Greenpeace sign
Greenpeace is the center of a police investigation in Australia. Image: GuenterHH/Flickr/CC BY-ND

The Sydney, Australia, Greenpeace office was shut down by police today. Last week, Greenpeace activists destroyed a crop of genetically engineered wheat at a government-run experimental farm.

Greenpeace office raided

The Sydney office of the environmental activist group Greenpeace was shut down by the police Thursday. The action came in response to a Greenpeace attack last week on a government-run experimental farm. According to Canberra police, “an amount of property was seized as evidence.” Canberra is the capital of the nation and the location of the vandalized experimental farm.

Farm developing a new strain of wheat

The farm was attempting to develop a new strain of wheat with a lower-than-normal glycemic index. Last Thursday, Greenpeace activists scaled the fence and descended on the lab in mock hazard suits. They destroyed the wheat crop with hedge cutters.

Greenpeace justifies its action

Greenpeace activists said they carried out the raid because of concerns over the farm’s secrecy, and they warned of the public health risk of cross-contamination. The Sydney head of Greenpeace campaigns, Steve Campbell, said Greenpeace is cooperating with police in their investigation. He also said, however, that Greenpeace would not cease campaigning to bring awareness to genetically modified wheat in Australia. “It’s a really important issue for Australia, for our environment, for our future,” said Campbell.

Scientists appalled

Many in the scientific community are appalled that Greenpeace has taken action before determining whether the modified wheat is dangerous. Some now view the group as an anti-science coalition.  Scientist Tim Lambert said in his blog, Deltoid, “How are scientists supposed to discover whether it is safe to eat if you destroy experiments that would address that question?”

Greenpeace began in 1971

Greenpeace is a worldwide environmental activists group founded in a 1971 campaign to stop the U.S. from testing nuclear weapons off the coast of Alaska.The group’s mission statement reads: “Greenpeace is the leading independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and to promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.”


Associated Press:

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