Home Page Link AgBioWorld Home Page
About AgBioWorld Donations Ag-Biotech News Declaration Supporting Agricultural Biotechnology Ag-biotech Info Experts on Agricultural Biotechnology Contact Links Subscribe to AgBioView Home Page

AgBioView Archives

A daily collection of news and commentaries on

Subscribe AgBioView Read Archives

Subscribe AgBioView Subscribe

Search AgBioWorld Search Site

Prakash Interviews

AgBioWorld Articles

Other Articles

Biotech and Religion

Media Contacts

Press Releases

Special Topics

Spanish Articles


Bioterror and biosafety

The Hindu
November 01, 2001
C.S. Prakash, Tuskegee, U.S.

Sir, - In the opinion column 'Bioterror and biosafety' (Oct. 19), Ms. Vandana Shiva exploits the recent anthrax cases to advance her anti-science agenda. By painting a gloomy scenario against economic freedom, she calls for an isolationist and backward policy for India.

The use of these biological agents by malicious individuals to inflict harm and fear on an innocent public is evil. But for Ms. Shiva to use this unimaginable evil and horror to rail against imaginary ills of recombinant DNA technology, trade liberalisation and patenting system is intellectual chicanery. Her argument is akin to saying that because terrorists used planes and the mail system to cause destruction, we must ban aircraft and the postal system - that is throwing the baby out with the bath water!

Bioterrorists do not need sophisticated recombinant DNA technology to spread germ or fear. Simple microbiology would suffice.

Civilised societies can protect themselves against terror by continued development and dissemination of scientific knowledge. Effective antibiotics to treat anthrax were developed after many years of research and testing. This required a systematic use of scientific knowledge, a patent protection system to stimulate innovation, and a free-market system that rewards such risk- taking - all of which Ms. Shiva despises. The real bioterror plaguing India has to do with poverty. Millions of people die every year by natural, but preventable, causes through diseases such as cholera, malaria, AIDS and TB. These diseases can only be fought through economic progress and development of modern medical systems.