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ecoglobe [yinyang] news (5 April 1999)
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Genetic Salmon Scandal

"Papers reveal Frankenstein fish cover-up"
That was the header over an article by Frances Martin in the Evening Post (6 April 1999, p.3).

We do not want to lose many words on the disgusting issue: a public relations company adviced their customer to be tight-lipped about any mishaps in their salmon engineering. The same PR company was hired by the gentech industry to promote the "emerging science" of genetic engineering biotechnology. Scientists, government officials and the media almost unisono say that the problem of genetic engineering is one of overcoming "public anxiety" and creasting "public acceptance". And this is how that is done:

"Issues such as deformities, lumps on heads etc should not be mentioned at any point to anyone outside," a report of the PR company to the salmon engineering company says.
"Comments about those would create ghastly Frankenstein images and would be whipped up into a frenzy by Greenpeace."
Instead, the company was given the advice to lie about the real effects of genetically engineering salmon. The report deliberated that the salmon farming company "continue to keep wraps on the project" even though it was "probably discoverable under the Official Information Act".

What ecoglobe finds particularly repulsive is that the report suggested wooing "allies" from the scientific community, including Bas Walker, head of the Environmental Risk Management Authority ERMA.
"If you have allies, once the issue does become public, those allies can support you, and Bas can say he's been there and all looks fine."

ecoglobe does not believe that Bas Walker will be very pleased with this kind of publicity, which we consider to be almost libellous. As things are, ERMA already has problems in the face of public opinion. Proponents of a strict application of precautionary principles claim that the authority did not seriously consider their scientific arguments that warned against trials with genetically engineered crops. ERMA approved such trials last year.
Public opinion, supported by scientific concern, is strongly against GE. Field trials with genetically engineered potatoes were destroyed by activists last month.

Views expressed are not necessarily those of ecoglobe.
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ecoglobe [yinyang] news (5 April 1999)
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