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Independent science panel for a GM free sustainable world

(Saturday, May 10, 2003 -- CropChoicenews) -- From news release.

In a surprising move, dozens of prominent scientists have joined forces to form an Independent Science Panel (ISP) on GM, to counteract what they see to be a concerted campaign by the government and the scientific establishment in the UK to promote GM under the guise of 'sound' science.

"This amounts to open scientific rebellion, possibly unprecedented in history," says Mae-Wan Ho, Director of the Institute of Science in Society, who initiated the move, and confessed to having been taken aback, and delighted, by the positive response of the scientists contacted.

Many of the scientists have been feeling frustrated at the lack of open public debate on a whole range of scientific and other issues. The 'discussion meetings' organised by the government are invariably stacked with pro-GM scientists hyping the potential benefits of GM, and giving the public bland assurances that "there is no evidence of harm".

It will all change now.

At a special launching conference on May 10 in London, the ISP will release their report, The Case for A GM Free Sustainable World, the strongest, most complete dossier of evidence ever put together to support their call for a ban on GM crops and widespread adoption of organic sustainable agriculture. This is timed to kick off the GM national debate in the UK and to input into the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting in Sacramento, California in June 2003. The report has already attracted considerable international attention.

"We'll give them a case to answer," says Brian John, geomorphologist and environment scientist, who has been working closely with the GM Free Cymru campaign. "Those of us who have looked into the science of GM crops and foods from a community or consumer perspective have been appalled at the apparent abandonment of the precautionary principle and at the control exerted over the scientific agenda by the biotechnology multinationals."

The Report will be sent to the president of the Philippines together with a letter in support of one of the ISP members, Roberto Verzola, Secretary-General of the Philippine Greens, who has initiated a hunger strike to protest his government's approval of Monsanto's Bt maize.

The Panel includes Britain's best-loved botanist, broadcaster, writer and tireless campaigner for mother earth, David Bellamy OBE, who will lead the launch of the ISP.

Other speakers include Stanley Ewen, Consultant Histopathologist, at Grampian University Hospitals Trust; Malcolm Hooper, Emeritus Professor of Chemical Medicine, University of Sunderland; Vyvyan Howard, toxipathologist, University of Liverpool; Arpad Pusztai, formerly senior scientist at Rowett Institute, Scotland, and Gundula Azeez, Policy Manager, Soil Association.

The conference will be chaired by Edward Goldsmith, founding editor of The Ecologist, and the world's foremost environmentalist and critic of globalisation.

For further details contact Sam Burcher: sam@i-sis.org.uk
Tel: 44-(0)20- 7383-3376

or ching@i-sis.org.uk
tel: 44-(0)20-8643-0681,

or m.w.ho@i-sis.org.uk tel: 44 (0)20-7272-5636.