August 29, 2007

Greenpeace Stunt Backfires

(Bangkok, Thailand) Last April, the Thai government passed a law banning open-field trials of genetically-modified (GM) crops. Greenpeace was elated.

Recently, it was reported that the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry was going to seek cabinet approval for a lifting of the ban on open-field trials of transgenic crops. Assuredly, Greenpeace was not amused and reacted by dumping tons of papayas at the entrance to the ministry.

Three truck loads of transgenic papayas sent the message to the ministry that Greenpeace wanted the ban to continue. It was believed that public and political support to keep the ban would follow the papaya protest. But it wasn't to be.

Passers-by and onlookers formed a flood of people grabbing up papayas.

[A]fter the dumping, people flocked to load up on the free papayas, ignoring the environmental organisation's campaign against the dangers of GM fruit -- a message Greenpeace has been trying to get through to the government and the public for years.

Many passers-by, who mostly knew nothing about transgenic fruit, said they did not care about any health risks. They were just thinking about how hungry they were.

"I don't care if they're dangerous," said papaya salad seller Gig Krueyat, 70. "I don't know what the threat is ... nothing serious, I think ..."

Mrs Gig helped herself to three sacks of the fruit in minutes. Others, including some ministry officials and Rasi Salai dam protesters from Sri Sa Ket province who were camped near the ministry, also did not let the opportunity slip by.

A man waiting in traffic for the lights to go green near the ministry, leapt out of his car and joined the feast.

"I'm not scared of GM papayas. Rather, I'm scared I won't have any to eat," said Ubon Ratchathani villager Ampon Tantima, 31, before rushing back to his car with the free fruit.

Heh. Even ministry officials rushed out to get some papayas. And, although unconfirmed, there's a report that one person asked for mangoes next time.

By at 06:51 AM | Comments |