Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938


By Simon Grose

Is this green warrior tribe a vulnerable species?

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Three Greenpeace activists earned righteous opprobrium after they whippersnipped a plot of genetically modified wheat seedlings in one of CSIRO’s Canberra research stations.

The President of the Academy of Science, Professor Suzanne Cory, called it an act of mindless vandalism against science. A few weeks after launching a Respect the Science campaign, Science & Technology Australia said the action showed appalling disrespect to the work of scientists.

In not all of their campaigns do Greenpeace and other environmental groups deny the scientific consensus, as they do in the case of GM crops and their regulation.

The CSIRO plot was one part of a total of eleven Australian GM wheat trials approved by the Gene Technology Regulator since 2005. None involve strains that have been modified for herbicide resistance, the blackest bête noire for anti-GMsters. The wheat in the Canberra trial had been modified to lower the glycaemic index in the grain and increase its fibre content.

The plants that were destroyed were nowhere near setting grain, yet their destroyers got kitted up as if they were handling live Hendra virus and arranged “a decontamination area to safely dispose of the untested and potentially unstable GM organisms”.

Another stunt in the classic Greenpeace mode: intrepid trespass and minor lawbreaking designed to gain media...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Simon Grose is a Director of Science Media (