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Direct Action stops crop trials

steve | 30.09.2003 14:58 | Bio-technology | Ecology | Sheffield

Bayer CropScience say they are stopping GM field trial because of direct action.

Logo showing a crop puller in the Daily Mail
Logo showing a crop puller in the Daily Mail

Just less than 2 months ago anti-GM activists at the Earth First Summer gathering decided to target the company company Bayer Crop Science - previously known as Aventis. Several actions have already been carried out but before the campaign has even had a chance to get going Bayer CropScience have announced that they now intend to stop testing crops in this country.

The decision is no doubt due to a combination of factors including the recent Government Survey where 86 percent of respondents said they would not eat GM and 95% were concerned that GM crops would contaminate non-GM and organic crops.

But Bayer made clear that direct action played a major role in their decision. Dr Julien Little of Bayer CropScience said: "We spend a lot of money doing trials on oil-seed rape. But if we are not going to get anything out of them because they are wrecked there is little point so this year we will not be doing any."

Bayer had asked the government to allow vaguer descriptions of test sites so that they could not be found and trashed by activists. But the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) vetoed the proposal.

A DEFRA spokesman said: "Margret Beckett did consider Bayer's request carefully but it was judged an unacceptable change to the status quo on the grounds that we should be as open as possible on the subject."

Bayer are obviously not against GM food and have said that they will restart crop trials if conditions become "more favourable". In other words their announcement could be seen as an attempt to manipulate the Government into overturning the DEFRA veto so that it will be more difficult for activists to find fields GM crops.

According to the Daily Mail "the only multinational crop research centre remaining in the UK is Jealott's Hill, near Bracknell, Berkshire, which is owned by Swiss-based company Syngenta." The Mail goes on to say that "activists have prevented it from doing any field trials for two years.

But pressure against GM is continues. On October 1st Scottish activist Jonny Barton will set off from Inverness by bicycle to join other cyclists and tractors at an anti-GM rally in London on the Monday 13th.

He will be arriving on Thursday 9th October in Sheffield - one of eleven stop off places on route. Sheffield Against Genetic Engineering (SAGE) will be organising a reception, including a bike convoy escort in the late afternoon and maybe a rally in town. Watch this space for details.

QUOTES taken from an article in the yesterday's Daily Mail 29/09/03 - an unlikely source of anti-GM information under their campaign title "Frankenstein Food Watch".

For more on Bayer see:



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