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Activists Destroy Scientific GMO Experiment

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the not-in-my-garden dept.

Science 1229

Freggy writes "In Belgium, a group of activists calling themselves the Field Liberation Movement has destroyed a field which was being used for a scientific experiment with genetically modified potatoes. In spite of the presence of 60 police officers protecting the field, activists succeeded pulling out the plants and sprayed insecticides over them, ruining the experiment. The goal of the experiment was to test potato plants which are genetically modified to be resistant to potato blight. It's a sad day for the freedom of scientific research."

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1229 comments

Sounds like (3, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286928)

That sounds like terrorism to me. "Stop making GM plants, or we'll fuck your shit up."

Re:Sounds like (3, Insightful)

frozentier (1542099) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286978)

Sounds more like a bunch of assholes than a group of terrorists.

Re:Sounds like (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286990)

Sounds to me like some assholes who need to spend a few years in jail with hard criminals.

Re:Sounds like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287034)

Sound to me like some assholes who need to be forced to attend some plant pathology classes.

Re:Sounds like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287082)

Asshats are just annoying, while terrorists kill poor subsistence farmers.

Re:Sounds like (4, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287122)

Odd that they don't simply spread their message by not buying these types of food. They find it acceptable to destroy property that does not belong to them, and which probably cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in lost time and research, just to force people to view things their way. I also found the article to be a bit funny regarding these GM crops being 'forced' onto local farmers.

If you don't want to eat that shit, don't buy it, or grow your own disease ridden organic food. If they prove that it's safe, then I have no issues with it. Since this crop was still being studied, apparently they weren't interested in it's safety, but rather in destroying it before that fact was determined.

It's also pretty sad when they announced their plans to do this and the police still failed to do much but slow them down. Pellet guns or water hoses would have seemed to be a good non-lethal solution here.

Re:Sounds like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287200)

From their point of view it makes sense, because "simply spread[ing] their message by not buying these types of food" does not work, since most people wouldn't care about it.

Re:Sounds like (2)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287290)

So, you mean they are self-centered jerks who try to make everyone think like they do, and when it fails they get destructive? Why yes, I do agree!

Re:Sounds like (5, Informative)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287230)

You can't just "not buy it", or "not grow it". There's a big issue here in the states with Monsanto and their GM crops being cross pollinated into smaller, local farmers fields. Monsanto can go to court, then force the farmers to pay for the right to grow those crops that now contain their gene.

While not 100% relevant in and of itself, it emphasizes how easily cross pollination can occur, and how it's a huge problem to plant a GM crop anywhere near a non-GM crop and keep there from being cross contamination

Re:Sounds like (0)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287288)

It's 110% not relevant. Belgium is in Europe, and American patent laws do not apply! What's the difference between a GM crop and a non-GM crop by the way? None of them are similar to the "original" crop that was imported from South-America a few 100 years ago anyway - both have been changed by the hand of humans.

Re:Sounds like (5, Insightful)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287282)

"Odd that they don't simply spread their message by not buying these types of food."

Problem being, at some point there may be no other type of food than these. I'm not 100% against GM foods of any sort but there is a real concern that any cross-breeding(which maybe some consider "forcing" it on them, I'm not sure about that though) will result in an entirely unsafe food supply and I can understand that seeing as how there's that corn that was supposed to be the answer to everything that they're now discovering retains its poisonous attributes even after being cooked. If you realize how much corn is in everything you eat, you realize why some might be concerned to act out like this. Again, I'm not saying it's right or that I agree with either side but there are valid concerns.

Re:Sounds like (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287314)

Odd that the scientists don't simply do their test in confined spaces. They find it acceptable to polute nearby crops and properties that does not belong to them, and which could cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in ecological damage, just to force people to view things their way. If you want to test that shit, go test it in a country of your own. They can't prove that it's safe, that's why I have issues with it. Since this crop was still being studied, apparently they couldn't care less about it's safety, but were rather interested in testing it in spite of the damage it could do.

Re:Sounds like (5, Insightful)

GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286998)

Yes, exactly. Also, the /. headline says:

It's a sad day for the freedom of scientific research.

Well, considering what has already happened with the round-up ready stuff and all this Monsanto crap, it might be a sad day for scientific research, but it's a good day for the freedom of eating natural veggies. Thanks, but no thanks, we don't want your GMO anymore, we saw what it does. If you want to do research, feel free to do it IN THE LABS, but absolutely NOT IN THE WILD.

Re:Sounds like (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287116)

But they do start in a lab, and eventually need to do it in the wild. You need to do a scaled experiment somehow.

Also, I'm cool with the GMO. As long as they follow reasonable constraints before releasing some engineered strain into the wild.

I'm not interested in having a random small group of unelected individuals decide for us what is in our interests or not. They can go cream-pie the CEO, maybe go door-to-door and have people sign onto a petition or something, but this isn't cool. I know Monsanto are dirt bags, but not all research should be thrown into the same pool. These people belong in prison with Ted.

Re:Sounds like (5, Interesting)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287264)

If you file patents on any GM product that has the capacity to cross-contaminate natural organisms with your patented gene thereby giving you the opportunity to sue people for growing crop with your contaminated gene then you should be thrown in the same pool as Monsanto.

If engineering a plant that allows you to douse them with weedkillers killing all weeds while not affecting the plant and you tell the public there will be no repercussions from said practice then superweeds show up on the scene that are resistant to herbicides then you should be thrown in the same pool with Monsanto

If your internal documents show that you knew of many problems but you lied to the public then you should be thrown in the same pool as Monsanto

The question then becomes. What procedures are in place to absolutely 100% prevent these scenarios and many more from happening?

Re:Sounds like (5, Insightful)

Barrie_rdv (1236634) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287128)

This research was happening independently of the industry, with public funding. Also, the research was about making the potatoes immune to a common disease, NOT making them immune to a specific brand of herbicide, so I fail to see how this could lead to a Monsanto situation. Part of the research was also to find out what the environmental impact of GMO is, and you will have to do a field test at some point to scientifically verify this.

Re:Sounds like (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287238)

No point in defending GMOs with rational argument. Science's greatest detractors have always been the ignorant. But then again, science's greatest failures are usually caused by hubris.

Re:Sounds like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287136)

Depends! Is this modified plant occur naturally or not ? If it does, it's not logical to leave it in a lab. Even if it does not occur naturally it's not up to us to determine where and how they should do the experiment, the experts themselves can assess that.

Re:Sounds like (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287148)

some things cannot be replicated in the labs, on top of that, most veggies you eat (even the 'organic' ones) are genetically modified in some way. Infact right now banana's are all genetically modified, there no longer exists a banana fruit that can reproduce on its own, they were all wipred out by disease and over consumption.If you dont like the way genetically modified expirements are working, join the science field, and come up with a better solution. Aside from that all your doing is spreadding FUD which is no better than the current government. GTFO and RTFM, oh and by the way, YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!

Re:Sounds like (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287296)

What? Bananas aren't genetically modified even though they are sterile. You can take cuttings from herbs to propagate more of them and they'll be genetically identical.

Here in europe, we don't have much genetically modified fruits and veg in the shops.

Re:Sounds like (3, Insightful)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287162)

Research inevitably goes Lab -> Greenhouse -> Uncontrolled conditions.

Eventually it HAS to be tested in the wild or else you won't ever be able to use the product.

I'd also like to point out that you have been eating GM plants your entire life. Wheat? Hundreds of years of selective growing of only the best stock. Its the same thing it's just been done on a farm instead of in a lab.

Corn? Corn didn't even exist in its current form a thousand years ago, yet it was in its current form before the GMO corps were even founded. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts you eat corn or corn products on a regular basis though don't you?

There need to be restrictions in place on it, but only because they can now make more massive changes to the plant more quickly, not because making changes is in general a bad thing.

Re:Sounds like (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287198)

Thanks, but no thanks, we don't want your GMO anymore, we saw what it does.

You don't speak for me. I want GMO crops.

It's funny how you environmentalists take the word of scientists regarding climate change and evolution but ignore scientists when it comes to nuclear power and GMO crops.

Re:Sounds like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287324)

Uhhh... What exactly does it do? The stuff has been around fro decades without any obvious detrimental effects, might very well help us end world hunger...

People are welcome to have "all natural" if they so desire. I, for one, would prefer a better product and really regard these "activists" as ignorant terrorists who would rather the world starve than even consider the possibility that they're wrong.

Re:Sounds like (3, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287010)

Agribusiness is far too wealthy to fight in the courts. The whole idea of "peaceful change" is obsolete because the rich rule the earth, and the asymmetric response remaining is protest and force.

