Published on
The Hindu

When Veggies 'Committed Suicide' to Spread a Message

Greenpeace activists protest against genetic modification of food crops

The Hindu Staff Reporters

BANGALORE, India - "Genetic modification of food crops can be disastrous."

0629 09To spread this message of impending danger, Greenpeace chose the "suicide" route.

The victims, for a change, were not farmers, but vegetables, hordes of tomatoes, corn, potatoes, brinjals and lady's fingers. Committing "mass suicide", the vegetables had left a "suicide note" against the Government's imminent decision to approve large-scale open air field trials for genetically modified (GM) food crops.


Support Our People-Powered Media Model Today

If you believe the survival of independent media is vital to a healthy democracy, please step forward with a donation to nonprofit Common Dreams today:

The symbolic suicide was followed by a "funeral". Greenpeace activists carried the "dead body" of a "martyr corn" in a hearse from the Mahatma Gandhi statue to a supermarket on M.G. Road. The activists then gathered to distribute the "Sabji Times," the vegetable bulletin that chronicled the disaster. "The approval of the field trials would mean that our food is one step closer to being dangerously unsafe. The health of citizens and the environment of this country are at risk," said Divya Raghunandan, GE campaigner from Greenpeace.

She says: "We have recorded cross pollination, genetic contamination and even mixing up of GM test crops over the past few years and demanded that regulatory procedures be overhauled. We have weak and poor laws and even worse implementation, and the open air field trials, if permitted, is likely to end up in the plates of unsuspecting consumers." Last year, Indian agricultural exporters had opposed the field trials of GM rice because consumers in Europe and the West Asia rejected GM food for safety reasons. The rationale behind the symbolic vegetable suicide was clear.

As Ms. Raghunandan put it: "Consumers in India do not have to be passive guinea pigs in this large-scale experimentation taking place at their expense. We have a right to choose what we eat and must demand from our Government and food corporations an emphatic statement that our favorite brands are free of GM contamination."

© Copyright 2007 The Hindu

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news outlet. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Share This Article

More in: