Judy Carman, senior scientist working in the field of epidemiology in Australia
and awarded a government grant to study the safety of GM feed, has been
subjected to a sustained campaign of vilification by individuals associated
withthe biotech industry, with the clear intention of preventingher
from carrying out the research. Political pressure is nowbeing brought to
bear on her research by the current Agriculture and Food Minister of Western Australia.
Dr. Carman is not an isolated case. A long string of scientists
beginning with Arpad Puszati, Susan Bardocz, Shiv Chopra, Ignacio Chapela,
Irina Ermakova, and more has suffered the same attackswhen their research
or laboratory findings are deemed unfavourable to thebiotech industry;
they have also lost their grants or their jobs as a result.
It is important for scientists to make a stand for real
science,and for the right of scientists to do research without being
harassed and intimidated, or losing their grants or positions. The public will
not be well-served unless this academic freedom to do research independent of
industry or the whims of government is guaranteed.
add your name and affiliation to the letter below by sending an e-mail message
forward for more signatures
from Dr. Shiv Chopra, Canada
same or worse is happening all across the world. For instance, a workshop at
which I and another scientist were invited last week to discuss the pros and
cons of vaccines at the First Nations (Aboriginal) conference in Ottawa was abruptly cancelled, apparently under threat from Health Canada officials. The same is happening with regard to the new consumer protection bills, presently
under consideration of the Canadian and US politicians. In June 2009, I heard
of much the same happening during my visit to Australia and New Zealand and, of course, even worse during my last several visits to India.
from Dr. Mira Shiva, India
you so much for sending this letter. Many of us feel extremely agitated about
the harassment of independent researchers and scientists whose findings are not
in the interest of corporations. We have seen it in the pharmaceutical
industry, and witnessed it with regard to food and agriculture.
I am committed to our right to safety and right to
information as much as I am disgusted at the misuse of power to block the
conduction of pro- public health, public interest research by independents
researchers and scientists
I am also deeply concerned about researchers totally
changing their conclusions under inducement. For those who have stood up for
their research and faced pressures, we offer our deep appreciation and respect,
and assurance of our continued solidarity.
from Dr. Allison Bleaney OBE
integrity of science itself is in doubt if independent objective research
cannot be assured.
is a major issue and of concern to us all; the undermining of the researcher
and their work along withthe deliberate policy of the ‘undone
science’. Thank you for highlighting it publically.
Scientists concerned about academic freedom (see list of signatories
Colin Barnett MEc MLA
Government of Western Australia
24th Floor, Governor Stirling Tower,
197 St Georges Terrace
2005, the Government of Western Australia awarded a research grant worth
$92,000 to researchers
at theInstitute of Health and Environmental Research, nowbased in Adelaide, Southern Australia . In announcing it, the then Agriculture Minister,
Kim Chance, said that "the WA Government will fund an independent
long-term animal feeding trial to gain data on the safety or otherwise of GM
Far from welcoming the study, the biotech industry sought to
block it, initially by writing to the WA government in an effort to get the
government to reverse its funding decision, then by either refusing to supply
GM crops to the research team or placing such onerous conditions upon the
supply of the GM crops that the researchers could not sign up to the conditions
. In addition, the lead scientist has been subjected to a sustained campaign
of vilification and harassment by commercial interests connected with the
The present Minister of Agriculture, Terry Redman, is now
interfering in the research by demanding details about the location of the
study laboratories, its research protocols and its progress to date. It
is hard to see any legitimate reason for this interference. Information about
the procedures was available when the grant was proposed, and it is most
unusual for a government or indeed anyone else to demand to see the results of
work that is not yet completed. The Minister’s hostility to the line of
research is well known from when he was in opposition; he is wrong to use his
current position to obstruct science which was commissioned before he took
It is wrong, though perhaps not surprising, that the
biotechnology industry should be seeking to obstruct research into the safety
of what they produce , and promoting the vilification and harassment of any
scientist conducting such research . It is indefensible for a government to
do the same. We call on the Government of Western Australia to stop this
unprecedented interference with the research it has commissioned and to ensure
that the project will proceed unhindered. We also call on the Government of
Australia to require biotechnology companies to make available to independent
researchers the material they need for their work.
The citizens of Australia, like those of other countries,
will not be well served unless academic freedom is guaranteed for scientists to
work independently of biotechnology companies or the whims of governments .
It is not possible to take proper decisions on GMOs if the only evidence on
which to base those decisions comes from scientists who work for or are chosen
by the biotechnology industry.
The biotech companies are notorious for their attempt to block
research deemed unfavourable to GMOs. The following statement was submitted in
February 2009 to the US Environmental protection Agency (EPA) by scientists who
had been invited to submit comments on a meeting to discuss two new BM crops.
They were protesting the ‘technology/stewardship agreements’ they have to sign,
which inhibit them from doing research for the public good. As a result “no truly
independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions
regarding the technology.” We are not aware that any of the 26 is opposed in
principle to GM crops. http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#documentDetail?R=090000648084de39
5. On academic
freedom, the Australian Academy of Science wrote as follows, in a submission to
a Senate Committee Inquiry into academic freedom.
“1. Science makes the
most significant advances in an atmosphere of free and critical discussion.
Therefore, academic freedom is of crucial importance, particularly in research
at universities, institutes and CSIRO.
2. Governments and their
representatives have a responsibility to set general research priorities on
behalf of their citizens. However, it is inappropriate for governments and
their representatives to interfere with scientific peer review processes or
with details of academic debate. That is the role of the academic sector.
3. In very rare cases,
it may be appropriate for government to implement ‘reserve powers’ to direct
research. This may be the case with some research that has security
implications. However, it is inappropriate for governments and their
representatives to interfere in genuine academic debate and to intervene with
the grant processes of the ARC, NHMRC or CSIRO." (Letter signed by Professor
Philip W. Kuchel, FAA, Secretary, Science Policy)
38. Prof. David Healy MD
FRCPsych, Cardiff University, UK
39. Wil Heidt, Vice
President, Soil Association of South Australia, Australia
40. Dr. Jack A. Heinemann, Director
INBI, Prof. School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, New
41. Dr. Hans R Herren,
President, Millennium Institute, Co-Chair IAASTD, Arlington, VA, USA
42. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, Director,
Institute of Science in Society, London, UK
43. Prof. Vyvyan Howard MB. ChB. PhD. FRCPath, Biomedical
Science Research Institute, Ulster University, Northern Ireland, UK
44. Barbara Huning MA LP,
Psychologist, Nature-Centered Counseling and Education,
Caledonia, Minnesota USA
45. Alan Hunter, Author of
Curing Food Allergies, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
46. Dr. Eva Jablonka, The
Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv
47. Steven Jennings,
electronics engineer, Bruggen, Germany
48. Dr. Brian John, Retired
Lecturer in Geography, University of Durham, UK
49. Andrew Kimbrell, Executive
Director, Center for Food Safety, Washington DC, USA
50. David King MIET, FIENZ, Retired
power engineer, New Zealand
51. Prof. Sheldon Krimsky, Department
