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Dawn raid on GM research station

ian(content from hamish) | 29.06.2003 15:32 | Bio-technology | Ecology | Health | Technology | Oxford

During the early hours of Sunday morning, 29 June, almost sixty members of the public broke into the grounds of GM giant Syngenta's reasearch station at Jealott's Hill near Bracknell, Berkshire. They pulled up a 600 sq metre research plot of experimental wheat.

Syngenta had government consent to plant upto 35 by 20 metres of genetical modified wheat. In a press release, protesters claimed that if allowed to pollenate, it would have spread GM material into the surrounding countryside...

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

Date: Sunday 29 June 2003 Time: 8:30 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[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 trials2 [2].

One of the protesters Liz Snook commented

“It’s like wandering into an episode of the X files out there. Syngenta3 [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

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