There is no such thing as "terrorism", just "high tech fighting" and "low tech fighting". Kings have always sought to declare the peasants low and unchivalrous.

It's called protesting (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287156)

> That sounds like terrorism to me

Yeh, I guess people concerned with public health should limit themselves to shouting. Because megacorps pay attention, y'know.

(Most forms of protesting must sound like terrorism to you.)

Re:Sounds like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287192)

You must be American to be able to jump to such a conclusion.

It doesn't sound like an act of terrorism - an act of violence to induce terror in those people that were affected.

It sounds like a bunch of crazy people who don't understand boundaries.

dont humans have to be harmed for terrorism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287248)

unless humans are injured/die, its just vandalism isn't it?

Re:Sounds like (1, Interesting)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287272)

That's certainly one way to look at it.

Another might be to say that the profit-driven corporations who want to grow these crops have little regard for the potential, irreversible consequences that could occur in the ecosystem and that these people are protecting that ecosystem from catastrophic damage. In which case you could characterise these protesters as Defenders agaust the selfish, and irresposible profit-seeking bio-companies.

oblig. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

Not bad compared to animal ecoterrorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286932)

Animal-based ecoterrorists try to murder you. I guess plant-based ecoterrorists are a bit friendlier.

Mutant Tutles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286948)

Ninjas for the win!

insecticides? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286954)

The strict environmentalists spraying poison. No irony there.

GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (1, Insightful)

ivucica (1001089) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286956)

Don't treat it as a religion, especially when dealing with stuff that can contaminate things unrelated to your "scientific experiment". Or with "safely modified, strengthened, disease resistant food".

I don't want your GMO "food" to mix with my food. I don't want my food to even have a chance to be contaminated with your food, even if you think it isn't dangerous.

You're free to do things as long as you don't infringe on my freedom. And at this time in my life, I want freedom to eat non-GMO food.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (2)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286994)

Agreed, but who even says this field was within any appreciable distance of a regular potato field (and thus posed any risk of contamination)?

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287110)

Lateral gene transfer is a well-described and understood phenomenon.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (0, Flamebait)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287012)

It was a blight-resistant potato field, you half-witted fucktard.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (-1, Flamebait)

ktappe (747125) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287088)

It was a blight-resistant potato field, you half-witted fucktard.

No, it MIGHT HAVE BEEN a blight-resistant potato field. It might also have had some other genetic anomaly that attacks and wipes out all other potatoes even a single grain of pollen from this field comes in contact with. Our race has a long history of thinking it is smarter than nature and being proven very, very wrong.

Sure is funny how those who use the term "fucktard" are usually the less-learned ones.....

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (3, Insightful)

ryants (310088) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287030)

What, exactly, do you eat then? All food (save perhaps wild meat) has been genetically manipulated since humans settled down and started farming about 10000 years ago.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (4, Interesting)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287132)

The argument against GMO is that it's not just a natural selection process aided along by humans who see the end result of those genetics before choosing the next step, it's that we're taking genes and modifying them without knowing the exact changes made. We can make many permutations of the potato via GM, and have no idea what they'll end up as. However, if we go and use the traditional methods, we see exactly what we're getting, and know to a greater extent that there aren't unintended consequences.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (2)

PIBM (588930) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287310)

Like cats ? We`ve been working on them for centuries, interbreeding them.. Now we have some nice eyes colors with specific forms and `hair colors`, that please the human eyes, but they develop tons of problems later in life. I`d call that unintended consequences.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287322)

"we're taking genes and modifying them without knowing the exact changes made. "
"and have no idea what they'll end up as"

You might have no idea, the geneticists tend to have a better idea what they're doing than you do.

you're just going with a genetic algorithm rather than straightforward design.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (1, Funny)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287138)

But now they do it with chemicals, which is a scary word. I don't want any chemicals in my body.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287266)

Better make your will out now then, your body can't live without chemicals. NaCl and H20 being two big ones. Then there's trace minerals which need only be present in vanishingly small amounts but lacking those few molecules of it you do have will kill you.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (2)

Anonyme Connard (218057) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287258)

You know the difference between *selection* and *insertion of genes from another species*, don't you?
For example, selecting at each generation of a given cereal the seeds from the individual plants that performed best with less water IS NOT THE SAME THING as inserting in said cereals some genes from catus or camel.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287320)

There's a difference between selective breeding and transgenic genetic engineering.

