San Diego’s anti-biotech protesters have certainly given us a dose of low comedy this week. On one street corner, animal-rights zealots from PETA were turning a Burger King lunch counter into a soap-box; a few blocks away, the misguided Greenpeace DNA purity squad slapped “HAZARDOUS” stickers on grocery shelf items suspected of harboring genetic improvements.
Beneath these surface distractions, though, beats a more sinister heart: an anti-corporate, anti-free-market, anti-American sentiment that motivates easily-led college kids to risk arrest while dressed as ears of corn. “The real violence being done here,” a protest spokesman told the San Francisco Chronicle, “is being done every day by these corporations up in their ivory towers.” The same mouthpiece told the Washington Post that biotech advances were unnecessary because “[w]e have enough food. We have enough medicine.” Speaking about a vitamin-A-enhanced biotech rice crop that holds the promise of health benefits for millions, another protest organizer told the Associated Press: “The purported benefits of golden rice are totally fabricated. The way to cure blindness and hunger should not come from big agribusiness.”