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UK Bio-technology Feature Archive

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Take the flour back

10-06-2012 19:49

On 27th May at Rothamsted, Harpenden, Hertsfordshire, more than 400 growers, bakers and families from across England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Belgium marched against the return of open air GM field testing. Take the Flour Back linked arms with their European counterparts, notably France’s Volunteer Reapers and walked calmly towards the field of GM wheat before being stopped by police lines.

From the newswire: European activists link up to draw the line against GM| Final details| Take the Flour Back defend Direct Action on Newsnight| Open letter to Rothamsted| What is food sovereignty| Pull up the GM wheat, or we will, say growers| Meet-up point announced| Callout


From SchNEWS: If we stay there will be stubble|One man assault on GM crop trial in Hertfordshire|Flour to the people

Links: Take the flour back

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Oxford February/March Bumper Double Roundup

14-04-2011 10:29

Volunteer doctors - Lansley might just feel a small prick

This February and March double roundup of grassroots news in Oxford begins with the anti-cuts movement. Back in February there was a March against the cuts, then in March, Cornmarket turned into the Big Society Hospital. A week later the big TUC march bought London to a standstill, one Oxfordian wrote My march for the alternative about the day. Please do share your experiences of demos at publish your news by the way! Not to be outdone both Swindon and Stroud were also organising against the cuts.


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SchNEWS 731 - GM: Against the Grain

15-07-2010 21:51

This week sees GM firmly back in the spotlight. On Wednesday the EU took a huge step in pushing forward the genetic modification agenda by copping out of regulation and putting the decision on whether to GM grow or not back into the hands of national governments. The European Commission approved changes to the rules which may break the deadlock that has prevented any significant cultivation of GM crops in Europe. What does this mean for GM production in the UK and other nation-states? And where does this leave the resistance movement?

On the Newswire: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

In SchNEWS: 622 | 583 | 346 | 319

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SchNEWS 717: Counter Strike

10-04-2010 12:16


Roll up, roll up, one and all for the ‘Counter Terror’ Expo 2010. Kicking off at London’s Kensington Olympia on April 14th, the two day event will showcase the surveillance and ‘security’ technologies of 250 companies hoping for a slice of the paranoia dollar. Also on the Big Brother bandwagon are NATO, the MoD and other representative associations from the police, military and private security industry. There are several good reasons to show up at 12pm, Wednesday 14th April (at Olympia Way W14) and counter the terror expo.

Action Reports: 1 | 2
Other Sites: Disarm DSEi | Corporate Watch | Counter Terror Expo homepage

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Nepalese monkeys saved from vivisection

03-09-2009 19:14

After a global campaign that lasted for six years, the Nepal government has decided to definitely halt the breeding of monkeys for biomedical research in the USA. A letter from the Ministry of Forestry will be sent to Pravesh Man Shrestha, who has been breeding monkeys for the past five years, asking him to release the 310 rhesus monkeys back into the wild. Last year Shrestha planned to sell 25 of the 300 monkeys to the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research Center, but following a temporary court injunction, the Nepalese Parliament banned the export.

The Nepalese government repeatedly claimed on numerous occasions that the monkey farms don't exist, that any monkey farms are illegal and that Nepal doesn't have a policy of breeding monkeys for export to American vivisection laboratories. This was later proven to be all lies when the farms were exposed in August 2008 (Photos | Video | Report).

Newswire: Victory! Nepalese monkeys saved from vivisection | Gateway To Hell Campaign Update | Nepalese Parliament Orders End To Monkey Exports | Situation Update Nepal -- G2H Demands Justice for the Monkeys | Week of action for Nepal's monkeys | It's Decision Time For Nepal's Monkeys | Nepal to Export 25 monkeys 'soon' | Nepalese Monkey Export Ban Under Threat | Footage of the Nepalese Monkey Farms Released | Export banned of Nepalese monkeys for vivisection | Protest against monkey export in Belgium | Demo against Nepal's plan to export monkeys | Stop The Monkey Business -- Photos of the Monkey Farms

Campaigns: Gateway To Hell | Stop Monkey Business

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Britain is GMO free again

22-07-2007 16:30

GM Spuds

On the night of Friday the 6th of July, a group of activists converged on Britain's only GM trial site just outside Cambridge. They scaled the security fences and destroyed the crop of genetically modified potatoes.

This was the only crop of GM potatoes being grown in the UK, after the chemicals giant BASF abandoned plans for a GM potato trial in Yorkshire this year. There have been multiple protests at the Cambridge site [video] and at the Yorkshire site (where organic potatoes were planted [video]).