Bundling it all together in the phrase "genetically manipulated" does not make for an informed or honest discussion.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287044)

I want freedom to eat non-GMO food.

Well I want the freedom to eat GMO food.

People like you need to be round up and shot in the head so that humanity as a whole may continue to prosper.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287050)

That doesn't justify people destroying others' property, period. We have not progressed as people in a long time. This push for "democratic" means has turned everyone into a bunch of immature people. We truly need to have principles and truths. Sure, not everything can be absolute, but if people want to have liberty, then they need to stop using force against others because their version of life is not congruent with others. This has to do with economic liberty, religious liberty, sexual liberty, etc. If researchers are trying to test some GMO foods, and it is contaminating, or may contaminate, other crops, then sue them, as that is a just cause... if they are not respecting your liberty, then seek justice. They should be free to do the research, but they should also take the necessary precautions to limit its impact on others.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287232)

It has apparently escaped your notice but there's no way to win in the courts against an opponent with unlimited funds. Truth doesn't prevail. Therefore justice is unattainable. Financial wealth creates a freedom distortion-field.

There is no justice. Example: In the UK, if a police officer commits a crime and a private citizen brings a criminal prosecution, the Crown Prosecution Service is free to take over the case and abandon it to prevent the police officer from risking facing the punishment which he deserves.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287054)

Your comment shows what an arrogant moron you are.

People like you don't have the slightest idea what they're talking about.

Buy yourself a couple of textbooks on Biochemistry 101 and the like and come back when you actually have something to add to the debate.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (1)

rodarson2k (1122767) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287104)

If you want the freedom to eat non-GMO food, I recommend you exercise your freedom to grow your own food.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (1)

Ptolom (2191478) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287126)

I'm pretty sure scientific experiment is just a general term for a controlled environment which is monitored to test a hypothesis, rather than a direct quote from anybody. Nobody is forcing GMO food down your throat. It may well be more expensive to buy organic, non GMO food, but that's because it's more expensive to produce. The fact is, there is a major overpopulation problem in the world today, and many people go hungry. If we're going to feed everybody satisfactorily and keep populations growing uncontrolled, we need all the technology we have to make food production more efficient.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (-1, Flamebait)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287142)

You know? You are a racist.

You say refuse to eat genetically modified food? Guess what. Every single thing you have ever eaten and every living thing you have ever seen including every single person you have ever met or even just read about is genetically modified.

Not only are every one of us, the result of a genetic experiment to make a close with mixed DNA from two different individuals, every one of us carries hundreds of mutations introducing new genes that are in neither of your parents.

But that's OK isn't it, genetic experiments and experimental genes are a-O-K when they are done by nature, but if it's done by those filthy humans? No THAT is not OK.

That is racism.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (5, Insightful)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287218)

And at this time in my life, I want freedom to eat non-GMO food.

Then go resurrect some crops from fossils a few thousand years old. Genetic modification through selective breeding has been around for as long as agriculture. Direct modification is the same in kind if not in technique. i.e. instead of breeding Regular Tasty Potatoes in the same field as Hardier Smaller Potatoes for a few years and replanting the ones with the least blight, you instead figure out how the hardier variety are resistant, isolate the genetic sequence(s) responsible for this, splice them into your Tasty Potatoes, and breed those for a while to make sure nothing untoward happens. The crops destroyed were at that latter stage.
Personally, I'd rather eat 'GM food' that requires a lower number and quantity of pesticides than other crops of the same cost, especially when 'Organic' food requires a massive increased land-area and other resources to farm (and thus a higher direct sale price). Then there's the GM foods needed to prevent starvation in countries where regular crops just do not provide enough nourishment to sufficiently feed their populations.

This is separate from Monsanto et al's massively dickish moves in attempting to patent genetic sequences and impose ridiculous 'licensing terms' on crops.

Re:GMO scientists, who do you think you are? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287226)

Then don't eat it.

Oh no! (4, Funny)

frozentier (1542099) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286964)

Destroying a potato field... WHAT'S NEXT??? This is just more evidence of how badly we need the Patriot Act.

what the ... (2)

bball99 (232214) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286966)

so the activists were protesting gm crops, but resorted to using pesticide? i didn't know the potato was a pest...

not very 'green' of them, was it?

