Monday, 28 May 2012

Police thwart vandalism of GM crop trial

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Following on from Friday's post regarding the planned anti-GM crop protest in Herefordshire, it's pleasing to be able to report that, while the event did go ahead, the more zealous supporters of the Take The Flour Back campaign were thwarted in their attempts to damage crops in a "decontamination" exercise, as a heavy police presence ensured protesters could not access the field being used by Rothamsted Research to carry out a genetically-modified what crop trial.

Addressing the crowd of protesters (organisers claim there were 400, while a report in the Independent says there were "about 200"), Kate Bell of Take The Flour Back expressed her disappointment that the group had been denied access to the wheat field:
“In the past, kids, grannies, and everyone in between has decontaminated GM trial sites together. Here at the beginning of a new resistance to this obsolete technology, we see GM hidden behind a fortress. We wanted to do the responsible thing and remove the threat of GM contamination, sadly it wasn’t possible to do that effectively today. However, we stand arm in arm with farmers and growers from around the world, who are prepared to risk their freedom to stop the imposition of GM crops.”
 Meanwhile, scientists appealed for activists to allow them to get on with their work. Speaking to the Guardian, Professor Douglas Kell, chief executive of the wheat trial's funding body, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), said he hoped threats of vandalism could be avoided in the future:
"Now that the protest at Rothamsted has ended peacefully I hope that the BBSRC-funded scientists can be allowed to complete their project without the ongoing threat that their work will be destroyed. As scientists, we do not claim to have all the answers. However, our scientific community must be able to conduct regulated and approved trials and experiments without the threat of vandalism hanging over them."
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