Monday, 25 May 2009

Ethics in agribusiness?

It probably hasn’t escaped the attention of many that the British Parliament is currently embroiled in an ‘expenses’ scandal. Exposures about individual MP’s expenses claims were leaked to the Telegraph newspaper which is publishing this information by installments and drawing-out the agony for worried MP’s who wonder if they will be the next to be shamed.--( No, I am not digressing from the subject of my blog about the machinations of agribusiness/government, so please bear with me!)
Naturally, the British public are very annoyed about MP's 'misuse' of our money. Some of us are particularly annoyed because ironically enough the Government has the temerity (and hypocricy) to put us, its citizens, under intense (for a so-called free democratic society) and constant surveillance and scrutiny via their video cameras and data bases. Well, the British public are at long last beginning to think ‘what is good for the goose, is good for the gander.’

So,(back to agribusiness) environmental campaigners have decided to introduce their own surveillance, - and this is being used to produce 'witness evidence’. For example, the pesticide campaigner Georgina Downs won a High Court victory in November 2008 against the Government.The judgement concluded that the British Government has been acting unlawfully in its crop spraying policy and failing to protect the health of the public living near agricultural land. G.D's arguments were underpinned by direct witness evidence which included a two-part video together with pesticide-soaked mannequins having a ‘picnic’ during spraying of pesticides in the adjacent field.
This approach by Georgina Downs was resorted to because for years Defra and the Pesticide Safety Directorate refused to acknowledge the inadequacy of the safety regulations when she produced her arguments and evidence to them.

Similarly and possibly inspired by Georgina Downs court case, ISIS (The Institute of Science in Society) has published on its website a post entitled ‘Call for Direct Witness Evidence of GM hazards and Failures’ by Dr Mae-Wan Ho.(14/04/09). ISIS has already exposed deliberately misleading claims about the performance of GM crops, and they say that witness evidence properly documented is taken seriously by the law courts.For this reason ISIS would like people to submit photographic and video evidence to them.
ISIS is categorical that material on its site should not be reproduced in any form without permission, so I strongly recommend you visit

Our government keeps us under constant surveillance, it claims, for our own safety and security,(and because it regards us all as potential criminals) On the other hand it is perfectly happy to allow the health of thousands of people to be damaged by pesticides, and to put at risk through genetic engineering the very security of our food supply. The arguments and ethics of many of our leaders should be kept under scrutiny, (even if some of them have returned our money.)

website of Georgina Downs

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