A court in Orleans, France, has acquitted 49 people for having destroyed genetically modified crops in 2004 and 2005. The acquittal is the first of its kind, and although the plaintiff, American seeds giant Monsanto, is to appeal against the decision, the anti-GMO lobby is claiming the ruling is a great victory. Protestor Francois Dufour said: “There should be no GMO’s in our fields, and the ruling confirms this. It encourages us to continue to influence the political debate and eliminate GMO’s from agriculture,” he said after the verdict.The judges said the protesters “proved that they committed voluntary acts of damage on the goods of a third party in response to the needs of the situation … a necessity driven by the uncontrolled release of modified genes that constitutes a real and present danger, and may be a source of undesired contamination and pollution”. The protesters also claim France’s position is illegal, as EU legislation has been incorrectly copied into French statutes, ignoring Brussels’ demand that” detailed and accurate environmental risks” must be evaluated.