It costs us £2.3 million to protect a GM field trial from anti-GM environmentalists

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Three years ago a bunch of luddite hippies – including Jenny Jones, a one time Green Party candidate for London Mayor – attempted to destroy a trial of GM wheat in Rothamstead just north of London.

Fortunately there were enough cops to stop these pre-Enlightenment thinkers from destroying the trial.

Today, we have news of the results of the trial.

Unfortunately, the crop appears to have been unsuccessful. This will, naturally, be seized on by opponents of GM crops. In itself, it means very little.

This is how science progresses. Every trial and experiment is conducted with the knowledge it may fail. If you demand 100% success, then science is probably not for you.

We also got news of just how much the threat of the anti-GM vandals has cost us. From the Guardian:

Threats from anti-GM campaigners to destroy the experimental crops caused the final bill for the trial to rise from £732,000 to £3m.

So, we could have got three maybe four other trials for the same price, where it not for the vandals. And maybe those other trials could have been successful.

The above quote from the Guardian was proceeded by complaints from the religious group GM Watch, who weren’t happy about the cost of the trial. Yes, do all you can to make something as expensive as possible, and then complain about how expensive it is. Special pleading and hypocrisy par excellence.

This of course is the standard in the debates on this issue. Environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, pose a physical threat to GM crops trials. This makes trials of GM crops incredibly expensive and slow to carry out. Security fences to stop Greenpeace activists from destroying scientific research does not come cheap. It costs enough to keep a few PhD students out of post doctoral employment.

These same environmental groups then turn around and complain about how expensive and slow GM crops are, and that we must pursue cheaper and faster alternatives. And we go round and round.

Is it not time this irrational behaviour stopped?

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5 thoughts on “It costs us £2.3 million to protect a GM field trial from anti-GM environmentalists

    mem_somerville (@mem_somerville) said:
    June 25, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    Yeah, I noticed in all the coverage that nobody held the claims of the scientists destroying the British wheat industry up for scrutiny.

    Was looking back through my old files on this today, and remembered this: “GM Crops Experiment At Rothamsted Is An ‘Act Of Terrorism’ Protest Group Say”. Yeah, the scientists were terrorists. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/02/gm-crops-take-the-flour-back-rothamsted-research-act-of-terrorism-protest-group-matt-thomson_n_1470121.html

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    blockquote>”robbing UK farmers of their livelihoods.”

    <

    blockquote>

    So, has your wheat industry collapsed? I hadn’t heard.

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      Dimitri Harakidas said:
      June 26, 2015 at 1:55 am

      Genetic engineering scientists – I am referring to those scientists who call themselves experts in
      genetics, DNA modifications, food engineering, animal engineering and the rest via test tubes in
      crazy lab work – I have a challenge for you, seemingly a very simple one since you claim you can do
      all these weird and wonderful things in your ignorant way. Let me explain. If a scientific team can
      create a fully functioning fly which can reproduce for 31 generations without any problems and
      further input from you while it still remains a fly and does not become something else, then you
      might claim that you have some understanding of the massive complexities of the genetic code and
      how it works. You can’t claim that you know what is really going on, when you create something and
      only one finger of its whole body moves. Once you can artificially produce the insignificant fly from
      scratch and it is fully functional, just like the real one, then you could probably move on to a lizard.
      Get the basics right first before moving on to something more complicated. Any argument on this is
      just a cover-up for your lack of knowledge; leave everything else untouched and stop destroying our
      world.
      Dimitri Harakidas – Author of ‘The 99’

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        Robert Wilson said:
        June 26, 2015 at 7:39 am

        What do you have against flies? I assure you, it would probably be more difficult to reproduce a fly than to reproduce your apparently insignificant brain.

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    Tom Keen (@tomjkeen) said:
    June 26, 2015 at 7:56 am

    “This will, naturally, be seized on by opponents of GM crops.”

    Yep, here’s Nassim Nicholas Taleb claiming that “GMOs aren’t just risky, but unprofitable,” with reference to an article in The Guardian: https://twitter.com/nntaleb/status/614136047224684550

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      Robert Wilson said:
      June 26, 2015 at 9:04 am

      It gives him something more solid to hold on to that pseudo statistical mumbo jumbo.

      Like

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