of Urban & Environmental Policy & Planning School of Arts &
Sciences, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, School of
Medicine, Tufts University, Medford, MA, USA
52. Leib Krut, Adjunct
Professor, St. Louis University, USA
53. Dr. Marion Lamb, formerly
Senior Lecturer in Biology, Birbeck College, London, UK
54. Nadège Le Mabec, Combat
Monsanto Campaigner, France
55. Prof. Li Kang-min, Emeritus
Professor, Asian Pacific Regional Research & Training Center for Integrated
Fish Farming FFRC, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, China
56. Glenda Lindsay, Community
Food Systems network volunteer, Melbourne, Australia
57. Sky McCain, Wholesome
Food Association Ltd, UK
58. Dennis McCalla, Professor
Emeritus of Biochemistry, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
59. Nadia McLaren, Adelaide,
60. Herminio Martins, Emeritus
Fellow, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, UK
61. Jonathan Matthews,
GMWatch, LobbyWatch, UK
62. Prof. Joan Mencher, Emerita
Professor of Anthropology, Lehman College of CUNY and CUNY Graduate Center, New
63. Dr. Eva Novotny, retired,
formerly Research Associate in Astronomy, Cambridge University, UK
64. Claire O’Connor, Managing
Director, Manna Organic Store, Kerry, Ireland
65. Dr. Jose Ramon Olarieta,
Lecturer in Soil Science, Universitat de Lleida, Spain
66. H Osburn, Redmond, WA,
67. T Osburn, Redmond, WA, Australia
68. Prof. Dr. ER Oskov OBE
of International Feed Resource Unit, Macaulay Land Use Institute, UK
69. Dr. David Packham, Materials
Research Centre, University of Bath, UK
70. John Parfitt, Bristol,
71. Dr Julio E. Perez,
Instituto Oceanografico, Universidad de Oriente, Cumana, Venezuela
72. Dr. Michel Pimbert,
Director, Sustainable Agriculture, Biodiversity and Livelihoods Programme, IIED,
73. Charmaine Porter, Perth,
Western Australia, Australia
74. Dr. Naheeda Portocarero,
Animal nutritionist, Maesyronen Farmhouse, Glasbury-on-Wye, UK
75. Dr Paulo C. M. Ramos,
Environment Analyst, ICMBIO, Brasilia National Park, Brazil
76. Malcolm Rands, Global
CEO, EcoStore, New Zealand
77. Prof. Leda Raptis, Dept
of Microbiology and Immunology, Dept of Pathology, Queen’s University, Kingston,
78. Claire Robinson,
GMWatch, Spinprofiles, UK
79. Aruna Rodrigues, Sunray
80. Hugh Rooney, Lecturer
in Reflexology, Edinburgh Napier University, UK
81. Dr. Barry T Rubin, Davis
Rubin Associates Ltd, Member of Scientists for Global Responsibility, UK
82. Prof. Peter Saunders, Emeritus
Prof. of Applied Mathematics, King’s College, London, UK
83. Prof. David Schubert, Salk
Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla Ca, USA
84. Prof. David Shearman,
Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University of Adelaide, Australia.
85. Prof. Gilles-Eric
Séralini, President of Scientific Council of CRIIGEN, Risk Pole Co-Director –
CNRS-MRSH, University of Caen, France
86. Dr Mira Shiva M.D, Director
Initiative for Health, Equity & Society, Chairperson Consumer
Education safety of Food & Medicine South Asian Focal Point, International
Peoples Health Council, NewDelhi, India
87. Dr. Vandana Shiva, Navdanya,
Recipient of Right Livelihood Award, New Delhi, India
88. Gayle Boehm-Smith Psy.
D., retired Pyschologist, WestCliffe, Co, USA
89. Stephen Solomon,
Grindelwald, Tasmania, Australia
90. Jaan Suurkula M.D., Chairman
of Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Applications of Science and
