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Royal Society Science and Agriculture Study Criticised

October 15, 2008 (Un)Sustainable Farming, Environment, News Comments Off

There are significant concerns about the long term security and sufficiency of global food-crop production due to the potential impact of many factors including climate change, population growth, changing consumption patterns and competing demands for land. The Royal Society is to study the extent to which the biological and related sciences can contribute to enhancing global food-crop production over the next 30 years within the context of changing global and regional demand during this period.
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Farm Bill Amendment calls for NAS to Study Safety and Impacts of Cloned Meat and Animals

December 18, 2007 Health, News Comments Off

Press Release of the Center for Food Safety
FDA APPROVAL OF CLONES STALLED BY PASSAGE OF MIKULSKI-SPECTER AMENDMENT IN FARM BILL

Bill Passes by an Overwhelming Majority of 79 to 14; Coalition of Consumer,
Farmer, and Animal Welfare Groups Praise the Senate’s Action
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Corn Fakes

November 2, 2007 Biotechnology, Health, News Comments Off

The article below is reprinted from the British magazine Private Eye, No. 1194, 28 September-11 October 2007. The ‘heavy-handed’ libel threats referred to below temporarily closed the GM Watch website this summer.

Heavy-handed libel threats on the part of a biotech researcher have done little to silence criticism of a scientific paper claiming that shoppers prefer GM produce.
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Study Questions Application of Animal Experiments to Humans

March 30, 2007 Health, News Comments Off

Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson

Much of science, including healthcare research and important fields of risk assessment, depend, in part or in whole, on the presumption that animal models can usefully predict human responses to treatments. However, relatively little research has been done to test this assumption. A new study has compared the results of animal experiments and human clinical trials. The study selected six treatments in which the human clinical trials had shown a clear result (either benefit or harm). They compared these to the results of animal tests. In three cases the results were in concordance while in the other three they were not.
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Conflicts of Interest: In Agriculture too?

March 15, 2007 Commentaries, Environment, Health, Science Media Comments Off

Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson

Failure to declare a conflict of interest, as Lester Crawford has been reminded (see news item), is a federal offence for United States Government employees, punishable by a prison term. To many scientists however, conflicts of interest are a fact of life. Members of hundreds of government advisory panels hold shares in, consult for, or are employed by, the companies about whose products they are supposed to provide ‘independent’ guidance (Krimsky, 2003). Similarly, many public interest organisations, notably patient groups and charities, are in the similar position of receiving money from corporations affected by their policies, conduct and advice. The prevailing attitude in science is that these conflicts either are unavoidable, because most successful scientists have them, or that they do not matter because scientists are sufficiently objective to discount them. In the words of numerous editorials and official guidelines, these conflicts are ‘apparent’ rather than real. None of these arguments should carry much weight.
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Commentaries

Peasant Sovereignty?

China village

By Evaggelos Vallianatos In May 2014, the Spain-based international agrarian organization, Grain, reported that small farmers not only “feed the world with less than a quarter of all farmland,” but they are also the most productive farmers on Earth. For example, small farmers and peasants in nine European countries outproduce …

Will Food Sovereignty Starve the Poor and Punish the Planet?

Weeding maize in Burkina Faso

by Gilles Billen, Luis Lassaletta and Josette Garnier Globalisation is not only a matter of clothing and mobile phones. Long-distance worldwide shipping of food commodities has also increased tremendously over the last few decades. Lassaletta et al. (2014) estimate that one-third of all proteins (a proxy for the nutritive potential …

How the Great Food War Will Be Won

Dustbowl and soil erosion USA, 1935's

By Jonathan Latham, PhD By conventional wisdom it is excellent news. Researchers from Iowa have shown that organic farming methods can yield almost as highly as pesticide-intensive methods. Other researchers, from Berkeley, California, have reached a similar conclusion. Indeed, both findings met with a very enthusiastic reception. The enthusiasm is appropriate, but …

Seeds of Truth: Vandana Shiva and the New Yorker

Dr. Vandana Shiva

by Dr Vandana Shiva (A response to the article ‘Seeds of Doubt’ by Michael Specter in The New Yorker) I am glad that the future of food is being discussed, and thought about, on farms, in homes, on TV, online and in magazines, especially of The New Yorker’s caliber. The …

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Reviews

Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA

Poison Spring Evaggelos Valllianatos

Book Author: Evaggelos Vallianatos with McKay Jenkins Reviewed by: Carol Van Strum “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts,” Richard Feynman famously declared in 1966. Ever quick to challenge accepted wisdom, he distinguished the laudable ignorance of science, forever seeking unattainable certainties, from the dangerous ignorance of experts …

The Real Cost of Fracking: How America’s Shale Gas Boom Is Threatening Our Families, Pets, and Food

The Real Cost of Fracking book cover

Book Authors: Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald Reviewed by Allison Wilson (The Bioscience Resource Project) The first researchers to systematically document ill health in livestock, pets, and people living near fracking drill sites were Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald. Bamberger, a veterinarian, and Oswald, a professor of molecular medicine at …

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