Nearly all research into GM (Genetically Modified) foods is funded by Monsanto, or other bio-tech companies, meaning truly independent data is rare. Some scientists claim only GM foods can feed the world’s booming burgeoning, but others say we are only using people as “human guinea pigs”.
Professor Terje Traavik is in a rare and privileged position in the world of GM research. As scientific director of Norway’s GenØk Centre for Biosafety, he presides over the only research institution in the field of gene ecology which is completely independent of funding from bio-tech companies like Monsanto.
“I live in a special country, giving me support for my independence from everybody except some colleagues,” said Professor Traavik, whose own research into GM crops was attacked mercilessly by the bio-tech industry. “I feel sorry for some scientists researching this area because of their lack of independence from the corporate giants. During conferences, over a post-meeting beer, they always say I’m lucky because I can say exactly what I want. Poor sods. I hope their salaries make up for their suffering.”
Professor Traavik has been claiming for years in speeches given all over the world that 95 per cent of scientists working within relevant GM research areas (genetic engineering, molecular biology and genetics, synthetic biology) are directly, or indirectly, working for the bio-tech industry, whereas only 5 per cent are independent.
“Industry representatives and agents dispute most of my conclusions, but never this one,” he said. “This is a far-reaching problem for societies, ecosystems and the Earth. Where do politicians and the public get unbiased scientific advice? These problems are especially grim in third-world countries, where they can’t afford ‘luxury’ research, so the bio-tech industry builds all the labs and pays wages, supplying money and instruments for the ‘right kind of science’ – no strings attached, of course!”
Despite widespread reports of the intimidation of scientists who produce ‘inconvenient’ results, Professor Traavik says intimidation is usually unnecessary.
Read the full story by David Smith on EconomyWatch: Is Monsanto Using Us As “Human Guinea Pigs?”
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