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Cows greet sainsburys shareholders

cowfun | 12.07.2004 11:18 | Bio-technology | Ecology | Health | London

Anti-GM campaigners dressed as cows leafleted shareholders entering the Sainsburys AGM taking place at the QEII conference centre in London today.

Anti-GM campaigners dressed as cows leafleted shareholders entering the Sainsburys AGM taking place at the QEII conference centre in London today.

The protesters are part of a coalition of consumers and farmers angry at Sainsburys failure to fullfil their previous promises relating to the sale of animal products from animals fed with genetically modified animal feed.

On the 1st July, a nationally co-ordinated series of direct action resulted in the blockading of five of Sainsburys largest chilled food distribution centres and cost the company hundreds of thousands of pounds during each hour of the blockade.

Anti-GM campaigners say that GM animal feed is entering the human food chain against the wishes of the consumers and that the market for GM animal fed is supplying the biotech industry with a financial lifeline that should be snatched away.



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Questions asked about GM at the AGM

14.07.2004 13:43

The vast majority of shareholders at the AGM were understandably fixated on the bonus paid to their failed ex- director. This desended into something of a farce, as the board refused to comment on that issue, but as the leaflet being distributed by the cows pointed out- Mr Davis' bonus only cost them £2.4 million, the recent co-altion blockade of depots cost them around £3.9 million. Someone did raise this as one of the last questions asked, and enquired when Sainsburys intended to keep their promise and phase out GM feed.

They seem to have been anticipating an inquiry on the matter, as the response was quite in depth. It transpires that their new Chief Executive (a thrusting young thing who was playing heavily on a 'man of the people' retoric) said that part of his previous work had been to oversee the transfer to non GM fed dairy in Marks and Spencer. Despite the fact that this experience clearly proved that such a shift is possible, he maintained that 'it was a complex matter' and that 'Sainsburys is at the forfront of offering choice to the customer' (we've got orgainic, what are you winging about). He went on to highlight Sainsburys new range of non GM fed milk, being trialed in only 100 stores and at a tottally artificially inflated price of 5p extra a pint. This makes the milk only 3p less than organic and therefore tottally commercially unviable- which is of course the point: to let them off the hook by proving there's no market for non GM fed. The fact that their ordinary milk is not labelled as having come from cows fed GM feed meens that no real choice is takeing place- customers simply don't know what's going on.

Mr Justin King went on to say that the increase price for the non-GM fed milk was due to supply issues and the new labels and (wait for it) EXTRA MONEY TO FARMERS for the non GM fed milk. The woman who'd asked the question was just about heard to holler 'that's not true sir' but as the mike had been taken from her, only half of the hall would have heard. It is indeed a spectacular barefaced lie to claim that farmers are being given extra to cover the slightly increased cost of buying non- GM feed. Greenpeaces negotiations with Sainsburys indicate that non of the extra money is getting forwarded to struggling dairy farmers, which is one of the reasons why so many have been involved in recent protests against Sainsburys.

The good news is of though, that Mr King is a firm believer in listening to his customers and giving them what they want. He responds to all letters written to him and signs them personally. So if you want to try and get a straight answer out of him about when Sainsburys are going to keep their promise and phase out GM feed, please write to:

Justin King
Group Chief Executive
J Sainsburys PLC
33 Holborn

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