Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Education

Commercial influence on science

“I think there is a very real problem from the point of view of university research in the way that private companies have entered the university, both with direct companies in the universities and with contracts to university researchers. So that in fact the whole climate of what might be open and independent scientific research has disappeared, the old idea that universities were a place of independence has gone. Instead of which one’s got secrecy, one’s got patents, one’s got contracts and one’s got shareholders.” – Prof Steven Rose, professor and chairman of the department of biology, Open University

“The independent scientist who conducts research for the public good ‘barely exists any more,’ according to one leading expert on technology and public policy. ‘They get up and talk as if they are neutral. But they almost always have some share in the company or some self-interested gain for their work,’ said Philip Bereano, a professor from the University of Washington in Seattle.” – National Post, “Courts last defence against scientific ‘elite’: professor”
Commercial influence on science

“WHEN WE spliced the profit gene into academic culture, we created a new organism – the recombinant university. We reprogrammed the incentives that guide science. The rule in academe used to be ‘publish or perish’. Now bioscientists have an alternative – ‘patent and profit’.” – Nobel Laureate, Paul Berg of Stanford University

“The universities are cheering us on, telling us to get closer to industry, encouraging us to consult with big business. The bottom line is to improve the corporate bottom line. It’s the way we move up, get strokes…. We can’t help but be influenced from time to time by our desire to see certain results happen in the lab. All of these companies have a piece of me. I’m getting checks waved at me from Monsanto and American Cyanamid and Dow, and it’s hard to balance the public interest with the private interest. It’s a very difficult juggling act, and sometimes I don’t know how to juggle it at all.” – John Benedict, Texas A&M University entomologist

“There is a great deal of potential research investment in the UK that could come from food technology industries, and any concerns about the safety of these foods could jeopardise this huge investment. So I can understand why scientists would be very anxious about jeopardising that investment.” – Dr Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet

“These competing interests are very important. It has quite a profound influence on the conclusions and we deceive ourselves if we think science is wholly impartial.” – Dr Richard Smith, editor of the British Medical Journal,

“All policymakers must be vigilant to the possibility of research data being manipulated by corporate bodies and of scientific colleagues being seduced by the material charms of industry. Trust is no defence against an aggressively deceptive corporate sector.” – Editorial, The Lancet

“A survey measuring attitudes toward biotechnology among Cornell University agricultural and nutrition-science faculty and extension staff (who advise farmers) found that nearly half have reservations about the health, safety, and environmental impacts of genetically engineered food crops and doubt they are the answer to global hunger. Though their numbers were fewer, the biotech promoters said they felt very comfortable publicly voicing their views, while the concerned majority did not express that sentiment.” – Karen Charman, ‘Spinning Science into Gold’

“Public health professionals need to be aware that the ‘sound science’ movement is not an indigenous effort from within the profession to improve the quality of scientific discourse, but reflects sophisticated public relations campaigns controlled by industry executives and lawyers whose aim is to manipulate the standards of scientific proof to serve the corporate interests of their clients.” – Dr Stanton Glantz and Dr Elisa Ong, American Journal of Public Health

“One in three scientists working for Government quangos or newly privatised laboratories says he has been asked to adjust his conclusions to suit his sponsor…. [Charles Harvey, spokesman, The Institute of Professionals, Managers and Specialists, said,] ‘The piper is calling the tune and it raises worrying issues. We have seen the BSE crisis, food scares and the GMO debacle and the public is losing confidence in Government as an independent, fair-minded arbiter.'” – Daily Telegraph, ‘Scientists asked to fix results for backer’

“This is confirmation of all our worst fears that the Government’s GM policy is being driven by bad or fraudulent science. They are reliant on the industry that wants to sell these seeds to monitor the trials. This is insane, and criminally irresponsible. If data from one company has been falsified how do we know others have not been up to the same.” – Alan Simpson, UK Member of Parliament

“History has shown that meaningful assessment of cost as well as benefit issues is unlikely when technology assessment is provided by proponents who have a clear vested interest in the adoption of the technology.” – Dr E. Ann Clark, associate professor, department of plant agriculture, University of Guelph, Canada

“There is too much hype. Every gene that is discovered will lead to a cure for cancer.” – Dr Maxine Singer, the National Academy of Sciences

“GM is a totally oversold technique” – Prof Bob Watson, chief scientist at the UK Govenment’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and formerly an adviser to the White House, chief scientist at the World Bank, and the director of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

“I think there is a very real problem from the point of view of university research in the way that private companies have entered the university, both with direct companies in the universities and with contracts to university researchers. So that in fact the whole climate of what might be open and independent scientific research has disappeared, the old idea that universities were a place of independence has gone. Instead of which one’s got secrecy, one’s got patents, one’s got contracts and one’s got shareholders.” – Prof Steven Rose, professor and chairman of the department of biology, Open University

“The independent scientist who conducts research for the public good ‘barely exists any more,’ according to one leading expert on technology and public policy. ‘They get up and talk as if they are neutral. But they almost always have some share in the company or some self-interested gain for their work,’ said Philip Bereano, a professor from the University of Washington in Seattle.” – National Post, “Courts last defence against scientific ‘elite’: professor”

“For any scientist who wants a good job and a nice home with mortgage payments, he’s not going to choose the Union of Concerned Scientists.” – Dr Hugh Gusterson, MIT

NOTE: Sources for these quotes can be found at
http://www.bangmfood.org/quotes/24-quotes/16-commercial-influence-on-science

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Concerned

    February 20, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    The concern is that the plant breeding institutes are seriously positioning themselves to take a share in farmers incomes without farmers having a choice.

