[diggers350] BioDevastation - Thousands PROTEST BIO 2000 convention in Boston MA USA FWD
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Mon Mar 27 05:27:25 BST 2000
BIODEV protesters' reports are at http://www.biodev.org/index2.htm
URL above has AP story & more - PHOTOS option may carry stunning shots
FWD CNN Financial News - March 26, 2000: 8:06 p.m. ET
PROTEST ERUPTS AT BIO MEET
Genetically modified foods bring demonstrators to biotech conclave
By Staff Writer Martha Slud
BOSTON (CNNfn) - - Chanting "Life is not for sale" and "Label it now,"
several thousand activists who oppose genetically altered crops protested
Sunday outside a convention center where about 7,000 biotech industry
executives, scientists and investors are gathering.
The demonstration in Boston's Back Bay district was peaceful, with no
arrests or injuries reported by police. The protesters, many of whom
dressed as giant ears of corn or as Frankenstein-like creatures, assembled
outside the city's Hynes Convention Center, where the BIO 2000 meeting was
getting under way. The gathering, which runs through Thursday, is organized
by the Washington-based Biotechnology Industry Organization.
Sales of genetically altered food have soared in recent years. But the
backlash from opponents has been fierce, especially in Europe. Critics say
genetically altered crops may pose health hazards and that products
containing modified ingredients should be labeled.
"The whole point of this is to say that we need more information about
what's going in our food," said activist Moe Garahan, 29, of Ottawa, Canada.
"We should have access to this information, not just the people in that
building," she said, gesturing toward the convention center, where
conference participants peered out of second-story windows watching the
Many of the activists had attended a counter-gathering over the past
several days dubbed BioDevastation 2000 at nearby Northeastern University.
Industry officials said the protesters are ignorant about the science
behind biotechnology and that genetically modified crops can help feed poor
people in developing countries where crops are destroyed by disease and
Officials said that after last year's violent demonstrations at the World
Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, they had been expecting protests at
the Boston gathering. Police also said they were braced for the
"These are people who are anti-globalization, anti-trade and
anti-technology," said Michael Phillips, executive director for food and
agriculture at the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the conference
sponsor. "If they have their way, we would all go back to the cave and
forage for food with a spear. That's what we're dealing with here."
He said biologically altered food must undergo stringent testing by the
Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture and the Food
and Drug Administration.
Activists at the protest carried placards reading "Biotech = Mutant Greed"
or "Mother Earth, not Big Brother Monsanto," a reference to Monsanto Co.
(MTC: Research, Estimates), the St. Louis-based drug and agricultural
products maker that produces genetically altered products such as modified
One protester said he hoped the demonstration would send a message to
corporations involved in genetic engineering.
"These are people who make their living selling this food to people," said
Rich Mackin, 28, of Boston, who handed out stickers reading "Don't fear
technology: Fear those who control it." "If people are upset with what
you're doing, you'll either have to stop doing it, find another way to do
it or risk losing your business," he said.
The BIO 2000 meeting will include forums on genetically altered food, as
well as symposia on genomics - the study of the function and structure of
human genes - and the economics of the biotech industry. Participants will
include Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, Genentech (DNA: Research,
Estimates) co-founder Herbert Boyer, Fidelity vice chairman Peter Lynch and
actor Christopher Reeve, who was paralyzed five years ago during an
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