Dawn raid on GM research station (1/7/2003)

from Rowan Tilly <[email protected]>
Media Report
Publication: www.indymedia.org.uk
Title: Dawn Raid on GM research station, Bracknell
Page: See web address at http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2003/06/273395.html
Comment: Posted press release, see below
Date: Sunday 29 June 2003
Time: 10:00 a.m.


During the early hours of Sunday morning, 29 June, sixty members of the public entered the grounds of Syngenta's Jealott's Hill Research Centre near Bracknell, Berkshire and decontaminated a Research and Development trial of Genetically Modified Wheat[1] by pulling up the 35 by 40 meter plot.

The group of people, from all around the country, had to evade a 6ft barbed wire fences and constant security to make the site safe. They were not challenged by security or police. The crop was just about to pollinate and spread GM material into the surrounding countryside. This decontamination is the culmination of a series of co-ordinated actions which have removed all 10 of this year's National Seed Listing trials[2].

One of the protesters Liz Snook commented  "It's like wandering into an episode of the X files out there. Syngenta[3] are using our land as a laboratory, despite the courts repeatedly upholding the position that these crops are a very real threat to property and the environment."

The action took place against the backdrop of the government's GM Public Debate, which has widely been dismissed as meaningless.

"The government claims it wants a debate on whether to grow GM crops in this country, but by allowing outdoor trials to take place, it is presenting us with a fait accompli. The public has said a resounding 'No!' to GM crops but the government isn't listening. Taking direct action to decontaminate trials ourselves is the only way we can stop GM before it's too late"  said Pipa  Gallop, another of the protestors.


Picture Editors Notes
Freelance video footage of the action is available from: Hamish Campbell 07931 165 452. Freelance photos are available from: Ben Leary 07956 334 831

Editors Notes

[1] The wheat is modified to be resistant to fusarium fungal diseases . GM wheat is proving to be the most controversial GM crop so far in the US and Canada, with consumers, farmers' unions and large processing companies saying that they will not use it. It would be the first GM crop to be eaten in large quantities by humans, and any problems with it would therefore be particularly serious.

[2] National Seed Listing trials must be carried out for every plant variety which will be supplied commercially in the UK. They test for Distinctiveness, Uniformity and Stability (DUV) and Value for Cultivation and Use (VCU) but not safety, and represent a source of genetic contamination in themselves. These actions have delayed commercialisation of certain varieties as well as preventing contamination.

[3] Syngenta is one of the main companies promoting GM crops In Britain, along with Bayer and Monsanto. It is the world's largest agro-chemical company and has produced such toxic pesticides as paraquat. More information on Syngenta can be found at www.corporatewatch.org.uk/profiles/syngenta/syngenta1.htm

National Newspaper reporting Monday 30 June
Publication: Guardian
Title: Protestors wreck GM crop
Page: 7
Comment: News in Brief item

Publication: Times
Title: Protestors strip off against GM crops
Page: 6
Comment: Report of GM wheat trial destruction second part of article
about naked protest in Sussex for 'No GM'

Publication: Morning Star
Title: Anti-GM crop protestors destroy entire field of wheat
Page: 6
Comment: Almost verbatim copy of press release

Published on Sunday 29 June
Aaron deGrassis's "Genetically Modified Crops and Sustainable Poverty Alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Assessment of Current Evidence" Download the full report:
Read the press release:
For the section on the biotech industry's PR use of Africa:

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