Last year, Australian bureaucrats facilitated the destruction of a priceless, irreplaceable, scientific collection of plant materials on loan to their country's scientists from France. Apparently the actual destruction was carried out by an "external contractor", but that in no way absolves the bureaucracy.
Jeanson had received a message from the director of the Queensland Herbarium in Australia that was abrupt to the point of being blunt. It told him that a package of 105 botanical specimens of Australian plants owned by the Jardin des Plantes – and gathered by an intrepid French botanist more than 200 years earlier – had been destroyed by Australian biosecurity officials.
To this day, Jeanson can't quite believe what happened, and nor can scientists and museum directors from around the world who have followed the story with horror.
The specimens were both priceless and irreplaceable. How could anyone, let alone government officials, incinerate such artefacts? It was simply beyond Jeanson's comprehension. It remains so, even after post-mortems and investigations conducted in both countries, by scientists and bureaucrats, after diplomats stepped in and compensation negotiations were undertaken.
The specimens destroyed were part of the catalog of the world's plants and were a part of a base for pharmacy, agriculture, and any kind of science based on plants.
Source : 'Would you burn the Mona Lisa if it was sent?': Our horror bureaucratic bungle [smh.com.au]