ROME, - Agence France Presse 3 March 2001
Militants opposed to research into genetically modified organisms (GMOs) broke into a farm laboratory in northeast Italy Saturday as Group of Eight (G8) environment ministers met in Trieste to find a compromise over a UN treaty on global warming.
As the West tries to bully Third World governments into using GM crops, peasant farmers around the world are denouncing products that would increase economic dependency, destroy the livelihoods of all but a privileged few farmers, and replace locally controlled food production with corporate-controlled monoculture for export.
On Sunday 7th January 2001 part of a farm-scale trial site at Harbury in Herefordshire was destroyed by 'Two Peasants, a Pixie and a Pair of Marigolds'. The five entered the field shortly before midnight and during four hours pulled up about 200sq metres of oilseed rape.
Six days before Xmas, 20 people dressed as turkeys and equipped with D-locks and arm tubes, halted two lorries in the entrance of one of Asda's UK distribution centres.
With their 'just in time' restocking and one truck arriving every few minutes, the two-hour blockade at Dartford was deemed to have been pretty costly to Asda. Clearing the backlog would have taken some time.
The campaign against GE in forestry kicked off the week of the Forest Biotech 99 conference, with news that AstraZeneca's plantation of GM poplar trees had been felled and ring-barked by eco-lumberjacks. These trees have a reduced lignin content which the industry claims, in typical greenwash language, means there will be less pollution from pulp processing.
On 5th August three members from GenetiX Snowball openly and accountably trashed an AgrEvo test site, breaking an injunction served against them. They took the bagged up crops to AgrEvil's HQ in Norfolk where the staff were totally phased, despite the fact that they had been sent a letter saying they were going to break their injunctions.
As with the Greenpeace action the previous week, the Smash Genetix action was targeted at GM fodder maize. Unlike its oilseed rape, AgrEvo's GM maize already has consent to be grown in the European Union. This means that the government is under no obligation to inform the public, or other farmers or bee-keepers about where it is being grown.
Some other local actions and events Scotland - Scottish Genetix Action report that on Saturday 24th July 1999, in a simultaneous action, GM oilseed rape test sites in Edinburgh and Aberdeen were destroyed. Scottish Genetix Action will continue to campaign for a GMO-free Scotland.
In Watlington, Oxfordshire, the campaign against the farm-scale trial had been running from the moment the test plots were announced. Stalls were held in the town and an organic picnic was organised along with a walk to the site. By lucky coincidence, literally metres away from the Model Farm GM test site, lay an abandoned farm house with an overgrown garden full of wild flowers.