ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

26 March 2002

JUNK SCIENCE AND INQUIRY INTO "THE FUTURE OF THE UK BIOTECHNOLOGY  INDUSTRY"

from Prakash's AgBioView list:
* Junk Science Permeating the Media
* Inquiry into the UK Biotechnology Industry

for more on Prof Wilspin: http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/pants5.htm

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Junk Science Permeating the Media

- From:  Prof. T Michael A Wilson, UK
......
Bates & Hunt Petroleum Ltd. - Spring 2002 Brochure

Farming Today article - "Original Organics" ; An interview with David Wilson, Farm Manager, Duchy Home Farm, Highgrove Estate, Gloucester

".....If any cows need veterinary care, Paul, the herdsman applies herbal or homeopathic treatments, like peppermint lotion to ease mastitis. Being organic means very restricted [but not zero] use of antibiotics for all the animals." [What are the welfare issues here?]

".....Adding nitrogen to wheat, for example, increases the water in the crop and so reduces the strength of the cell walls making them more prone to disease and bugs. Weeds love the extra nitrogen, especially goose grass, which grows like triffids on a diet of herbicides. Obsession with yields led to overuse of ammonium nitrates and it's all gone too far', says David. 'Now they are beginning to learn about organic farming at agricultural colleges."

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Dear AgBioViewers:

For me, this is yet another example of the extent to which pro-organic messages and junk-science overtly or subliminally permeate almost all of today's UK radio/TV media item, as well as most magazines, newspapers etc. (even from a Company that sells CO2-generating fossil fuels!)

Would anyone on AgBioWorld like to comment on the veracity of the "science" underpinning these pieces of PC propaganda?

Of course, I realize that it would create full-time jobs for many scientific professionals to deal with and respond to this endless (and even at times amusing) litany/cacophony of nonsense - albeit to little avail for those who want to "believe" and don't let facts get in the way ......"The Emperor's New Clothes-like" status of organics, and those who promote, exploit and benefit commercially from it without challenge or scrutiny will, I fear, continue for a while longer.

Hopefully, one day, we can look back on all this and find it amusing - like the antics and propaganda of those who railed against electricity, vaccination, traveling faster than 15 mph, etc.

Small wonder the knowledge-based biotechnology economy of the UK (and EU) is struggling, with many key scientists, major biotechnology companies and investors departing to more rational, science-based and realistic regulatory environments.

The Trade and Industry Committee of the UK Parliament is shortly to launch an Inquiry into "The Future of the UK Biotechnology Industry". There is an open call for written or oral submissions of evidence and views. This could be the last chance...... (see attached Press
Notice, below)

-- Prof. T Michael A Wilson FRSE, Chief Executive, Horticulture Research International
Wellesbourne, Warwick, UK; michael.wilson@hri.ac.uk

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PRESS NOTICE: Inquiry into the UK Biotechnology Industry

Trade And Industry Committee
House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London;  Tel: +00 44 20 7219 5779/5777

The Trade and Industry Committee will undertake an inquiry to examine the current and future prospects for the UK biotechnology industry, including genomics and related aspects of the pharmaceutical industry, including:

1) the contribution which biotechnology industries can make to relative GDP growth and the performance of the UK as a knowledge-based economy;
2) the relationship between industry, higher education and research, including the effectiveness of the Government's Science and Technology programmes in creating a positive environment for the industry;
3) the relative competitiveness of the UK as a location for R&D, exploitation of research and for manufacturing;

4) the importance of "clusters", the characteristics of successful clusters and locational factors for the industry;
5) sources of finance and the means of securing soundly-based risk finance in high-technology exploitations;
6) the role of incubators and other means of growing businesses from a research base; and
7) the impact of the legislative and regulatory framework for science on industrial investment and location decisions.

The Committee invites written submissions to this inquiry to be sent to the Clerk at the address above by 5.00 pm on Monday, 15 April. For other information please contact the Committee on +00 44 20 7219
5777/5778.
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"The Emperor's New Clothes-like" status of [GM crops], and those who promote, exploit and benefit commercially from it without challenge or scrutiny will, we fear, continue for a while longer.
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