Greenpeace trashes Australian GM wheat trial

Greenpeace protesters have destroyed a genetically modified wheat trial growing in Canberra, Australia.


The genetically modified crops were part of a trial on wheat carbohydrate content and its influence on human health.


The trial was set up by the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation and began in 2009.


But Greenpeace protesters claimed that the GM crops were unsafe for human consumption.


The protesters also claimed that the crops would contaminate surrounding crop fields.


CSIRO responded by saying it had “put measures in place to reduce that risk, including a high fence, a buffer zone in fields around the plants and ensuring no wheat compatible species were planted within 500m of the fence”.


The government’s data showed that 60% of contamination did not come from wind but instead came from human error in site management, the organisation said.


It has been reported that the Greenpeace protesters were able to access the crops easily.


“They walked in wearing full [protective clothing] and walked out without encountering a single security person,” a CSIRO official said. 


There is now a full police investigation into the break-in.


The CSIRO is currently assessing the damage to their crops and deciding whether they will continue the trial.


The science community has also voiced its anger about the break-in and disruption of the trial.


“I am appalled that a fellow scientist’s experiments have been destroyed,” said Christopher Preston, an associate professor at the University of Adelaide.


Other scientists have said that they were “appalled” and “disappointed” by the action of Greenpeace protesters.