IP (Identity Preserve) soybeans
and that last year CGB paid more than $3 million in farmer premiums for
specialty grains.

``We will be paying premiums for various types of non-GMO beans. But the
premiums are determined by the local
elevators and in accordance with regular supply and demand and location.
There are a lot of variables,'' Haas said.

With the harvest coming up, the biggest problem many elevators face now is
how to certify soybeans and corn that are
not genetically altered.

``How do you test it?'' a merchandiser said. ``The machines are not
available yet. You need to test genetic traits on the
soybean or corn. You can't take some guy's word for it.''