The coming dark age: Italian prosecutors have ordered that all efforts to halt the spread of a deadly disease that attacks olive plants cease while they investigate scientists who study the disease.
Under European Union rules, Italy is obliged to carry out a scientifically based containment plan to stop the disease from spreading to other EU countries. In addition to culling infected trees, this plan involves destroying healthy trees to create buffer zones. But farmers, supported by environmental activists who deplored the destruction of ancient trees, have protested against its implementation. Individual court rulings have found in their favour, stopping tree felling and the spraying of insecticide on their land.
On 10 December, just over a week before Italian public prosecutors announced their investigation, the European Commission opened an infringement procedure over Italy’s failure to carry out containment measures quickly enough. Commission spokesman Enrico Brivio says that he does not know what will happen now that Italian courts have blocked the entire containment plan. “Xylella in all its strains is the most dangerous pathogen for plants, and epidemics have huge economic impact,” he says. “The emergency measures are necessary and need to be implemented.”
The article also notes that the disease can only have come from Costa Rica, which is an area that none of the scientists under investigation have ever worked.
Let me sum up: Environmentalists, hostile to the killing of “ancient trees”, have worked to block any effort to stop the disease, which can now run rampant killing “ancient trees.” Prosecutors, searching for blame, have teamed up with the environmentalists to attack the scientists studying the disease, making sure that any effort to either cure the disease or stop its spread will be discouraged now and in the future.
Maybe the prosecutors and environmentalists should get some torches and pitchforks and burn the scientists at the stake. That will surely solve the problem!