However BASF have permission lasting until 2011, so this may not be the end of the story ...

Background : GM back on agenda | sabotage promised | detailed talk report | audio interview re victory and protest 1st july

Campaign links : Mutatoes | Hedon Against GM | Cambridge GM Concern

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Two Arrested at Cambridge GM potato picnic

03-07-2007 18:19

who says the young arn't interested in politics

7/7/07 Update: The field has been decontaminated!

Sunday July 1st. Fifty anti-GM campaigners take their protest directly to the test site in Girton near Cambridge. One protester is arrested scaling the fence erected to protect the GM potato crop and another is arrested later on for alleged criminal damage (they will be in court on Tuesday morning[ 1 | 2 ]). The crop are GM potatoes developed by BASF, who have already dropped their one other potato trial in the UK [ 1 | 2 ].

Detailed write up - video - Pictures [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ] Local media coverage - Criticism of tactics.

Background : GM back on agenda | sabotage promised | detailed talk report | audio interview re victory and protest 1st july

Campaign links : Mutatoes | Hedon Against GM | Cambridge GM Concern

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Anti-GM Victory : One down, One to Go!

25-06-2007 17:18

It seems there are not often victories to celebrate so it's strange when they occur seemingly unnoticed. That's exactly what's happened regarding the news that the chemicals giant, BASF have abandoned plans for a GM potato trial in Yorkshire this year, despite government consent.

Back in April there was an action in Hedon near Hull [1 | 2 ] to demonstrate public opposition to the first GM trials in the UK proposed in three years. Taking action before the trial began, the protesters planted their own organic spuds in what they thought was the field earmarked for the GM variety [1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6]. The aim was to invalidate the experiment before it was even started and while it turned out that they had picked the wrong field they did successful demonstrate that public opposition to GM crops is as strong and militant as ever [audio | video].

The planting of the other trial, located in Cambridge [1 | 2], went ahead despite local opposition and protests but campaigners say that it's not too late to drive home the message that "there is still no future for GM in the UK".

There is a national call out for a 'potato picnic' announced for Sunday 1st July near the site of the Cambridge trial. [flyer | directions]

Background : GM back on agenda | sabotage promised | detailed talk report | audio interview re victory and protest 1st july

Campaign links : Mutatoes | Hedon Against GM | Cambridge GM Concern

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Nano Expo at Nottingham Uni

27-05-2007 09:25

On 16-17th May a 'Nano Expo' took place at the East Midlands Conference Centre, University of Nottingham. Nanotechnology is hailed as the new technological fix for the world's problems by certain scientists, but there are serious issues with the technology itself and the way it is being developed.

The Nano Expo site says that the event is: "Designed to bring together key industrialists and researchers in the field of micro- and nanotechnology. Leading international speakers will contribute to parallel sessions targeted at both commercial and scientific audiences." There are some of us who are less excited about this new technology and think that such conferences should be protested.

Links Nano expo website | Institute of Nano Technology | Wikipedia on Nano Technology

Articles: Nanotech: Corporations make money, government ducks issue, public takes the risk | NANOTECHNOLOGY: What it is and how corporations are using it | Time to make your voice heard on nanotech regulation | Protest at Nano-tech conference, Oxford | Nanoparticle based spray recalled after 80 made ill | After GM Food – here comes Nano Food! | Nano Hazard Competition samples | Nano-Justice and Food Sovereignty | Resistance to Nanotechnology in France | products using Nanotechnology

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Ready to remove a blight on our landscape?

16-04-2007 09:01

Setting off to work

This month a controversial experimental genetically modified potato crop is due to be planted in the UK by the German chemical giant BASF (offshoot of the infamous AG Farben). DEFRA initially gave approval in December for BASF to undertake trials at two sites, one in Cambridgeshire (at the National Institute of Agriculture and Botany) and the other initially in Derbyshire - until the farmer pulled out.

The trials are the first GM crops to enter British soil in nearly 3 years, after public opposition forced a u-turn in government and corporate plans for patented crops. Although presented as an R&D trial into the effectiveness of an anti blight gene, they are widely considered to be trial of public opinion.

On 14th April in Cambridge a protest walk took place [photos 1, 2]. This was followed on the 21st by a rally in Hull. This event ended with the proposed trial being effectively sabotaged even before it had began when over a hundred people entered the site and planted several varieties of seed potatoes in the field making it impossible for a scientifically valid trial to take place there.

Cambridge 1 | 2 | 3 | grid reference
Hull 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | pics

Background GM - Back on the agenda? | Sabotage promised | New GM crop trials | London info night (Tues 17th)

Campaign sites | | Cambridge GM concern |

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GM Potatoes - Blessing or Blight?

