The tide turns against Greenpeace
In a nutshell: Greenpeace activists are loudly opposed to genetically engineered food and are opposed even to testing the food to see if it's safe. And Greenpeace members have been destroying GM crops in England.
Greenpeace anti-GM food activists may well have done the organisation's reputation irreparable damage. In place of the pious deference shown by the British Press to the movement's every word on biotechnology, a consensus is now growing that the mindless vandalism of recent weeks has gone too far.
It is not, of course, just the lunatic fringe of Greenpeace that has been hauled before the magistrates to answer charges of criminal damage. The organisation's executive director, Peter Melchett also felt entitled to take the law into his own hands by helping to destroy GM maize on a farm in Norfolk, and was forced to delay a foreign holiday as a result until bail was agreed.
If these were just rather eccentric activities, quite characteristic of the English upper classes of which the 4th Baron Melchett is so much a part, then they might be forgiven. But preventing the course of genuine scientific enquiry, which aims to answer the very questions that Greenpeace poses regarding the safety of GM crops, is both mindless and undemocratic. So much so, that another member of England's green aristocracy, the Honourable Sir Jonathan Porritt, Baronet and ex-director of Greenpeace allies Friends of the Earth, condemned the destruction of experimental crops. Friends of the Earth themselves, however, were remarkably silent on the issue, but Helen Browning, chair of the Soil Association which sets standards for organic foods, opined that breaking the law was unjustified.