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Columban missionary says genetic engineering gives life to multinationals

Irish author, environmentalist and priest Sean McDonagh has condemned the patenting of living things in a new publication from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC).

In a paper for the Council, he argues that patenting will make life the property of large companies.

He said: "Over time, the patenting scramble will remove many life forms from the domain of the commons where they have provided many services for humans and other creatures. Under a patenting regime these life forms will now become the private property of Northern transnational corporations. Life will only have value in so far as it generates a profitable return on investment for large companies."

The paper, from the Council's Catholic Social Justice Series, is titled Life: Creation or Commodity? The Case Against Patents on Living Things.

ACSJC National Executive Officer Sandie Cornish said the publication of the paper is important because many Australians are concerned about genetically modified food but feel insufficiently informed to take a position and to act.

The paper is available from the Council for $5.50 (tel: 02 9956 5811). A response to the paper from the Catholic Institute of Sydney's Fr Gerard Moore is available on the Council's website.

Response to Life is a gift and should not be patented (Fr Gerard Moore)
Australian Social Justice Council
Columban Voices: Ecology