Scion’s Warren Parker on GM pine attack

In his monthly column for the Daily Post, Scion CEO Warren Parker addresses some of the “groundless” claims of anti-GE activists in the wake of last month’s vandalism of a Scion plantation of GM pines near Rotorua.

An excerpt (read in full here):

Comment: Vandals won’t stop GM research

Warren Parker

The destruction of 375 pine seedlings in Scion’s genetic modification (GM) field trial, under containment, at the end of the Easter break generated national interest.

Except for GE Free NZ, very little sympathy or support was subsequently expressed for those who put themselves above the law. The police are continuing their investigations and Scion will be continuing the research.

Forest industry leaders unanimously condemned the vandalism and strongly reiterated their support for the research. For Rotorua’s sake, it is important investors and top scientists continue to have confidence that leading-edge research can be safely and securely conducted here.

GE Free NZ’s post-break-in claims about the trial are groundless. They include:

This is a biosecurity risk

It is not. The trial was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency following rigorous review of all aspects of the science – including submissions from opponents of GM – and an assessment of the benefits and risks. The trial is monitored by the now Ministry for Primary Industries.

Neither agency would sanction research posing unacceptable risk to New Zealand’s prized biosecurity status and, as a responsible research organisation, Scion would not undertake research that did. In carrying out the research, Scion must follow strict controls and Ministry for Primary Industries staff regularly monitor Scion’s compliance to these.

Continue reading…