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Cayetano:Anti-biotech vandalism should bepunished

HONOLULU (AP) — Responding to reports of vandalism against Kauai biotechnology

facilities, Gov. Ben Cayetano said Tuesday that industry proponents must better

inform the public about the benefits of their research and development.

The

application of biotechnology to medicine, health care and the growth of food

will help feed the world’s hungry and likely lead to cures for deadly diseases,

he said.

The governor recently attended an international conference on

biotechnology and champions the industry as a possible new source of economic

growth for the islands.

Greater public knowledge and acceptance of

biotechnology will help curb the growing influence of anti-biotech activism

worldwide, Cayetano said.

Hawaii experienced its first case of anti-biotech

vandalism with the destruction of $8,000 worth of plants on Kauai.

The

experimental crops of corn, ‘awa, taro, pineapple and papaya were targeted at

two sites earlier this month by a group going by the name “The

Menehune.”

“Like any other crime, if the people who commit these acts are

caught, then they should be punished,” Cayetano said.

He believes many of

the activists are ignorant of the facts and are just trying to be part of the

latest “‘in’ thing” to do.

While it’s unlikely most anti-biotech activists

will change their minds, “I suspect if their lives were at stake and someone

explained to them that a medicine developed by biotech would save their lives,

they probably would have a different view on things,” Cayetano said.

A

statement issued by the Menehune on a Mainland Web site that reports

anti-biotech activities said “the biotechnology industry has quietly flooded

the land with genetically engineered crops.”

The anonymous group said it

didn’t know how successful the Kaua’i raids were.

“What is important is

that we acted on the information we had. We have no other choice. Along with

other methods, we must stop the genetic pollution of our homeland,” it

said.

On the Net:

Genetix Alert Press Office:

http://www.tao.ca/(tilde)ban/ar.htm

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