Farmers Condemn Attack On GM Research Crop

AUSTRALIA - New South Wales (NSW) Farmers’ has condemned the actions of Greenpeace protesters who scaled a fence and destroyed a crop of Genetically-Modified (GM) wheat at a CSIRO farm in Canberra.
calendar icon 15 July 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

Three women (greenpeace activists) used whipper snippers to remove a controversial genetically modified (GM) wheat crop before day break.

The activists constructed a decontamination area to safely dispose of the untested and potentially unstable GM organisms.

The activity follows the revelation that Australia’s peak scientific body, CSIRO, is conducting the world’s first human feeding trials of GM wheat, supposdely without adequate safety testing.

“This GM wheat should never have left the lab,” said activist and mother, Heather McCabe. “I'm sick of being treated like a dumb Mum who doesn’t understand the science. As far as I’m concerned, my family's health is just too important. GM wheat is not safe, and if the government can't protect the safety of my family, then I will.”

NSW Farmers’ Grains Committee Chair Mark Hoskinson says not only was this action illegal, but it has destroyed valuable research, which has been paid for by Australian grain growers levies.

“Greenpeace has shown how completely irresponsible it is and has shown contempt for the biosecurity protocols that have been put in place in a controlled environment by the trained and professional CSIRO staff,” he said.

“For all they know, they could have spread about spores of a new virulent pathogen of stripe rust. I sincerely hope that isn’t the case, but the risk is there for this type of protest. The protesters jeopardised valuable seed or grain that could be used for future trials. “NSW Farmers’ is committed to maintaining choice and coexistence for Australian grain growers and supports research and development into GM crops.

“NSW Farmers’ proactively supports research and development, and market and trade discussions for future GM crops - as long as the supply chain can effectively segregate, as has been the case with GM Canola,” he said .

“Actions like that of the Greenpeace protesters reduce the chance for this data to be produced in a controlled environment,” Mark Hoskinson said.

Industry estimates that GM wheat is at least seven years away. NSW Farmers’ will continue to work with the domestic and international grains industries, regulators, growers, food manufacturers and customers until that time.

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