    They have formed alliances with companies particularly Monsanto who own much of the patents and intellectual property associated with biotechnology (non-GM too). Lets look at what happened:-

    WA’s plant breeders moved from being low cost competitors to forming an alliance called Intergrain. This was approved at government level as it cut R&D;costs and duplication and shared scant resources but most important, it commercialised the breeding program so it fitted with the National Competition Policy aim to make money for government rather than provide a public good service.

    Dale Baker was made Chair of Intergrain (Peter Wells was also a director)and next thing, without consultation Dale signed an alliance deal with Nufarm. Nufarms (Monsanto’s alliance in Australia) share was reported as being less than 50% so we can assume it is 49% which is the standard deal cut with investment partners that avoid the controlling influence. This meant that the Ag Dept ownership of wheat varieties and germplasm was transferred into InterGrain of which Nufarm owns a significant portion.

    Then Intergrain developed a “long term alliance” with CropCare seed technologies for the bulk up, sales and promotions of its varieties.

    Cropcare was purchased by Nufarm for $75 million in 2002.

    Now Intergrain have an alliance deal with Grainpool that allows the first exclusive marketing arrangement where only Grainpool can export a specific variety. While Grainpool is a test case, globally Cargill is Monsanto’s alliance partner for marketing.

    What are the implications?
    – Similar alliance deals are happening globally with the same underlying alliance drivers ie. Monsanto/Cargill.
    – Corporate involvement that can only lead to higher costs to farmers because they want a very good return on their investments.
    – Lack of choice which means that if we do not like the high costs involved, we will have little alternative choice.
    – Now, with the extension of plant breeder rights to include the exclusive marketing of the product, farmers lose choice of who they sell to and at what price.

    Bottom line is that we are expected to stand back and allow the research sector to take whatever cut they like out of our income and pay us whatever price they want for our produce.

    Previously independent upstream and downstream supply chain providers are locked into providing for a single supply chain. Farmers become contract growers for a single supply chain.

  2. Cathran

    February 10, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    CORPORATE AFFILIATIONS AND VESTED INTERESTS of the individuals who contributed to Sense About Science’s publication “Making Sense of GM: What is the genetic modification of plants and why are scientists doing it?”

    *Sense about Science
    Its directors, Ellen Raphael and Tracey Brown (Managing Director), are part of the extreme “LM” political network which eulogises GM, human cloning and nuclear power, and is involved in denial of climate change resulting from human activity.

    Funding derives from “corporations and learned societies”. Funders have included:
    * Amersham Biosciences plc
    * Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
    * AstraZeneca plc
    * BBSRC (the major public funder of biotech research in the UK)
    * BP plc (now engaged in biotech research on biofuels)
    * GlaxoSmithKline
    * ISAAA (biotech industry-funded body)
    * John Innes Centre (partly biotech industry-funded)
    * The John Innes Trust
    * Martin Livermore (a PR man who previously worked for biotech company DuPont and whose activities attracted controversy. His PR firm, Ascham Associates, has done PR work for a number of biotech firms and organizations.
    * Oxford GlycoSciences plc
    * Pfizer plc

  3. Cathran

    February 10, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Sense About Science conceals vested interests of pro-GM scientists
    GMWatch Press Release, 9 February 2009

    The lobby group Sense About Science’s new publication “Making Sense of GM: What is the genetic modification of plants and why are scientists doing it?”, launched 9 February 2009, reads like a who’s who of undeclared vested interests and affiliations with GM firms.

    The publication fails to declare the vested interests in GM of the people and groups involved in the “working group” that produced it. Instead, individuals are misleadingly described in terms of their academic positions in universities or seemingly publicly-funded research bodies.

    Campaign group GMWatch has stepped into the knowledge gap by providing the media and the public with a list of the corporate affiliations and vested interests in GM of the individuals involved in “Making Sense of GM”.
    http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk:80/index.php/site/project/16/

    To take just two examples, Prof Chris Lamb is presented simply as the director of the John Innes Centre (JIC) without any indication of the huge vested interests the JIC has in the uptake of GM food and crops, including multi-million pound funding deals with the major biotech corporations. In fact, Lamb is himself the co-founder of a private biotech company which in turn funds the JIC (see profile below).

