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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
|ALLIANCE FOR BIO-INTEGRITY, et al.
DONNA SHALALA, et al.
|Civil Action No. 98-1300 (CKK)
RABBI ALAN GREEN
I, Rabbi Alan Green, state:
1. I reside at 58 Vanier Drive, Winnipeg, Manitoba,
Canada. I am the rabbi at Beth Israel Synagogue in Winnipeg, which is affiliated
with Conservative Judaism. All information herein is based upon my personal
2. I and my wife are both U.S. citizens, and we
spend a substantial amount of time each year in the U.S.
3. I am a consumer of tomatoes, potatoes, soy products,
cotton seed oil, squash, canola oil, corn, papaya, radicchio, products
that contain these ingredients, food additives derived from these foods,
and other food products that currently may be genetically engineered or
may be developed in the future.
4. The kosher dietary laws, which are grounded in
the Torah, are a basic aspect of my religious life, and I adhere to them
5. These laws govern my choice, preparation and
consumption of food. They specifically prohibit certain types of foods,
food additives and ingredients, including those containing substances from
insects and certain types of animals. I believe that substances produced
by genes from these prohibited species are unacceptable. I further believe
that when such genes are inserted within the DNA of an otherwise permissible
organism, that organism and all products derived from it are made unkosher
and thus spiritually unacceptable.
6. I am informed that several types of food-producing
plants have been engineered to contain genetic material from insects and
that some researchers have even spliced human genes into plants. Because
the FDA does not require pre-market notification and labeling of genetically
engineered foods, I and my family do not know for sure whether these foods
are still in developmental stages or are already on supermarket shelves.
This deeply concerns me.
7. Further, not only do the Hebrew scriptures impell
my religious objections to foods containing genes from prohibited species,
they -- along with rabbinical tradition -- prompt me to avoid all genetically
engineered foods in general, even if the food does not contain genes from
species that are specifically prohibited.
8. The written Torah expressly forbids cross-breeding
domestic animals of different species and also prohibits some other specific
types of mixtures. (Leviticus 19:19.) Jewish oral law explains that these
prohibitions extend to all animals and to most instances of grafting one
species of plant to a member of a different species. Many authorities hold
it is also forbidden to transfer sap between a vegetable and a tree, even
in the absence of grafting.
9. The majority of the rabbis who compiled the earliest
version of the Talmud believed that these prohibitions are basic laws applying
to all humans. Subsequently, the majority opinion came to regard them as
applicable only to Jews. However, many authorities throughout the ages
have maintained the more general view, which is a respected minority opinion.
10. I personally hold the belief that all humans
are meant to refrain from improper incursions on species boundaries. Further,
I believe that such incursions generate some significant degree of negative
11. The express scriptural prohibitions support
the view that spiritual negativity is generated by the act of performing
particular types of cross-species mixtures. Yet, the majority position
in Jewish law has long been that whatever negativity might have been created
is not so severe as to pollute the product of the hybridization. Accordingly,
while Jews are forbidden from performing specific acts of admixture, they
are nonetheless permitted (in the view of the majority of authorities)
to eat the fruits of such actions. However, several eminent rabbis have
taken a stricter view and have taught that some forms of hybridization
mix incompatible energies to such an extent that the resulting foods contain
a corrupted energy.
12. Further, Jewish law clearly recognizes that
food can in several instances be imbued with negative spiritual energy
to the degree that it should not be consumed. The scripturally ordained
dietary laws explicitly state their purpose is to enable the Israelites
to maintain a holy quality of life. Many rabbis have viewed the prohibited
categories of food as ingrained with a negative spiritual energy that cannot
be elevated even by the standard blessings. They have taught that if the
children of Israel eat such foods, their own spiritual energy gets degraded.
13. Some of these prohibited foods are inherently
degraded because they come from a nonkosher species. Several other categories
involve foods that are in themselves acceptable but become degraded through
improper alterations. For instance, if a kosher animal is improperly slaughtered,
its meat is rendered nonkosher.
14. It is my view that genetic engineering is a
form of such improper alteration. I believe that when the species boundaries
are disrupted to an extreme extent in the production of new food organisms,
these organisms themselves get spiritually polluted and that their negative
energy transfers to the consumer. I further believe that the way in which
recombinant DNA technology is currently being employed in food production
is truly an extreme disruption of these natural boundaries and that its
products are in general imbued with a spiritually degraded energy which
remains with substances derived from the whole organism and transfers with
them into other foods in which they become ingredients.
15. I believe this position is in line with the
substance and spirit of Jewish law as elucidated by many great rabbis,
including Rabbi Moses ben Nachman (Nachmanides), who taught that mixing
up the species causes a deep disruption in the subtle fabric of nature.
16. I believe that genetic engineering greatly exceeds
all other methods of creating new varieties of food-producing organisms
in its distortion and disruption of natural boundaries and structures.
No other technique can fuse genes from vastly different species; none other
consistently creates such disturbance to the DNA of the involved organism(s);
none other relies upon promoters from viruses to drive expression of the
transferred genetic material (and, consequently, none other routinely causes
genes to function outside the organism?s intricately designed regulatory
17. While other forms of hybridization may not generate
a substantial degree of spiritual negativity in their products, I believe
that recombinant DNA technology clearly does. Therefore, as a matter of
religious principle, I feel obliged to avoid consuming the products of
this radical technology.
18. Because the defendants do not require the labeling
of genetically engineered foods, it is extremely difficult for me to know
whether the foods that I am buying, preparing and consuming (when I am
in the U.S.) are in keeping with my beliefs. This is especially so in light
of the fact so many processed foods contain ingredients from soy, corn,
cottonseed, and rapeseed (canola). It is my understanding that a substantial
percentage of these crops grown in the U.S. have been genetically engineered,
and that, due to the absence of labeling requirements, the engineered crops
are routinely mixed with the conventionlly produced ones. Consequently,
in order to avoid substances derived from genetically engineered organisms,
one must refrain (when in the U.S.) from purchasing around 70 to 80 per
cent of packaged foods. This is very onerous.
19. Because of their failure to require labeling
of genetically engineered foods, defendants have substantially burdened
my exercise of my Judaic religious beliefs. 20. In accordance with 28 U.S.C.
§ 1746, I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true
Executed on: June 24, 1999.
Rabbi Alan Green