Recently, two plots of GMO sugar beets were destroyed in Jackson County, Oregon. These plots were managed by Swiss multinational biotech corporation Syngenta AG.
According to The Ashland Daily Tidings, “The FBI is calling the destruction of two crops of genetically engineered sugar beets in Jackson County ‘economic sabotage’ that could lead to charges of domestic terrorism, depending on the outcome of the investigation.
About 6,500 sugar beets were destroyed in the clandestine acts of vandalism, which occurred overnight on June 8 and 11 at two separate fields. One of the fields is in the 1400 block of Tolman Creek Road, where less-than-a-quarter-acre-sized crop of sugar beets grown for their seeds still lay dead from being uprooted. Two FBI agents who were attempting to contact the landowners Thursday confirmed the crop had been vandalized.”
In 2012, GMO Free Jackson County reported the Swiss biotech company had been contracting with local farmers to grow GMO sugar beets. “Concerned that pollen from these genetically engineered crops would contaminate non-GMO crops in the area, several citizens stepped forward to address the situation.
Finding no recourse after contacting numerous governmental agencies, they drafted a petition to ban the growing of GMO crops in Jackson county.” After collecting over 6700 signatures, the petition was qualified and will appear on the May 20, 2014 ballot as Measure 15-119.
Chris Hardy, a founding member of GMO-Free Jackson County, condemned the acts of vandalism. The organization’s website displayed the following:
From the beginning, GMO Free Jackson County has advocated only lawful means of addressing the GMO issue. We remain firm in that commitment.
We encourage everyone opposed to GMO crops to become involved in the public process of supporting the passage of Measure 15-119 that will ban GMO crops in Jackson County.
We encourage people to contact the Jackson County commissioners and ask them to place a moratorium on GMO crops.
We encourage people to boycott GMO products.
We encourage people to educate themselves on the issues and to distinguish truth from rhetoric.
We encourage meaningful dialog with farmers, community leaders and citizens alike.
GMO Free Jackson County is here to support these processes in a respectful and legal manner.
Those interested in learning more about the concerns surrounding GMO crops, are invited to attend a public forum at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, in the Medford library’s main conference room. The event is hosted by the Jackson County Democratic Party, and will feature a panel of doctors, microbiologists, farmers and activists that will touch on the scientific, health, legal and economic issues surrounding GMOs. A question-and-answer session will follow the panel discussion.