INDEPENDENT NEWS

Mud-Slinging Unworthy Of Scientific Organisations

Published: Thu 20 Sep 2001 10:30 AM
Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today she was disappointed that distinguished scientific organisations would rather be part of a public relations campaign lead by the LifeSciences Network, than participate in an honest debate about genetic engineering.
"Biotechnology chairman Ian Warrington from the Crown Research Institutes Association said in a press release on Sunday that 'discussions of the issues is often obscured by misrepresentations aimed at manipulating public opinion'.
"I wonder if he includes in that category the evidence given to the Royal Commission about the risks of genetic engineering by scientists like Professor Traavik, Professor Regal, Dr Ann Clark, Dr Doreen Stabinsky, Dr Max Turner, Dr Neil MacGregor, Dr Michael Antoniou, Professor Puzstai and his research team, and Dr Judy Carman," she said.
"The Green Party's position that genetically engineered organisms should be kept in the laboratory is based on well-researched scientific facts and supported by eminent scientists," said Ms Fitzsimons.
"The Royal Commission report accepted that there is a fundamental lack of knowledge about the environmental effects of releasing genetically engineered organisms into the environment, and said that we don't even know enough to do a proper risk assessment.
Ms Fitzsimons said she was saddened that it appeared that respected scientific organisations such as the Grassland Association, the Royal Society and the Association of Crown Research Institutes would rather spin the facts about genetic engineering than debate them.
"It might be a strain for some of these scientists to realise that ordinary people have the right to have their say too, but the decision on whether genetically engineered organisms should be released into the environment is one which will affect everyone in this country.
"The kind of patronising and aggressive attitudes taken by these organisations will only make people more wary about where our scientists are heading with this technology."
Ends

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