11-04-2007 22:03

GM Spuds

On Monday 2 April, Cambridge GM Concern organized a public meeting regarding the forthcoming NIAB/BASF trial of GM potatoes in the Cambridge area. Some fifty people turned up for the event, which featured three speakers, who had travelled up from London for the occasion: Michael Antoniou is a Reader in Molecular Genetics at Guy's Hospital Medical School, Helena Paul is the chair of GM Freeze, and Clare Oxborrow is from the Real Food Campaign organized by Friends of the Earth.

Meanwhile campaigners concerned about similar trials in Yorkshire are having a demo on the 21st of April and have set up the mutatoes website and a myspace page.

Read more ...

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Southampton Seed Swap

28-02-2006 23:06

Building on the success of the Seedy Sunday event in Brighton(1), a similar event is being organised for Southampton. Southampton's very own Seedy Saturday is happening next Saturday (4th March) at the Edmund Kell Hall. Bringing together home growers from all over the region to swap seeds and advice. The event is organised by Active Arts Community a not-for-profit group that aims to promote healthy living and ecologically sustainable lifestyles through the arts. The seed swap event is an extension of the other more arty based work though it complements well the ethos behind the group.

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Untested and in here - Sainsburys GM feed week

12-06-2005 15:40

On Sunday (12th June), eight protesters stripped naked to expose the continued sale of products derived from animals fed on genetically modified crops. The naked demo preceded a separate week long series of events outside Sainsbury head office in London. The Milk Monitor website describes the campaign as "a week long extravaganza of street theatre & protests against GM animal feed".

Read full article for daily updates and details of each days events.

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Environmental Rock in Southampton

12-05-2005 09:00

Shot of the Crowd at Environmental Rock Day
On Saturday 30th April, Environmental Rock 2005 saw a return of the popular all-day environmental awareness and entertainment event at The Hobbit pub in Bevois Valley, Southampton. Around five hundred local residents and students flocked to the venue to listen to bands and acoustic acts, sample the organic food and drink, as well as taking the opportunity to speak to local and national environmentalists about what can be done to reduce our impact on the planet.

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The joy of seeds

25-04-2005 14:34

Last month saw Oxford's first seed swap. In a repeat of a formula tried and tested in other areas, growers came to exchange seeds and knowledge and got to go away with some rare and unusual veg varieties, as well as some that are local to Oxford.

The importance of saving seeds has never been more relevant as the erosion of our genetic heritage continues, not just here but all over the world, and with potentially disasterous consequences. Please read the following links, and remember 'Think Global, Act Local'.

report + video | Our Vegetable Heritage | Brighton group website
Traditional Seed Saving Made Illegal in Iraq | Seedswapping at LARC

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Direct Action Blockades Against GM

08-03-2005 23:47

At 3am on Saturday 26th February, a coalition of environmentalists used direct action to blockade Sainsbury's huge regional distribution centre at Emerson's Green, causing disruption to Sainsbury's retail supply across the South-West and beyond. Braving sub-zero temperatures and snow, campaigners blockaded the entrance to the depot, locking themselves together for three hours with steel tubes [see reports 1 | 2 | 3]. There were six arrests.

Campaigners are demanding that Sainsburys honour their undertaking to stop marketing dairy products from animals reared on genetically modified soya and maize. Currently the use of animal feed is keeping GM in the food chain despite overwhelming opposition from consumers. Sainsburys have also been heavily criticised for driving down prices for dairy farmers who are demanding a fair price for GM free milk.

A few days later, on Thursday 3rd March, around 25 camapigners also shut down the Sainsbury's depot in Haydock, Merseyside [report | pics]. People blockaded the depot by d-locking themselves to gates and blocking the main gate with a vehicle that others then locked themselves too. The blockade lasted for around two and a half hours before specialist police units cut people free.

The actions followed multiple blockades and actions against Sainsbruy's last year - See [Feature from July 04] and previous blockade of Merseyside depot [1 | 2].

On Wednesday 23 February, hundreds of people also took part in a mass lobby outside parliament [report and pics] to demand the right to choose GM-free food, as well as strict laws to prevent GM contamination and make companies liable for any contamination that does occur. While nearly two thirds of people in the UK want tough laws to prevent GM contamination, the Government is apparently planning a legal framework that would allow widespread contamination. A roving bus load of cows also visited supermarkets around Cardiff, awarding the worst offenders with the "Greenpeace Cowpat Award for Supporting GM milk".

See also: Corporate Watch Farm report (pdf) |Genetics Action Sainsubry's briefing (pdf)| Biotech IMC