Brazil Petition Update

March 11, 2015

Stand up for science in the face of violence – condemn vandalism against forest biotech research in Brazil


REASON TO CELEBRATE: GM Eucalyptus Biosafety Bill Passes!

With the help of the international community, the Alliance for Science, and thousands of people who signed this petition, we were part of a historic moment: the GM Eucalyptus biosafety bill was approved, making it the first world-wide GM eucalyptus event. This bill instates regulations that allow for the use of smart, responsible, and highly impactful public-sector genetically modified crops to allow Brazilian farmers access to agricultural innovation. If you want to read more about the particulars, check out the statement from FuturaGene.

This approval is particularly meaningful given the malicious actions of radical anti-GM groups who destroyed millions of GM eucalyptus plants and hundreds of hours of research in Sao Paulo. Just like you, science supporters worldwide were horrified by these intimidation tactics, and more than 1,400 people responded swiftly by signing the Alliance for Science petition scienceNOTviolence in an effort to show support to Brazilian scientists and researchers.

MARCH UPDATE: Stop Vandalizing Science Petition Reaches Goal

More than 1400 people showed their support for Brazilian forest biotechnologists who were victims of a violent attack last month and the scientists expressed their gratitude in a heartfelt letter to the Alliance.

As many readers know, earlier this month, FuturaGene, a Brazilian lab focused on forest biotechology, was the target of one of the ugliest, most violent attacks on scientific research in recent memory. More than 1000 people armed with sticks and knives broke into greenhouses in Itapentininga, Brazil, destroying millions (CK) of GE eucalyptus plants. The attack not only resulted in the loss of many years of technological development at FuturaGene, but it also halted progress on research with the potential to substantially increase yield.

Days later, in response to the attack, the Alliance for Science launched the Stop Vandalizing Science petition, condemning vandalism against science, and showing support for Brazilian scientists. The letter received a swift, enthusiastic response from 1414 people from around globe.

I have no words to express our gratitude for this showing of support from the international community towards the events in Brazil, Eugenio Cesar Ulian of FuturaGene wrote in an email to the Alliance. Shortly after Ulian s note, the entire FuturaGene team sent a note of thanks, posted below:

To the Alliance for Science Team:

We would like to express our gratitude for your initiative in organizing the petition of support by the international scientific community condemning the invasion of FuturaGene s facilities in Brazil and the disruption of the Brazilian Technical Commission of Biosafety (CTNBio) meeting of March the 5th, which was due to deliberate and vote on the submission by FuturaGene for the commercial deployment of a yield enhanced genetically modified eucalyptus event.

These violent acts came as a shocking surprise both for FuturaGene and the CTNBio. They are in stark contrast to the open and transparent dialogue which FuturaGene has maintained with civil society throughout its development process and against the legal and democratic principles under which the CTNBio is constituted, as well as the basic need and right to conduct objective scientific discovery and development for the betterment of society.

The significant support that your initiative has assembled from scientists and society in general is of great importance to FuturaGene, since it encourages us to persevere in our mission towards building a more sustainable future through technological innovation. We believe it will also be highly appreciated by the CTNBio members, as this is a clear demonstration of sympathy and support from their scientific peers from around the world.

Warm regards,

The FuturaGene Team