A group of more then 60 academics and other experts launched publically a manifest in rejection of the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council’s (ESC) methods and goals. The ESC has currently raised over $90,000 in a campaign to introduce ayahuasca use to a market-driven “certification” system based on discourses of “safety” and “sustainability”.

 

We believe that rather than ensuring the sustainability of ayahuasca and the safety of those who use it, the ESC approach is actually damaging ayahuasca sustainability and practices, and that something urgently needs to be done about this. The statement outlines the following reasons:

 

  • Alarmist campaign tactics;
  • Unsupported claims that lack of safety, breakdown of traditional means of control, and lack of regulations might cause governments in South America to forbid the use of ayahuasca;
  • Lack of indigenous representation and insufficient assessment of impact of their work on Amazonian indigenous communities;
  • Unrealistic and inappropriate goals to “clean up sorcery”, and certify ayahuasca retreat centers
  • A market orientation, commercial language and promotion of ayahuasca tourism;
  • Unsubstantiated claims calling for conservation and protection of ayahuasca plants and admixtures in order to avoid their disappearance;
  • Overall lack of scientific evidence and rigor and problematic representation of expertise in the field;
  • Lack of transparency about financial benefits and processes;
  • Misappropriation of the voice of ayahuasca

 

We urge the ESC Board and staff to re-direct their sweeping goals with respect to the stewardship of ayahuasca and turn their skills towards educating foreigners who are interested in the ayahuasca experience.

 

(*) Rush, Brian et. al (Dec 21, 2014). Statement Critiquing the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council (ESC). Núcleo de Estudos Interdisciplinares sobre Psicoativos – NEIP.

Available in: http://www.ayahuasca.com/amazon/statement-critiquing-the-ethnobotanical-stewardship-council-esc/

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