Canberra Times March 2007: CSIRO axes Stapper

Canberra Times, 20-24 March 2007

Biological and organic farming systems expert and GM critic Dr Maarten Stapper, has been dumped by the CSIRO in a time when Australian production can hardly keep up with organic demand in the cities.

20 March 2007 – Front page EXCLUSIVE:  CSIRO axes outspoken expert    
One of Australia’s top organic farming experts, Dr Maarten Stapper, has been dumped by the CSIRO, amid allegations he was bullied by executive management for criticising genetically modified crops … Dr Stapper was the only CSIRO scientist working on organic and biological farming systems and the research program would end when he left. …CSIRO did not consider biological and organic farming to be “a long-term viable strategy”    [more].

22 March 2007 – Letters:  CSIRO muzzles critics, but nation will pay the price
… without intellectual freedom there can be no progress in science… Lesley Dalziel, Seymour Vic
… I was told that CSIRO uses many plant breeding techniques patented by biotechnology developer Monsanto free of charge in exchange for “other deals”… this sacking part of the deal?     Julie Newman, Newdegate WA
… Dr Stapper is walking a path that will restore the soil health which will give better health in the ensuing production chain, ultimately to ourselves… James Johnson, Kingston ACT
… Anyone with any scientific understanding of the process of carbon fixing within the soils knows full well that there is no more efficient way to quickly and significantly reduce carbon emission impacts… it is much quicker than the planting of trees (as important as that is) for starters…  Deri-Anne Wyatt, Daylesford Vic
… These GM crops must indeed be weak if they cannot stand up to even a little bit of criticism…  Fran Murrell, Fitzroy Vic
… I see no scientific debate, just industrial doctrine…   David McCulloch, Chapman ACT

23 March 2007 – Letters:  Greed drives CSIRO
… The CSIRO’s push into GMOs is based purely on US principles of corporate ownership of life-forms….   Will Raymont, Pearce ACT
… research to create sustainable biological and organic farming systems, especially to cope with climate change and the end of oil, is underfunded….  Bob Phelps, Charlton Vic

24 March 2007:  GM critic given notice
The CSIRO’s dumping of one of Australia’s top biological farming systems scientists has sparked strong reactions from national organic farming organizations, politicians and anti-GM lobby groups
… Stapper was a popular public speaker at farming forums across Australia and was guest speaker at a Landcare dinner at Murrumbateman last week. Australian Greens environment spokeswoman Senator Christine Milne shared the podium with Stapper at a weekend sustainable farming forum in Braidwood. “He was very knowledgeable and his ideas were well received by farmers. Judging from the level of interest and discussion his talk generated, there’s no doubt he was the star of the show”, she said….   [more]

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