Moore in debate at BIO 2004 / More on BIO 2004 (12/6/2004)

Interesting that in his argument with BIO 2004 protesters, Patrick Moore uses "genetically engineered insulin" as the one example of the supposed new medicines that are having us all "living longer than ever".

To quote Stephen Leahy, a writer specializing in technology and the environment, "20 years later and how many breakthrough products has biotech produced? Gene therapy may actually have harmed more people than it's helped. Genetically engineered (GE) crops haven't aided hard-pressed farmers, improved the quality of our food or fed the hungry. The few drugs derived from GE such as insulin simply replace existing products while creating new risks." http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/300902b.htm

In fact, there is evidence that in Britain alone thousands of diabetics have suffered a deterioration in their health from GM insulin - see. http://www.btinternet.com/~clairejr/Insulin/insul_1.html

1.Lots of links on Biotech Industry Convention counter events
2.Pro-GM man in impromptu debate with protest crowd
3.Schlepping for the stumpmakers - what else they say about Patrick Moore

1.Lots of links on Biotech Industry Convention counter events

Protests Disrupt Biotech Industry Convention Breaking News as it happened | Photos | Report Previous actions: Really Free Market | Racial Justice Rally (video) | Food Fight

Reclaim the Commons Teach-In Answers Questions about Biotechnology Learn about these issues: Video about Nanotechnology, and exposing myths of biotech | Audio of Jaime Castillo of Via Campesino speaking about fair trade and necessary agricultural reforms in Mexico | Audio of Vandana Shiva speaking about real alternatives to biotechnology | Audio with Clara of Biotech IMC | Audio of Brian Tokar at the press conference | ETC Group | Genetic Engineering Action Network | Directors of "The Corporation" discuss biotech corporations | i Corp Interactive Website

2.Pro-GM man in impromptu debate with protest crowd
New Zealand Herald
By SIMON COLLINS in San Francisco

Nature did not make the world good enough, so we need to genetically modify it to make it better.

That was the awkward position that Canadian Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore was forced to adopt when he single-handedly started a debate with protesters outside the world's biggest biotechnology conference in San Francisco this week.

In an extraordinary two-hour exchange with a well-informed group including British author Luke Anderson and Food First policy analyst Dr Raj Patel, Dr Moore defended genetic modification against many of the key arguments against it.

Despite earlier threats to shut down the Bio 2004 conference, the anti-GM activists heard his arguments and responded respectfully.

The 200 or so protesters unnerved the 20,000 conference delegates with noisy slogans and drew a massive police presence, but never came close to disrupting the event.

Dr Moore, now a consultant with a company called Greenspirit, started the exchange when he saw a man holding a sign saying that scientists spent $500 million developing golden rice, inserting genes from daffodils to increase the rice's vitamin A content to counter malnutrition and blindness in poor countries.

"I know Dr Ingo Potrykus, the inventor of golden rice. He's a friend of mine, and he didn't get anything like $500 million," he said.

The man with the sign had no idea where the figure came from, but Mr Anderson was quickly pushed forward from the crowd and moved the argument on to a wider plane.

Biotech firms had solutions all right, he said, but only to problems which they created. "Of the list of chemicals known by the state of California to produce cancer, Bayer produces most of them," he said.

"Bayer also produces cancer drugs. Then they turn round and say, 'We don't know why you're protesting'."

Dr Patel said manufacturers put trans-fatty acids into food to prolong its shelf-life, and heavily advertised foods that were full of fat and sugar.

Then they wanted to put new genes into crops and animals to reduce the human obesity and diabetes that their owns foods produced.

"The corporations that brought the system to its knees then come in and get the profits," he said.

That was not how it looked to Dr Moore. In fact he said, people were living longer than ever, thanks to new medicines such as genetically engineered insulin and a gradual reduction in pollution.

"Except for lung cancer in women, all the other cancers are going down."

Inserting the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) gene into plants, or making them resistant to Roundup weedkiller, had enabled a huge reduction in pesticide use on United States crops.

It had also cut soil loss through erosion by 90 per cent, because there was no longer any need to till the soil to get rid of the weeds.

GM crops such as golden rice also lifted production per hectare, reducing the pressure to chop down forests for farmland.

And all this was without any signs of ill effects. No one, he said, has had so much as a stomach ache from GE food.

That was an invitation for an uproar, and it came. Susan Sullivan said people could no longer drink the water back home in Duke County because it was so contaminated by chemicals.

Mr Anderson found a chink in Dr Moore's armour: "Name me a single epidemiological study on people who have eaten GE foods."

Dr Moore had no answer. No long-term study has yet compared the health of people eating GM foods against people who avoid them.

Mr Anderson said more lives in poor countries could be saved by improving water supplies than by spending billions of dollars on drugs.

Patrick Moore
Controversial environmentalist

* 1971: Co-founder of Greenpeace.

* 1984: Quits after almost 10 years at the forefront of high-profile Greenpeace campaigns on whaling and sealing.

* 1991: Founds Greenspirit, a consultancy focusing on environmental policy and communications.

What they say about him

Patrick Moore is an eco Judas. - David Suzuki, a leading opponent of genetic engineering in Canada who taught Moore genetics at the University of British Columbia.

He's a turncoat who supports many of the things we oppose. We basically try not to have anything to do with Patrick Moore. - Greenpeace spokesman Craig Culp.

What he says about them

Many of the larger groups, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, WWF etc, have closed ranks around extremist policies that are counter-productive to environmental progress.

The worst aspect is what I describe as the environmental movement has been hijacked by political activists who are using green rhetoric to cloak agendas that have more to do with anti-corporatism and class warfare than with ecology or the environment.

3.Schlepping for the stumpmakers

Here's what else they say about Patrick.

"Judas Iscariot had the decency to hang himself after betraying Jesus. Moore...can't even be persuaded to shut his mouth." - Paul Luke, Business Reporter, The Province Newspaper, BC

"Patrick Moore has gone from being the guard dog of the environment to the lap dog of industry" - Tzeporah Berman, Greenpeace International

"Dr. Patrick Moore may be a good marine biologist and a former founder of Greenpeace but he is presently paid by the timber industry to deliberately mislead the public and politicians about the acceptability of aggressive logging practices."- Dr Leonie Jacobs, University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, 1996

"Personally, each time I read something by this megalomaniacal crackpot I get the urge to hurl. Now he's peddling his propaganda and lies in the United States." - Chris Genovali, Western Canada Wilderness Committee

"I have read Patrick's book, Pacific Spirit. It is not the work of a 'forest ecologist' but a disappointing blend of pseudo-science and dubious assumptions being used to defend clearcutting and the forest industry." - Monte Hummel, MScF, President, World Wildlife Fund Canada

"He habitually ignores the worst aspects of logging in his zeal to promote industry. It's difficult to say anything good about him" - Paul George, Director, Western Canada Wilderness Committee

"He is nothing more than an apologist for the timber industry" - Gavin Edwards, Forest Action Network

"He's one of those guys I knew I couldn't trust from the first second I shook hands with him. I mean that literally." - Dick Dillman, Greenpeace San Francisco

"When asked why he started a fish farm, Patrick replied: 'To make money'" - Jonathan Mayer, Fish Biologist and former employee of Patrick Moore

"He's taken a job schlepping for the stumpmakers" - Bob Hunter, Co-founder of Greenpeace and City TV Reporter

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