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Protests hit BIO meeting

Protestors and industry wage rhetorical battles over the pros and cons of GM crops

Paula Park(Paulapark52@earthlink.net)

SAN FRANCISCO—Dressed in tomato costumes and sporting hats festooned with grapes, a band of protestors assailed participants in the 2004 Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) meeting here on Tuesday (June 8).

The Reclaim the Commons demonstration convened just after dawn and marched to the city's Moscone Center, where protestors caused meeting attendees some discomfort and delays. "Diseases and starvation will not be solved by corporations," protestors chanted. "The enemy is profit."

Inside the center, the Council for Biotechnology Information, a nonprofit industry organization, escorted farmers from India, Romania, and the Philippines to media interviews to tout the benefits of GM crops. Edwin Paraluman, 46, from the Philippines, said that after he planted pesticide-resistant Bt corn in 2003, his yield grew from 3.5 to 7.2 tons a hectare. "I'm trying to get other farmers to see," he told The Scientist, "we increased our income by 50% in 1 year."

As...

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