Letter: We are GM's guinea pigs

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LORD MELCHETT's defence of Greenpeace's attitude to illegal protest, "direct action", won't wash. Direct action is acceptable where, as in the case of the suffragettes, the group protesting is disenfranchised. Greenpeace does not qualify, for although Lord Melchett may not have the vote, most of the rest of his volunteers do, as do the people Greenpeace claims to represent. Greenpeace is not against legislation. On the contrary, it would like to see laws protecting the environment enacted. It simply hypocritically reserves the right to break the laws it doesn't like, even where democratic avenues are open.

Lord Melchett's excuse, that ten years of legal opposition to GM crops have brought nothing, is invalid. A democrat understands that a history of legal defeat does not justify illegal activity. Those who favour direct action should remember that the law is here to protect us all, that this protection is only bought by sacrificing some self-interest. If we allow the general lesson to be learnt that illegal direct action pays, some very unpleasant groups will learn it all too well.

STEPHEN SENN

Harpenden, Hertfordshire

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