Eco-Terrorism? Hawaii Vandals Hit Modified Papayas

Farmers suspect opponents of genetically altered crops

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 20, 2011 3:36 PM CDT

(Newser) – Hawaii papaya growers think they're the victim of eco-terrorism. Vandals cut down thousands of papaya trees, and farmers suspect that opponents of genetically modified crops are to blame, reports the AP via the Sydney Morning Herald. Most of the papayas grown on the Big Island are modified to protect against a virus that wiped out production in the 1950s.

"We wouldn't have a papaya industry today if it weren't for the transgenic papaya," says the chief of the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association. "Without a transgenic papaya restricting the expansion of the virus, that virus would be prevalent today." An industry group is offering a $10,000 reward.

Vandalized papaya trees are seen in in Pahoa, Hawaii.   (AP photo/Hawaii Papaya Industry Association)
Vandalized papaya trees are seen in in Pahoa, Hawaii.   (AP photo/Hawaii Papaya Industry Association)
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