GM test crop destroyed

A group of around 35 masked intruders have destroyed genetically modified wheat being tested by researchers near Zurich.

This content was published on June 13, 2008 minutes

The group used wire cutters to get through the gate into the field at the federal agricultural research station in Affoltern where the tests are being carried out.

In the course of their attack early on Friday morning they threatened three employees of the station with violence if they tried to stop them.

According to the research station's spokeswoman Denise Tschamper, members of the group then trampled the GM wheat plants or cut them down before escaping.

While the extent of the damage is still being evaluated, there is no risk of GM seeds being spread elsewhere as the plants were not sufficiently developed, researchers said.

The police were called immediately and soon afterwards arrested five people, two men and three women, who were found near the research station. They were aged between 29 and 39 and all were Swiss.

The research station is conducting controversial GM field trials with Zurich's Federal Institute of Technology and Zurich University as part of a national research programme.

The results of the programme will be used to make informed decisions about whether GM plants should be permitted in Swiss agriculture or not.

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