Maureen Rouhi’s Editor’s Page describes the destruction of a field of Golden Rice in the Philippines, but the protesters were not “farmers, students, consumers, and people from the church” (C&EN, Aug. 26, page 3). As the Philippines Department of Agriculture and reputable media have reported, there were only maybe two or three farmers among the protesters. The rest were, as a manager of the rice project states, “city boys, city girls,” for whom it was apparent that “this was the first time they had stepped in mud or been to a farm.”
This was not an isolated incident: On July 14, 2011, in Australia, Greenpeace protesters destroyed a field of wheat genetically modified to have more fiber and a lower glycemic index.
No matter how hard we try to educate the public about genetically modified crops, there will always be people for whom no possible evidence, no possible argument, can change their minds regarding perceived risks. They suffer from a disease of the intellect known as invincible ignorance. As long as genetically modified crops are grown, there will be people eager to destroy them.
I propose the formation of a nonprofit organization that would offer bounties for apprehending the perpetrators of these acts of vandalism—of course, not for protests or opinions. The organization might also hire guards for the fields in question.
Howard J. Wilk