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.
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,
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.
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
“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.
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
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