NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs) TAKE TO THE STREETS TO VOICE OPPOSITION TO GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS, ANIMAL AND HUMAN CLONING AND PATENTS ON LIFE
UNPRECEDENTED "GLOBAL DAYS OF ACTION AGAINST BIOTECH" MARK THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA OF ACTIVISM
NGO's in 24 other nations will also be taking to the streets to protest animal and human cloning, genetically engineered foods and patents on life. Protests, press conferences, and educational activities are scheduled for the United Kingdom, Canada, India, Malaysia, The Philippines, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Australia, Japan, Norway, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, New Zealand, Ethiopia, Brazil, Denmark, and Georgia.
The global protests are a response to the recent introduction of genetically engineered foods onto the world market, last month's revelation of the first cloning of a mammal and the quickened pace of patents on transgenic plants, animals and human genes.
The first genetically engineered food crops--Monsanto's controversial herbicide-resistant soybeans and Ciba Geigy's gene spliced corn were introduced to Europe and other world markets in November of last year and ignited a storm of controversy among angry consumers demanding labeling. According to a recent poll 93% of Americans want all genetically engineered foods clearly labeled and many consumers say they will not buy foods that are genetically engineered.
The cloning of a sheep in Scotland last month has raised further concerns among citizens in countries around the world and led to calls for legislation to ban all animal and human cloning. A Feb. 26 Time/CNN poll found 93% of Americans opposed to human cloning and 66% opposed to animal cloning.
The increased pace of patents on transgenic animals and human genes has raised similar concerns. In 1995 more than 200 American religious leaders--Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu--publicly announced their opposition to the patenting of transgenic animals and human genes and vowed to mobilize support within the nation\'d5s religious denominations and congregations.
Commenting on the unprecedented international campaign, biotech critic Jeremy Rifkin said "Civilization stands at the cusp of a frightening new era of cloning, genetic engineering, and eugenics. The time has arrived for concerned citizens the world over to stand up and make their voices heard--to launch a new global movement dedicated to defending and preserving the Earth's rich genetic heritage. The first global protests against biotech mark a new era of international activism" Rifkin concluded. ###