Does any of this matter? (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286972)

Honestly, today, I couldn't care less. Today, of all days, when millions across America will gather in solemn celebration to eat hot dogs, in honor of my exquisitely formed and proportioned male member, who cares what a handful of French zealots are jabbering about?

Summary is wrong. (1)

stagg (1606187) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286976)

I was wondering why they'd have "sprayed insecticides over them." According to the article, "the trial was also allegedly sprayed with herbicide." There's a real distinction there. The article itself is about as long as the summary anyway.

Re:Summary is wrong. (2)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287072)

The 'article' is a blog with the phrase 'food freedom' in the URL. If it was longer, would it have seriously been worth considering as a credible source?

RTFA (4, Insightful)

RealGene (1025017) | more than 2 years ago | (#36286982)

They sprayed herbicide, not insecticide.
Open-field testing of GM plants is an inconceivably bad idea. Fifty cops can't stop cross-pollination with unmodified crops.

Re:RTFA (5, Insightful)

Barrie_rdv (1236634) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287166)

As I explained in an other comment, part of the field test was exactly to find out the environmental impact. You will have to do a field test at some point. One of the researchers also said that with these potatoes cross pollination does not happen.

Re:RTFA (2, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287260)

You will not have to do a field test if we succeed in getting GM crops banned.

Dumbasses (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36286988)

Funny thing is that the movement that called for the destruction is a movement primarily directed against multinationals. Of course, only one plant on the field was from scientific research of a multinational, the other plants were from a government initiative to do genetic research without relying on hard to regulate multinationals. By doing the research themselves they were hoping to prevent the multinationals gaining the upper hand in such research, and thus making a lot of this obscure by calling in protection of their research via patents and secrecy.

Scientific freedom... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287000)


Anti-science, torch wielding mobs know best! Like the anti-vax thing on the weekend where 4 cops and 3 security people removed a woman for not drinking the anti-vax kool-aid.

A great day for human beings (5, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287002)

I think the submitter of this article is a little unclear on the concept of what companies like Monsanto are trying to do, they are trying to control the food supply, to get a "piece of the action" like a Mafia every time you take a bite of food, and no one who doesn't pay them will have food. They are evil, and this little incident is nothing compared to what should be done to those parasites on humanity. Think of Monsanto and their ilk as the MIAA/RIAA of food.

Re:A great day for human beings (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287268)

The protesters have two issues: (1) patents and (2) effects of GGO on the environment.

About (2): the reason for the test was exactly to find out what the environmental effects may be.

About (1): Patents, at least those on living beings and/or those resulting from university research (in theory paid by the society at large, but due to lack of funding often paid by private sector) should be abolished. And universities need more funding to become independent of industry.

I'm more concerned about the GM business (5, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287006)

Monsanto is all that anyone needs to say these days to show what is most wrong with GM foods. I'm sure all sorts of amazing and magical things can come of GM foods research. But when it is used as a weapon to destroy people and to control something as vital as food for humanity for profit, I have to say NO MORE GM FOOD. Once the problem of commercial exploitation is resolved, then let's revisit the many potential benefits of GM foods.

And before anyone says "profits pay for the research" I will just say I don't care. Find another way that doesn't involve using the results to dominate and drive private farmers out of business and off their land.

Re:I'm more concerned about the GM business (5, Interesting)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287036)

I think the Monsanto situation could be easily resolved by making them responsible for not allowing the spread of the pollen, rather than making the private farmers responsible for pollen getting into their area.

Re:I'm more concerned about the GM business (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287212)

Most problems are easily resolved with a small dose of common sense... Sadly you have to deal with a corrupt government so fat chance of finding even the slightest bit of common sense there.

Re:I'm more concerned about the GM business (1)

rodarson2k (1122767) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287222)

Or they could just accept the fact that they're trying to sell something that reproduces naturally. Pet stores don't say "you can't breed these rabbits" - they either neuter them themselves or they deal with the fact that someone else might someday have extra rabbits to sell. It takes a lot of investment (sort of...as a geneticist myself, it's not even a million dollars or anything until you start futzing with the FDA and other gov't entities) so you should just make your distribution method more convenient than anyone else's & your prices competitive with whatever else is out there, even if the other stuff is basically selling exact copies of your product without the scientific investment.

