Over the course of two nights, 6,500 genetically modified sugar beet plants were destroyed by an unknown group who set fire to the plants located in two large plots in Jackson County, Oregon, owned by Swiss GMO company Syngenta.
According to Syngenta’s North American Head of Communications, Paul Minehart “It doesn’t look like a vehicle was used. It looks like people entered the field and destroyed the plants by hand.”
The FBI have been called in to investigate considering the destruction of the sugar beet as ‘economic sabotage and a violation of federal law involving damage to commercial agricultural enterprises.’
The first night of destruction was on the 8th June when around 1000 of the plants were destroyed, and 5,500 plants destroyed three nights later.
According to Syngenta, the genetically modified sugar beet accounts for half of the USA’s sugar supply, and represents about 95% of the sugar beet market.
A group which claims to be a grass-roots coalition for the protection of Oregon’s natural resource based businesses, Oregonians for Food and Shelter, have offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the prosecution of those who destroyed the crops. So far no one has claimed responsibility for the damage.