To: Honourable Jim Elder MLA
Subject: FW: Unholy Alliance - Corporate Cristi at the Vatican
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1999 10:55 AM
Dear Mr Elder
We forward for your information a recent issue of RAFI News from the Rural Advancement Foundation International, regarding the latest "developments" in the biotech saga, in which not only your Government seems to be involved, but which now appears to have left cities around the world beseiged, as evidenced in "the Battle for Seattle" and protests against the WTO in other capitals.
Biohazard Action Alliance
Geno-Type November 23, 1999
GMO (God May Object)
Unholy Alliance - Corporate Cristi at the Vatican
RAFI NOTE: The text below has been downloaded from the website of
Inverizon International Inc. at http://www.inverizon.com/nnews1.htm. The
text is unabridged and unedited.
Beginning of Text:
Alliance for Better Foods supports crop biotech
The Alliance for Better Foods http://www.betterfoods.org/ is an
organization that has been formed by the "Grocery Manufacturers of America"
(GMA) to bring together the various sectors of the food industry to
encourage the proper use of new technology, to encourage scientific-based
discussion, and to disseminate factual information regarding the origin and
safety of food ingredients. The organization believes that "biotechnology
is a safe way to produce healthier food in greater quantities, ensure a
cleaner environment and aid in the fight against world hunger".
In a separate announcement the Vatican came out in support of transgenic crops....
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Vatican experts voiced a "prudent yes" to genetic
engineering of plants and animals, but restated Church objections to human
cloning and other biotechnologies that modify the human genetic code.
Members of the Pontifical Academy for Life presented two volumes of
documents Oct. 12 on ethics and genetic technology, the result of more than
two years of discussion and study.
"We are increasingly encouraged that the advantages of genetic engineering
of plants and animals are greater than the risks. The risks should be
carefully followed through openness, analysis and controls, but without a
sense of alarm," said Bishop Elio Sgreccia, vice president of the
"We give it a prudent yes," he said. "We cannot agree with the position
of some groups that say it is against the will of God to meddle with the
genetic make-up of plants and animals."
End of Text
The (Holy Roman?) Empire Strikes Back For the past two years, the
Gene Giants and the Food industry have been reeling from one media disaster
after another and retreating from mounting consumer and producer
opposition. The Alliance for Better Foods is the belated and bothered
counter-attack from the U.S. multinationals. In launching their dialogue
with the public while simultaneously announcing their determined support
for biotechnology and GMOs, the industry is trying to pre-determine the
dialogue rather than listen to its critics. By linking their announcement
of the "Alliance" with the Vatican's ill-starred pontification, the
companies look more manipulative and self-serving than ever. Never the
freshest tomatoes on the shelf, the food industry is setting itself up for
failure. This past Spring in Europe, food industry reps told the Gene
Giants that they wouldnt "take a bullet" for GM seeds. Apparently U.S.
food companies "and the Vatican" feel otherwise. Praise the Lord and pass
The industry had anticipated that the crop acreage sown to GM seeds in the
United States would double from about 65 million acres this year to over
120 million acres in Y2K. Biotech companies were projecting seed sales in
the U.S. to jump from $1 billion to $2 billion. Instead, one report in the
Wall Street Journal predicts a 20% sales decline in a market and at a
time when momentum means everything.*
Privately, industry spin-doctors concede that the Gene Giants Generation
One products (unabashedly tying herbicides to seeds) were tactically
stupid and indefensibly self-serving. Many also fear that Generation Two
(featuring traits that save processors money) will prove an equally hard
sell. The Food industrys pointless defense of Generation One will confirm
consumer opposition to Generation Two. The Empire Strikes Out.
Corporate Cristi? The Vatican's faith in the food industry is hardly
justified given recent events in Europe and elsewhere. After only 4 years
of commercialized GM crops, it is both impossible to prove risk or to prove
safety. Given that Generation One GMOs offer us little more than seeds
that can shower in toxic chemicals, it is hard to understand why society
should take risks so that the food industry can make profits.
The Vatican has not expressed an opinion as to whether transgenic grapes
and transgenic cereals are compatible with the doctrine of
transubstantiation (the transformation of bread and wine into the body and
blood of Christ as taught by the Church). One transgression at a time?
The Alliance for Better Foods is a U.S.-based industry lobby (whose members
have annual sales of more than a trillion dollars) comprised of 26 trade
and commodity associations defending 16 GM (or transgenic) crops dominated
by just enough food multinationals to make a fist.
The Vatican is the postage-stamp-sized temporal state of the Roman Catholic
Church, with humungous financial resources and stock investments in the
food industry; a half-billion members, and a two-thousand-year history that
should make it old enough to know better.
RAFI is a postage-stamp-sized cyber CSO with a half-million dollar budget,
6 staff members, a 22-year history and smart-assed enough to tell the Vatican so.
* Kilman, Scott, "Seeds of Doubt Once Quick Converts Midwest Farmers Lose
Faith in Biotech Crops", Wall Street Journal , Nov. 19, 1999, p. A1 and A8.
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