If the cost of "food safety research" was borne by the regulatory bodies that demand it instead of the private companies hoping to sell food, there wouldn't be a need to have indefinite gene patents and teams of lawyers protecting the hundreds of millions of investment in a product. Genetics is cheap, it's all the regulatory crap that makes Monsanto have to behave like thugs to maintain profitability.

(not saying they wouldn't abuse the system to continue behaving like thugs while being incredibly profitable in my alternate setup, but there would be space for alternative, 'nice', companies to exist, and presumably people would recognize that "we hate monsanto, let's buy from otnasnom instead")

Re:I'm more concerned about the GM business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287152)

The solution is very simple: fund public research on GM. It is already done in some place, and once removed the perverted business model (isn't that similar to DRM? prevent 'copying'?) most problems disappears.

Re:I'm more concerned about the GM business (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287236)

But when it is used as a weapon to destroy people and to control something as vital as food for humanity for profit, I have to say NO MORE GM FOOD.

You might be interested in the book, The Windup Girl [wikipedia.org].

from belgium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287014)

i am sorry. we have a bunch of idiots here too.
we are working on GM people to solve it.

Insecticide != Herbicide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287028)

Insecticides are for killing insects not plants (they usually target the nerves, digestion or reproduction which are totally different for plants). I think they mean herbicide (or maybe the anti-GMO crowed really didn't know the difference between the two.)

Re:Insecticide != Herbicide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287240)

RTFA. These 'modified potatoes' had sprouted legs and wings and were buzzing around terrorising the local people. DDT bombing was the only option.

Lack of background, nuance (5, Informative)

mhermans (948710) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287046)

The comment "It's a sad day for the freedom of scientific research", misses the complexity of the debate surrounding the inherently political balance between technological advances driven by private interest and the opinion and interest of the larger populace. A colleague a has published extensively and recently on this very subject, the debate and issue of GGO's in Belgium, these two publications, available from his homepage [ua.ac.be] are highly recommended:
  • Maeseele, P. (2011) On News Media and Democratic Debate: Framing Agricultural Biotechnology in Northern Belgium. International Communication Gazette 73 (1-2): 83-105.
  • Maeseele, P. (2010) Science journalism and social debate on modernization risks. Interview by Filippo Bonaventura. Journal of Science Communication 9 (4): C02.

Don't care either way. (5, Interesting)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287052)

I don't care for the tactics used here, and of course many researchers in this area really are just legitimately working on ways to increase food yields.

On the other hand, there really are plenty of rapacious Monsantos and wannabes out there, who have quite legitimately given the whole thing a bad name. So I do understand the backlash.

Honestly, they'd do a lot better to try and get genetic patents eliminated. That's what causes a great deal of the harm here, whereas those interested in altruism or a reasonable profit don't need them. Unfortunately, those aren't so easy to uproot as a potato.

Could be justified (2)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287062)

There may be some controversy over the "evilness" of GM foods. We've done artificial selection for hundreds of years to create the crops we have now. If you look at pictures of wild corn and wild wheat it is unidentifiable to the lay person. In fact most people laugh at the idea of banana seeds, which are basically gone now. I don't have a problem with GM foods that are properly tested. I do have a problem with the legality. I think GM foods should be a government/international effort. When you hear stories of Monsanto suing farmers which GM strains in their crops from cross contamination or killing off seed banks that gets me riled up.

Re:Could be justified (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287278)

"There may be some controversy over the "evilness" of GM foods. We've done artificial selection for hundreds of years to create the crops we have now."

That second statement is true but unrelated to GM foods. Selective breeding is very different from tinkering with DNA. The purpose may be the same (crops/livestock that better suits our needs) but the technology is entirely different.

what makes me chuckle... (0)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287070)

What makes me chuckle is that these activists most likely have an extremely low opinion of those who oppose embryonic stem cell research on ethical grounds.

Re:what makes me chuckle... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287168)

So the stereotypes you imagine to keep your world simple make you chuckle? Aw, that's nice.

Sad day for food freedom (1)

hexsprite (835728) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287078)

It's a sad day for those who wish to live in a world free of frankenfoods. It wouldn't be so bad if GMO could live happily ever after all by itself, but we all know that it's going to cross and contaminate everything else. We should have a right to choose whether or not we want GMO but it's existence seems to threaten normal (organic) food. If a coal fired power plant is spewing sulfur into your backyard and you shut down their plant or force them to install scrubbers is it a sad day for power generation freedom??

