The Sound Science Myth
Dear Editor It is high time we separated the GE industry from science in the same way the tobacco industry had to be separated from sports. Members of industry and Life Science Network are not spokespeople for science. They are spokespeople for an industry keen on promoting their GE engenders. Their constant media releases on sound science are nothing of the kind. Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics (PSRG) know of many scientists too afraid to speak out against genetic engineering technology because of employment consequences.
If it is not possible to provide protection for these scientists to speak out then the media needs to take this into account and interview independent scientists in New Zealand to balance this fact. It would help unveil the myth of the "good science" the Wrightson Chairman was so confidently boasting about last week. It is not only doctors who should have the right to speak out on their concerns for the public good, scientists must also have this freedom, particularly when working for any university or CRI. Without this autonomy the "robust regulatory control" which Marian Hobbs designates to our Environmental Risks Management Authority (ERMA) is simply nonsense.
ERMA cannot operate effectively without this scientific independence because genetic engineers are effectively excluded from making honest submissions to ERMA on applications and therefore scientific advisors working for ERMA will also be compromised. Is the only information on GE allowed to emanate from NZ research and/or industrial institutions on GE filtered by spin doctors? A protection mechanism for whistleblowers is long overdue in New Zealand, a so-called democracy.
Dr Robert Anderson
Member Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics