GM Free Cymru

Scientists speak out against GM science fraud

(Note from GM Free Cymru -- most of these quotes are quite old. But nothing has changed. If anything, the situation has got worse during the last decade, as we show consistently on this site.)

Commercial influence on science

"When we spliced the profit gene into academic culture, we created a new organism - the recombinant university. We reprogrammed the incentives that guide science. The rule in academe used to be 'publish or perish'. Now bioscientists have an alternative - 'patent and profit'." Tom Abate, "Scientists' 'publish or perish' credo now 'patent and profit'", San Francisco Chronicle, 13 August 2001

"The universities are cheering us on, telling us to get closer to industry, encouraging us to consult with big business. The bottom line is to improve the corporate bottom line. It’s the way we move up, get strokes.... We can’t help but be influenced from time to time by our desire to see certain results happen in the lab. All of these companies have a piece of me. I'm getting checks waved at me from Monsanto and American Cyanamid and Dow, and it's hard to balance the public interest with the private interest. It’s a very difficult juggling act, and sometimes I don’t know how to juggle it at all." John Benedict, Texas A&M University entomologist, quoted in Susan Benson, Mark Arax and Rachel Burstein, “A Growing Concern”, Mother Jones, January/February 1997

"There is a great deal of potential research investment in the UK that could come from food technology industries, and any concerns about the safety of these foods could jeopardise this huge investment. So I can understand why scientists would be very anxious about jeopardising that investment." Dr Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, Channel 4 News, 15 October 1999

"These competing interests are very important. It has quite a profound influence on the conclusions and we deceive ourselves if we think science is wholly impartial." Dr Richard Smith, editor of the British Medical Journal, quoted in Liz Lightfoot, “Scientists ‘asked to fix results for backer’”, Daily Telegraph, 14 February 2000

"All policymakers must be vigilant to the possibility of research data being manipulated by corporate bodies and of scientific colleagues being seduced by the material charms of industry. Trust is no defence against an aggressively deceptive corporate sector." Editorial, The Lancet, quoted in Sarah Boseley, “$2m plot to discredit smoking study exposed”, The Guardian, April 7 2000

"A survey measuring attitudes toward biotechnology among Cornell University agricultural and nutrition-science faculty and extension staff (who advise farmers) found that nearly half have reservations about the health, safety, and environmental impacts of genetically engineered food crops and doubt they are the answer to global hunger. Though their numbers were fewer, the biotech promoters said they felt very comfortable publicly voicing their views, while the concerned majority did not express that sentiment." Karen Charman, “Spinning Science into Gold”, Sierra Magazine, July/ August 2000

"Public health professionals need to be aware that the 'sound science' movement is not an indigenous effort from within the profession to improve the quality of scientific discourse, but reflects sophisticated public relations campaigns controlled by industry executives and lawyers whose aim is to manipulate the standards of scientific proof to serve the corporate interests of their clients." Dr Stanton Glantz and Dr Elisa Ong, “Constructing ‘Sound Science’ and ‘Good Epidemiology’: Tobacco, Lawyers, and Public Relations Firms”, American Journal of Public Health, November 2001, Vol. 91, No. 11, pp. 1749-1757

"One in three scientists working for Government quangos or newly privatised laboratories says he has been asked to adjust his conclusions to suit his sponsor…. [Charles Harvey, spokesman, The Institute of Professionals, Managers and Specialists, said,] ‘The piper is calling the tune and it raises worrying issues. We have seen the BSE crisis, food scares and the GMO debacle and the public is losing confidence in Government as an independent, fair-minded arbiter.’” Liz Lightfoot, “Scientists ‘asked to fix results for backer’”, Daily Telegraph, 14 February 2000

"This is confirmation of all our worst fears that the Government’s GM policy is being driven by bad or fraudulent science. They are reliant on the industry that wants to sell these seeds to monitor the trials. This is insane, and criminally irresponsible. If data from one company has been falsified how do we know others have not been up to the same." Alan Simpson, UK Member of Parliament, quoted in Antony Barnett, “Revealed: GM firm faked test figures: Poor crop results were replaced by a forgery, Ministry’s internal paper shows”, The Observer, April 16 2000

"History has shown that meaningful assessment of cost as well as benefit issues is unlikely when technology assessment is provided by proponents who have a clear vested interest in the adoption of the technology." Dr E. Ann Clark, associate professor, department of plant agriculture, University of Guelph, Canada, “Genetic Engineering in Field Crops: Ethics and Academia”, paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists, April 1999

"There is too much hype. Every gene that is discovered will lead to a cure for cancer." Dr Maxine Singer, the National Academy of Sciences, quoted in "Big Science: Bloated, Whiny and Self-Important", Scientific American, September 2001

"I think there is a very real problem from the point of view of university research in the way that private companies have entered the university, both with direct companies in the universities and with contracts to university researchers. So that in fact the whole climate of what might be open and independent scientific research has disappeared, the old idea that universities were a place of independence has gone. Instead of which one’s got secrecy, one’s got patents, one’s got contracts and one’s got shareholders." Prof Steven Rose, professor and chairman of the department of biology, Open University, quoted in “Science Fact or Fraud?”, BBC World Service, 15 September 2000

"The independent scientist who conducts research for the public good 'barely exists any more,' according to one leading expert on technology and public policy. 'They get up and talk as if they are neutral. But they almost always have some share in the company or some self-interested gain for their work,' said Philip Bereano, a professor from the University of Washington in Seattle." Les Perreaux and Sandra Rubin, "Courts last defence against scientific 'elite': professor", National Post, 14 August 2001

"For any scientist who wants a good job and a nice home with mortgage payments, he's not going to choose the Union of Concerned Scientists." Dr Hugh Gusterson, MIT, quoted in Kristina Canizares, "Science Good, Nature Bad: The Biotech Dogma", AlterNet, June 26 2001