    Prof Vivian Moses is presented simply as emeritus professor of microbiology at Queen Mary & Westfield College without any mention of his also heading the biotech industry-funded lobby group CropGen which exists “to provide a voice for crop biotechnology”[1].

    Said GMWatch director Jonathan Matthews: “We are giving the public the information that Sense About Science failed to provide. We hope it will allow people to make an informed judgment on issues relating to bias that may affect the claims for GM made in the publication.

    “These undisclosed affiliations may explain why Sense About Science’s misleading claims for the supposed benefits of GM crops and foods are neither science nor unbiased information, but more akin to advertising.

    “The small amount of actual scientific research cited in the Sense About Science document is highly selective. There are now a number of animal feeding studies that show ill health effects from GM foods, along with studies showing environmental harm and agronomic problems with GM crops. The Sense About Science document doesn’t even mention them. It’s actually a piece of ‘nonsense about science’.”

    For the truth about GM crops and foods (in publications written by independent scientists and other experts who volunteered their time for no pay), go to http://www.bangmfood.org/publications.

  4. Concerned

    February 5, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    At the cost of how many lives and at the cost of how many health issues? This is disgraceful science and does not follow the rules of “Science”. They are not groundbreaking they are moneymaking which is a disgrace to the scientific industry.

  5. eagle eye

    February 5, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    You won’t have to wait long, Don, and you may just see your beacon of hope turn into the mirage it always was. That is if the event is not obsured by the media spin from the corperate hacks. Good luck with the optimism.

  6. don davey

    February 5, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Although I am sympathetic to many of the comments made here , I must say that in my long life I have seen many wonderful discoveries by the scientific community which of course have been tempered with some controversy as with thalidomide etc, but in the grand scheme of things the world would be a far worse place but for the ground breaking work carried out by these pioneers .

    d.d.

  7. Concerned

    February 5, 2009 at 10:06 am

    I agree Madeleine. This is disgraceful science and does not follow the laws of science. Are there ANY politicians out there that are not close minded enough to see this?

  8. Madeleine

    February 4, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    This is a very important article.

    As a member of MADGE (Mothers are Demystifying Genetic Engineering) I spend a lot a time reading through the GM science.

    I was immediately attracted to the quote from the Texas A & M University. This was the University selected by Monsanto to process GM and non-GM canola seed used in “independent” animal feeding trials.

    The seed was grown in Canada, shipped to Texas A&M;where it was processed according to Monsanto instructions, and then sent back to Canada for feeding trials.

    Monsanto has had processing protocols altered so they could direct how seed was to be processed. Animals performed significantly worse on the feed supplied by Monsanto, compared with commercial feeds.

    We constantly deal with biased science, and its spread through the country is obscene.

    Before Christmas the Office of the WA Minister for Agriculture referred us to a website of well-known GM advocate Dr David Tribe of the University of Melbourne, for INDEPENDENT information! The Office hadn’t even been through the material they recommended we read. It’s a big bluff.

    Madeleine Love,
    MADGE http://www.madge.org.au

  9. Concerned

    February 4, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Yes, I agree. There is corruption within the scientific industry so that they may get their billions of dollars for their research and themselves makes the Genetically Modified industry for example a farce.

    We have a right to know who is funding and how much is funding the scientific industry so the truth will be known and we will find out “lo-and-behold” that the scientific industry do not have ethical practices. They do not have true “scientific” studies but just a bunch of quotes that the GM industry wants them to say.

  10. Paul de Burgh-Day

    February 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    This is outstanding information!
    All the quotations here confirm what I have been saying, including on this forum – for many years.
    Corporate corruption of scientific ethics has become ever more powerful and fascistic – at the same time that the world has been driven ever deeper into corporatism = fascism.
    Brave (or fortunate) are the scientists who defend their honour, their independence and their integrity.
    The most dangerous are those who have sold their souls – devoid of morality or conscience. In my book, they are evil – you find these people in just about every field of endeavour. The trick is to recognise them! On the surface charming and plausible . . . . concealing a twisted mind.
    The media today is an endless tsunami of corporate spin. Not least from the biotech industry.
    When you see any of the countless pro GM reports, always ask yourself – who pays the author? Who pays the scientist being quoted?
    Paul

  11. Cathran

    February 1, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    “The independent scientist who conducts research for the public good ‘barely exists any more,’ according to one leading expert on technology and public policy. ‘They get up and talk as if they are neutral. But they almost always have some share in the company or some self-interested gain for their work,’

    This statement jumped out at me! We as the “misinformed public” are supposed to believe that the science always brings out the unbiased truth.

    I will be sending the link to this article to Peter Wels of the Examiner who wrote an article in Saturday’s paper entitled “Unbiased information wanted surrounding pulp mill debate”. I am sure after reading this that he will realise he has no chance at all.

    The MLCs who voted on the PMAA relied on so called unbiased information. Peter Garrett relies on independent scientific information above everything else. Doesn’t give us much confidence does it???

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