Technology (PSRAST) http://psrast.org
91. Dr. Maarten Stapper, FALAST,
BioLogic AgFood, Beconnen ACT, Australia
92. Dr. David Suzuki,
Emeritus professor, Sustainable Development Research Institute, University of
British Columbia, Canada
93. Dr. Roger Taylor, retired
Reader in Immunology, University of Bristol, UK
94. Dr. Enric Tello, Professor
of Economic History and Institutions, Head of the Dept. of Economic History and
Institutions at the Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
95. Dr. Terje Traavik, Scientific
Director, GenØk-Centre for Biosafety, Norway
96. Dr David J. Tyler,
MInstP, ACFI., Reader, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
97. Dr. Peter Weish Univ.
of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
98. David Werner, Health
Wrights, Palo Alto, California, USA
99. Chris Wheeler, past
President, Soil & Health Association of New Zealand, Nelson, New Zealand
100. Prof. Malcolm Hooper, Emeritus Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Sunderland, UK
101. Dr Stuart Parkinson, Executive Director, Scientists for Global Responsibility, UK
102. Jeanette Fitzsimons, Member of the New Zealand Parliament
103. Dr Katherine G Begg, Centre for Environmental Change and Sustainability. School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, UK
104. Peter Crowe, North Beach, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Charmaine Porter Comment left 28th November 2009 11:11:34 My concern is that independent testing is necessary to get to the truth. If scientists are intimidated by the vested interests it is the Australian public who will suffer if there are health problems with the ingestion of GM foods. It took a very long time for the truth about tobacco smoking - that it was a health hazard -to be accepted due to the tobacco companies intimidation and scare tactics and massive advertising campaigns to convince the public that it was ok to smoke cigarettes. There are very big vested interests in promoting GM food production and they will stop at nothing to increase their profits.
mike boddington Comment left 16th January 2010 12:12:28 In the 'Background' section at the start of this posting you say 'It is important for scientists to make a stand for real science'and 'The public will not be well-served unless this academic freedom to do research independent of industry or the whims of government is guaranteed.'
It is not simply 'important': it is vital, critical, abslutely necessary.
The public will not simply be 'not well-served' but extremely badly served - as they increasingly are now.
MICHAEL T. CLARJEN-ARCONADA Comment left 20th November 2009 23:11:38 Any manipulation, restriction, deception, harrasment-vilification of independent scientists, and/or unilateral control of research activities by the biotech and pharmaceutical industries (and/or any kind of polluter industries) must be put to an end.
The extensive use of the court system, through legal suits (demanding damages and compensation) must be utilized by socially conscious groups and communities organized optimally for high levels of efficacy (obtaining decisive results where it hurts them most = the pocketbook).
Top-notch legal teams must be assembled at once. Let us appeal to the Law Schools throughout the finest Universities worldwide and the finest Law firms on planet earth, in order to form these surveillance-ready to act teams. They must operate on an ongoing basis. Let us appeal to the real altruists (including those who have great abundance of means) of this world. Where are they, this is the time to take decisive action.
Let us build a new Humanity through the implementation of truly Ecological Communities in order to regenerate Planet Earth and the human being. Let us create those foundational cells.
Dr. Michael T. Clarjen-Arconada
AQUA TERRA MAGNA PROJECT
Cerro del Sol Ecological communities
Jaan Suurküla Comment left 21st November 2009 13:01:26 In 2000 I pointed out that developments in the field of genetic engineering indicate that we are entering a "pseudo-scientific world order" where the interests of the industry and not safety considerations dictate what products mankind and the environment are allowed to be exposed to, see http://www.psrast.org/crisisofsci.htm.
The successful and blatant suppression of the truth about the safety of genetic engineering seems to have inspired the multinationals to globally expand their suppression and distortion of the truth to other fields, including for example mobile phone safety and the safety of influenza vaccination.
Jaan Suurküla, M.D.
Chairman of Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology (PSRAST)
Brenda Toso Comment left 20th November 2009 23:11:01 More and more fundamental freedoms are being lost to impose restrictions and force feed the people for profit and control.
Odette Grille Comment left 20th November 2009 23:11:57 What is the use of research if mercantile interests bias it ?
Jeanette Fitzsimons Comment left 11th January 2010 10:10:56 I am not a scientist, but a member of the New Zealand Parliament for the last 13 years who relies on accurate and balanced science to make policy decisions. I have previously taught at Auckland University and I know how precious academic freedom is and am very concerned to hear of the interference with Dr Carman's work. She works in an area that is highly contentious with strong industry advocates and strong public concerns. It is vital that all the science be publicly available and that results not be influenced by political or business considerations.
Motivación personal Comment left 21st January 2012 23:11:11 this a very important event because knowledge has no frontiers for all mankind know this very well all the scientists who made great contributions to science..