Anti-Slavery International Bicentennary
As part of its Bicentenary campaign, Anti-Slavery International is calling for measures that will address the Slave Trade’s legacies and make ending contemporary slavery, which affects at least 12 million people worldwide today, a priority.
They claim that the legacies of the Transatlantic Slave Trade reverberate today in terms of racism and discrimination against the black community, as well as the long term impact it has had in both the development and underdevelopment of communities and countries affected by the trade.
Tremane Barr spoke with Beth Herzfeld of Anti-Slavery International on what the bicentennary means for her organisation.
Human Genetics Alert
Information from Human Genetics Alert UK
After 25 years of genetic engineering of plants and animals, scientists are now ready to take the ultimate step: the genetic engineering of human embryos. In December, the British government said it would allow them to go ahead. It is planning to table draft legislation in March. This will be the first time any government has sanctioned genetic engineering of human embryos, and is against international agreements.
WE ARE NOW AT A CRUCIAL THRESHOLD: IT IS VITAL THAT WE TELL THE GOVERNMENT THAT HUMAN GENETIC ENGINEERING IS UNACCEPTABLE. If we do not stop it now, in ten years we could be living in a world of consumer eugenics’ in which:
ˇ genetically enhanced’ human embryos are traded as commodities
ˇ parents choose their children’s characteristics like any other consumer product
the rich are able to give their children built-in biological advantages over the rest of us.
The record of the GM food corporations should warn us what will happpen if our children are genetically engineered.
DO NOT BE DECEIVED by the government’s promise to ban the creation of actual designer babies’, until the technology is safe. The decision to allow scientists to begin research is the crucial decision. If the government did not intend to ultimately allow the creation of babies, why permit scientists to begin research? Once the technology is thought to be safe, we will be subjected to a barrage of hype and emotional blackmail about its supposed medical benefits.
DO NOT BE DECEIVED by promises that this research will prevent suffering and genetic diseases. In fact, it is absolutely unnecessary. Firstly, many disabled people’s organisations have condemned such moves to eliminate them from society. But if parents wish to avoid having children with genetic conditions, then there are already many options: they can use sperm or egg donors, pre-natal testing and abortion, or genetic testing of embryos; or they can simply remain childless or adopt children. What genetic engineering can do, that other technologies cannot, is to produce enhanced’ babies, and that is where the real market will be.
In the GM food debate it has often been said that the public backlash against GM could have been avoided if there had been democratic discussion at the early stages of developing the technology. But now, the government is yet again deciding to cross a fundamental ethical line simply because a few ambitious scientists are urging it to do so, and without any public discussion.
SO NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL OF US TO ACT. WHAT YOU CAN DO
ˇ Write to the Minister responsible for the legislation: Caroline Flint MP, Department of Health, Richmond House,79 Whitehall London SW1A 2NS; email@example.com
It is always better to use your own words, but if you do not wish to, here is a sample letter that you can use.
ˇ Write to your own MP letting them know your views on GM embryos
For more information on this issue, visit http://www.hgalert.org/www.hgalert.org/topics/hge
Tremane Barr interviewed David King on the above topic.
Massive Diversion of US Grain to Fuel Cars is Raising World Food Prices
Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington America held a press conference in March 2007 where he outlined his concerns over the diversion of the American corn crop from food into ethanol. Key amongst his concerns were the rising food prices resulting from the diversion of corn that was used for food now going into ethanol production and the effect this is already having in driving up food prices, particularly for those in developing countries. He goes on to outline some of the solutions to this problem, such as the need to switch to hybrid electric cars and the development of wind generated electricity to power them.
Further information to be found here: http://prismwebcastnews.com/pwn/?p=460
Tremane Barr attended the press conference.