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THE SPOKESMAN

 

The function of state (national) governments draws ever closer to that of corporate agent. U.S. agriculture and trade policy has long been dedicated to corporate success, as illustrated by the Export Enhancement Program, Food for Peace (PL480) and the various market development programs run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (see Invisible Giant for details). The latest addition to the stable of corporate interests represented by the USDA is the biotech industry, which, of course, means Monsanto, Novartis, and a few others. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture has been systematically parroting the industry line for months:

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman says that while not all countries agree with the United States' stand on biotechnology and genetically modified crops, the U.S. will continue to promote the products. "If we don't rely on science to increase yields and produce different kinds of crops (to get) a greater bang for the buck, the problems with hunger in 25 years will dwarf the problems of today if we don't go down the road of modern science," Glickman said last November.

Another story from Washington the following day cites Glickman as saying that there was currently "a lot of hostility to science," and that "some circles were trying to exploit public fears "about things in the food supply that people don't know about, can't control and think is going to hurt them." (Reuter: 15/11/96)

Addressing reporters after an International Grains Council meeting in mid-June, Glickman said, "Any plan for segregation [of genetically engineered crops] is unacceptable and impossible to implement and impractical and trade inhibiting and will require us to see what legal remedies we can take."

According to Milling & Baking News, Glickman told the Grains Council (that's ADM, Cargill etc.), "There is no way to feed a hungry world, or an economically growing world, without embracing the future. We have an obligation to our world, and it cannot wait. If we leave these decisions to future generations, it may very well be too late. If we do not act soon to achieve sustainable agricultural growth, we cannot sustain this world." Glickman said he had "the utmost respect for consumers in Europe who have a genuine concern for public health. But I also believe that sound science must trump passion when it comes to answering the most critical question of the 21st century: how do we feed a growing world in a sustainable way?"

Glickman said biotechnology "holds out our greatest hope of dramatically increasing yields .. in harsh weather climates ... using less water ... less pesticides ... crops with more nutritional value ... and without the destruction of fragile lands and forests... We also know that test after rigorous scientific test has proven these products to be safe. We'll continue to insist on an arms-length, objective testing process.

"I can only speak for the United States, but our position is very firm. As long as these products prove safe, we will not tolerate segregation. We will not be pushed into allowing political science to govern these decisions." (Milling & Baking News, 24/6/97)

"It's based on ideology, culture, religion," Glickman told the Senate Agriculture Committee, referring to European opposition to 'genetics technology'. "The attitude is, it's not what God intended." ... "Truth is truth. Science is science. We've got to keep pushing that." (The Japan Times, 20/6/97)

 

 

 

Copyright 1997. Ram's Horn

 


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