An article at the Nature website reports that in Switzerland you are no longer allowed to offend the "dignity of plants". The article reports that
All plant biotechnology grant applications must now include a paragraph explaining the extent to which plant dignity is considered.There would be a problem if, for example,
... genetic modification caused plants to 'lose their independence' — for example by interfering with their capacity to reproduce.The article also reports that this statement
... has confused plant geneticists, who point out the contrast with traditional plant-hybridization technologies, for example in roses, which require male sterility, and the commercial development of seedless fruits.I wonder what being cooked and eaten does for the "dignity of plants"? And how does mowing the lawn affect the dignity of grass?
A more serious issue here is how does such a law affect innovation based on any form of plant biotechnology. Its difficult to see the Swiss having much of a comparative advantage in plant biotechnology based industries with this kind of handicap. What damage could such a law do in an agriculture based economy like New Zealand?