Raelians: ‘lift ban on genetically modified crops’

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An unlikely ally has joined Monsanto Corp. in its campaign to extract…
Associated Press, Aug. 6, 2003
PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – An unlikely ally has joined Monsanto Corp. in its campaign to extract royalties from the illegal but widespread planting of its genetically engineered seeds in Brazil.

The Raelian movement, which believes life on Earth was created by clones of extraterrestrials, recently called on the Brazilian government to lift its ban on genetically modified crops.

Soybean growers in Brazil, the world’s second-largest soybean producer after the United States, are supposed to be barred by Brazilian law from using any type of genetically modified seeds. But they do anyway with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seeds, which are smuggled into Brazil from neighboring countries and reproduced on their own land. The Brazilian government rarely enforces the law, which Monsanto wants lifted so it can officially open a new market for its genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

“The Brazilian Raelian Movement congratulates Monsanto, which has been demonized by anti-GMO fanatics and dogmatics, for its lobbying campaign favoring a new agriculture based on the most recent scientific discoveries,” the group said in a news release last week.

The group set off a scientific firestorm late last year with its widely derided claim that a Raelian-backed biotechnology company had succeeded in cloning a human baby. No scientific evidence has been presented to back the cloning claim.

Last month, in a bilingual show of support for biotechnology, about 300 Raelians spelled “J’aime OGM” and “I love GM” with their naked bodies in a Quebec field.

The St. Louis-based company is taking the endorsement in stride, while offering a little Midwestern advice.

“Given the Raelians’ recognition of the environmental and economic benefits of biotech crops, we hope they quickly seek out some clothing made from biotech cotton grown with fewer pesticides,” said Monsanto spokeswoman Shannon Troughton.

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