Experiments to increase food production in a more environmentally friendly way are being attacked by activists. Here, Prof John Pickett defends his work.
On Sunday a lone activist broke into one of the fields here at Rothamsted Research labs in Hertfordshire and started attacking a number of genetically modified wheat plants that we are growing as part of an experiment to see if we can create a new strain resistant to attack from aphids. Thankfully the police acted quickly, before any serious damage was done, and the experiment can continue, but next Sunday a protest group called Take the Flour Back plans to “decontaminate” the experiment.
The protesters claim that the GM crop is somehow dangerous and therefore must be removed from the ground. A spokeswoman has said “I hope we won’t be forced into removing [the plants] ourselves, but this may be the only course of action.”
We have already written an open letter to the protesters calling on them to engage with us and not to destroy our experiment. So far they have refused to budge, and it appears that Take the Flour Back’s call for those who are anti-GM to take action on a freelance basis has already taken effect. But there is still time for them to see sense, and realise that vandalism is not the way forward.