Re:Sad day for food freedom (1)

siride (974284) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287130)

We've been eating frankenfoods for a long time and live with frankenanimals, like dogs and cats, which were bred to be amenable to humans and their needs.

Re:Sad day for food freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287204)

I don't understand it, therefore it's bad. Just like vaccines! I hear they're toxic.

Ludites (1)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287086)

Everything is genetically modified. It's called evolution. Large scale production of GM crops has been around for about 30 years and there's no evidence of any adverse affects in any of the data. This is like when Copernicus and Galileo said the Earth goes around the Sun, every body got freaked out. The irrational fear of science and discovery lives on in spite of facts.

Clearly you don't understand the problem w/GM food (2)

MrJones (4691) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287096)

Its not only about science, its about a company controlling the seeds and controlling the price market.

Subjects are farms. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287102)

A sympathetic farmer was quoted as saying, “They [the GM lobby] talk a lot about farmers, but we are never heard. This type of action strengthens us and seems like the only way forward for consumers and small producers who are independent of powerful interest groups like big agribusiness. “

Which amounts to small indie software studios saying: "The developers of that new hot 3D engine keep saying that they are doing it for the developers, but they never come around to my studio asking if I even want competition from better looking 3D accelerated games, or if I want to buy their engine. which I don't!. So we are going to raid there server-farm in a peaceful way, delete all their code an replace it with more developer friendly opensource code."

Farmers are a dying breed, and thank god for that, they all seem to be ignorant idiots who believe that it's the duty of politicians and pretty much the whole rest of society to make it profitable for them to make a living by inefficiently harvesting each of their individual little plots of lands. We are already throwing money at them like crazy to keep them happy, now they also want to stop all progress because some farmers are scaling up, and taking new measures to allow bigger better farms with lower overheads. So the small farmers collect to tear appart their fields.... Nice. I'm looking forward to the day when the lone farmer is just a bad memory.

Re:Subjects are farms. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287292)

Yeah all they're doing is supplying the world's food; why should they be compensated? Your analogy is great because food is a luxury, just like videogames. Who cares if they are happy? Let them get a different job if they don't like it! The food will undoubtedly make itself. Your hostility is well-placed.

60 police officers? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287118)

Since when did the police start actively guarding privatized scientific research? Or was this done using only public lands and public funds.. the article seems a bit sketchy on this point.

I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287242)

If these same people also piss and moan about the starving people around the world. Without GMO produce many many more people would be starving. Do you think we could feed 6 billion+ people with all natural foods? Think again.

Antispud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36287244)

Well, it's not like the potato blight is serious or anything [wikimedia.org].

Let's ship all the diseased potatoes to them.

Genetically Modified Dandelions.... (1)

SIR_Taco (467460) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287274)

I have hundreds of genetically modified dandelions on my unprotected yard.... where are the activists when you need them?!

Stopping Science = Stopping Thought. GL,HF (5, Insightful)

melchoir55 (218842) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287286)

You can QQ about the moral implications of scientific progress all you like, but you won't be stopping it. Don't like stem cell research because it is an affront to God? Don't like genetics research because it isn't natural? Tough tiddly winks. It takes one researcher spending time on a subject, doing it right, and publishing their results. There is no stopping science.

If you are so terrified of a universe humans understand, shed the hypocrisy. Shut off your computer and all your lights. Refuse antibiotics next time you have a major infection. Reject models like the heliocentric solar system, gravity, electromagnetism, and all the rest.

Having a powerful model for genetics has the potential to outshine all the theories mentioned above in practical use for human life. It will doubtless be necessary if ever we get off our asses and go to the stars.

Hard to take these people seriously (1)

Elviswind (1959800) | more than 2 years ago | (#36287304)

Aren't most vegetables and fruits that are grown today the result of genetic modifications, i.e. selective cross-pollination to promote beneficial qualities and mutations. I can't take these people seriously without ignoring 10,000 years of human agricultural practices. I understand and appreciate the people are concerned about long-term health effects, but anytime someone makes an argument based on some arbitrary limit, as in this is good and then you cross the line and now it's bad, I can't take them as seriously as I possibly should.

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