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?