21 September 2000
Papers divided over GM trial verdict

By FWi staff

THE decision to clear Greenpeace protesters of causing criminal damage after they destroyed a GM crop polarises opinion in this mornings newspapers.

The Daily Mail, which dubbed GM crops Frankenstein foods, has long criticised the governments handling of the issue.

It says the outcome at Norwich Crown Court throws the future of GM farming into chaos, but admits to a deep unease over the verdict

The newspaper fears the jury has encouraged other demonstrators to feel confident they can do as they like.

It asks: Must this most contentious of issues be decided by on the basis of direct physical action rather than by reasoned debate?

The Independent describes the verdict as a disaster for the government and scientists who wanted to find the truth.

The newspaper says it is unlikely that any further trials will be able to go ahead because farmers will be so frightened about the prospect of being targeted.

But the Daily Express says what was really on trial was GM technology, and calls for a ban on trials.

It claims no jury is going to convict protesters when they too share their concerns about such produce being grown in this country.

It says the government must rethink its policy and ban GM testing at least until the risks of cross-contamination can be eradicated.