One man at least wasn't waiting for the public protest against genetically modified wheat in Rothamsted. According to mainstream news sources Hector Christie scaled the fence on Sunday morning and caused 'significant random damage'. He was arrested, charged with criminal damage and bailed until July 13th.
Take the Flour back, the main pressure group opposing the trial denied having any warning of Hector's solo mission but said “we are relieved that the quantity of GM pollen released by the wheat has been reduced” The group still intends do go ahead with Sunday's decontamination.
Meet Rothamsted Park, Harpenden, Herts (30 mins from London by train) 12 noon on 27th May.
At 1.30 a walk will be taken to the field.
The wheat being trialled by Rothamsted agricultural research establishment incorporates two chemically synthesised genes and is designed to put off aphids by emitting pheremones. The two genes that will pull off this wizardry are apparently a) “similar to that found in peppermint…” and more bizarrely b) have “most similarity to [one] from a cow…”. This is the first synthetic copy of an animal gene to be used in such a way and as such represent s a very wild stab in the dark.Open air trials carry massive risks of cross contamination and hybridization.
The trial itself is being funded by the government’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, to the tune of £1m – they've said they're determined to “complete the field trial successfully.”
Meanwhile for light relief, National Farmers Union president, Peter Kendall, took the opportunity to invoke Godwin's_law and compared Hector's actions to those of the Third Reich, because of course a bit of premature wheat harvesting can only lead directly to a mechanized war of racial annihilation.