"Lead author, Nancy Palardy, TCCR Research Associate."
"Ethical and Theological Reflections by: Eric Beresford, Anglican Church of Canada; Richard Crossman, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; Heather Eaton, St. Paul University (Roman Catholic), Ottawa; Roger Hutchinson, The United Church in Canada."
"Report commission and published by The United Church of Canada".
"The United Church of Canada, wishing to increase its understanding of the ethical dimensions of biotechnology, commissioned the Taskforce on the Churches and Corporate Responsibility to prepare a report which would provide both an overview of various Canadian and global aspects of biotechnology and an analysis of the ethical dimensions. Given the breadth of biotechnology it was agreed that this research report would focus primarily on biotechnological issues regarding agriculture". -- Foreword, p. 6.
Includes bibliographical references but NO index.
Bibliography: pp. 105-106.
Contents: TCCR -- Foreword / David G. Hallman, Co-Chair of the Taskforce on the Churches and Corporate Responsibility -- Section One: Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering / Nancy Palardy -- Introduction -- Agriculture -- Concentration of Control and Key Corporate Players -- Concerns and the Nature of Public Debate -- Section Two: Ethical and Theological Reflections / Eric B. Beresford, Richard C. Crossman, Heather Eaton, Roger C. Hutchinson -- Resources / Nancy Palardy -- Canadian Governmental Departments which Address Issues of Genetically Engineered Agriculture -- Resources for Biotechnology Work
OTCH Note: Eric Beresford is the Coordinator of Ethics and Interfaith Relations for the Anglican Church of Canada and an Anglican priest.
"A conference hosted by the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches that ran from November 2-4  in Toronto, Ont., aimed to address new technologies and examine the ethics of the field of 'synthetic biology'" (p. 6). Drew Endy, a bioengineering professor "Researchers like [bioengineering professor Drew] Endy have been exploring ways to manipulate the genes of living organisms in a laboratory setting, raising the possibility that any product that can be naturally derived from a plant can now be created artificially, which could have an enormous effect on the food industry, agriculture and medicine. Conversely, [technology critic Jim] Thomas, a former Greenpeace activist, expressed a greater concern for the effects of this genetic manipulation. 'Is life something here for humans to engineers ? Is that a morally OK thing to do ?'" (p. 6). "National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald, who participated on a conference panel concerning the ethics and faith response to synthetic biology, voiced support of regulation, but cautioned that 'regulation, in itself', is not enough'. .... These technologies, he said, raise questions about 'our spiritual formation in the dominant culture -- the culture of money'" (p. 6). Nnimmo Bassey, director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation in Nigeria, said: "I believe that this technology will open the door to a very vicious form of colonialism" (p. 10). Panelist Lucy Sharratt, co-ordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, noted that: "Injustice is the real reason people don't have food" (p. 10).
MONTREAL (May 28, 1998) -- The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has passed a motion urging the federal government to prohibit the cloning of human beings. The 300-member synod consists of bishops, clergy and laity from 30 dioceses across the country and is the church's highest governing body.
The mover of the proposal, Elizabeth Hutchinson of the diocese of Montreal, said the church has been approached repeatedly to make its position clear on the subject of cloning.
"While there appears to be widespread agreement in our society that there should be a moratorium on human cloning, there are some individuals in the scientific community who have expressed their intention to proceed", she said. She added that some people have voiced the concern that international trade agreements will provide a means for these scientists to bypass any government moratoria.
The motion approved by synod calls on the Prime Minister of Canada and the federal Minister of Health to encourage the government to prohibit the cloning of whole human beings, and to ensure that international trade agreements do not become a means of dissemination of such cloning.
Synod also asked the Canadian bishops to raise the issue of human cloning at the Lambeth Conference, a meeting of 800 Anglican bishops from around the world to be held in Canterbury later this summer.
Phyllis Creighton, a member from the diocese of Toronto, said that the church must speak out on issues that the scientific community may ignore.
"There is a push in the scientific world to go further and further in the field of biotechnology," she said. "But the church knows that there are deeper questions which must be asked about the impact of such technologies".
She said that the scientific community and the wider society must examine whether cloning and other genetic techniques will enhance the wholeness and dignity of human life and will further the will of God. "When we are making choices about how we pursue biotechnology we must be aware of the difference between arrogance and wisdom," Ms. Creighton said.
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Contact: Sam Carriere or Lorie Chortyk, General Synod News Room (514) 398-5192; Cell phones: (514) 953-7981 (Carriere) or (514) 953-8091 (Chortyk)
That a Human Life Task Force be re-established, reporting through the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee to the Council of General Synod, to reflect theologically on the ethical issues surrounding biotechnologies, euthanasia and assisted suicide, reproductive technologies and human cloning, and to monitor ongoing developments in these areas. Membership of no more than 7 should include 1 member of the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee, ethicists, theologians, scientists and clinicians from the various disciplines as required by the issues. CARRIED Act 27
TORONTO, June 10, 1988 -- Legislation now before the House of Commons raises serious ethical issues and could impose extra hardship on Canadian farmers, the Anglican Church of Canada says.
Bill C-107, an act to establish "plant-breeders rights", has received first reading in the House. The church says there should be public hearings across Canada before the bill receives second reading.
In a letter to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, the Church's general secretary lists several concerns about the legislation which would allow corporations to take out patents on plants. David Woeller says this raises important ethical questions: "Something as basic to the future of all human beings as food must be seen in a context broader than that of individual or corporate property rights and must not be decided only by plant scientists and big business."
The letter notes that this is the first time Parliament has addressed the concept of "patenting" life forms. It says once any kind of life form -- even plant life -- becomes established as a commodity to be bought and sold, it will become extremely difficult to draw the line: "The United States began with plant patenting but has moved to allow patenting for micro-organisms and animals.
"Earlier this year Harvard University was granted a patent for a mouse containing human genes ..... There is no difference between human genetic material and the genetic material of any other species."
The letter raises three additional concerns:
First it says "Bill C-107 is addressing the wrong issue". The real issue is to ensure adequate funds for agricultural research. It suggests this should be done through public funding, rather than through increasing profits to agricultural companies. It says there should be a white paper on the future of agricultural research to allow Canadians to consider this issue in its broader context.
Second, the evidence suggests that "agricultural input costs will increase substantially" as a result of the legislation".
-- there will be an immediate increase in seed costs of 10 percent, according to an estimate by the Manitoba department of agriculture;
-- several estimates predict a further rapid rise in prices, by at least 30 percent;
-- the example of pharmaceutical companies causes special concern. These companies recently received similar patent protection for prescription drugs. At that time, the federal government said price increases would not exceed the Consumer Price Index (about 5 percent). In fact, a study by the government of Ontario revealed that more than 1,000 drugs had excessive price increases over a six month period -- and some increased by more than 100 percent ! Many of the pharmaceutical companies responsible for these price increases are the same companies which seek patents on their seeds.
Third, the bill would operate to the detriment of Third World agriculture which has supplied us with much of our "germplasm" -- the genetic material of plant breeding -- free of charge. Bill C-107 flies in the face of United Nations initiatives to ensure "farmers' rights".
The letter concludes by urging the government to initiate public hearings to be held across the country before proceeding with the legislation.