The land was leased by Syngenta who had planted sugar beets that were resistant to the Roundup herbicide. The crop destruction took place over the course of two separate nights in early June, when an unknown individual or group destroyed about 6,500 sugar beet plants.
“It doesn’t look like a vehicle was used. It looks like people entered the field and destroyed the plants by hand,” said Paul Minehart, head of corporate communications in North America for Syngenta, a global agriculture corporation based in Basel, Switzerland.
“To my knowledge, this is the first time someone has deliberately taken the cowardly step of uprooting high value plants growing in our state. Regardless of how one feels about biotechnology, there is no justification for committing these crimes and it is not the kind of behavior we expect to see in Oregon agriculture,” Coba said.
Foes of genetic engineering also struck in 2000, when members of the Earth Liberation Front, with roots in Oregon, set fire to agriculture offices at Michigan State University. ELF’s position was that genetic engineering was “one of the many threats to the natural world as we know it.”