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Scientists quit UK amid GM attacks

Times Higher Education Supplement | 18.10.2003 11:03 | Bio-technology | Ecology | World

The cost of attacks against genetically modified crop trials emerged this week as more British plant scientists left the country to pursue their work abroad unmolested.

Institutes say attacks damage staff morale. Many researchers feel there is no future for them in the UK. The plant science department at the Univ. of Cambridge islosing three scientists, two of them to Australia.
...head of plant scient at Cambridge is moving to Adelaide in search of a safer environment and better funding. He said "Industry has left indroves and that reduces the options for researchers and students."
28 incidents of vandalism at basic plant research trials were reported between Jan 1999 and April 2003, according to preliminary findings conducted by the indpendent trust Sense about Science. These are in addition to 52 incidents reported against the government's field-scale evaluations programme...
Protesters trampled, cut and pulled up crops, according to reports...
Basic research trials have proved particularly vulnerable..."You can destroy a small-scale trial with a pair of garden shears".
In 90% of such cases, research was written off...
Chris Leaver, head of plant sciences at the Univ. of Oxford, has been the victim of personal threats as a result of taking part inthe GM debate...abusive phone calls and faxes.
..Chief Executive of Horticulture Research International said the vilification of research in this area was grinding scientists down...."You do wonder if you are raising your blood pressure for no good at all" (he) said.
The survey found institute directors were becoming ambivalent about debating the issues in teh media as they felt past attempts had made them targets.

Times Higher Education Supplement


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  1. real vandals are corporate — watcher