Heroic Farmer Defies Anti-Biotech Crop Ban in Wales


The Guardian is reporting that Welsh farmer and agronomist Jonathan Harrington secretly imported and planted genetically enhanced varieties of corn (maize) at his farm in Wales. He also fed the silage made from the corn to cattle and sheep which he then sold. Why did he do it?

An unrepentant Harrington said he had resorted to the secret planting after the Welsh assembly, which voted unanimously for GM-free status in 2000, refused to have any meaningful discussions over its policy. He said: "Out of frustration I went and bought some varieties of maize bred to be resistant to a pest called the European corn borer and which are grown widely in Spain, France, Germany and the Czech Republic."

The varieties he chose were on the EU common variety list, and as such it is legal to grow them anywhere in Europe.

The Welsh assembly admitted that despite its policy, which has otherwise been strictly adhered to throughout the principality, it has no actual legal power to ban GM crops in Wales.

Naturally, anti-biotech activists are livid. Brian John, an activist from GM Free Cymru told the Guardian:

"To plant it, then deliberately push it into the food chain is absolutely insane."

Actually, what's "absolutely insane" is unscientific opposition to biotech crops. 

If anti-biotech activists can claim that invading farms to tear up biotech crops are acts of civil disobedience, then surely farmers like Harrington can justify planting biotech crops as acts of civil disobedience. The difference is that Harrington has science on his side.