Saturday 21st April 2007
GM Mutatoes Rally Report
21st April 2007
National rally against and site visit to the trial planting of GM potatoes in Hull.|
Over 150 people took direct action against GM crops by planting potatoes in a field near Hull. The field is due to be the trial site for GM potatoes within the next few weeks. Thousands of potatoes were buried in order to prevent the contamination of the British countryside by genetically modified crops. It was hoped that the donation of safe spuds will prevent the planting of the controversial crop, which threatens the livelihoods of local borage growers and organic farmers.
Veggies provided refreshments and Nottingham's Wholesome Fish entertained the crowds!
Stop press 8/6/07
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Protestors pre-plant GM trial site with organic potatoes
Hull Rally Press Release, 22 April 2007, from http://www.mutatoes.org/pr005-Hullrally.php
Yesterday over 150 people took direct action against GM crops by planting potatoes in a field near Hull. The field is due to be the trial site for GM potatoes within the next few weeks. Thousands of potatoes were buried in order to prevent the contamination of the British countryside by genetically modified crops. It is hoped that the donation of safe spuds will prevent the planting of the controversial crop, which threatens the livelihoods of local borage growers and organic farmers.
Anna Lock explained; “If you want to eat good safe potatoes, you have to plant good safe potatoes. By planting organic potatoes in this field today, the field will be rendered unsuitable for the GM trial. Scientific experiments need controllable variables - tiny organic seed potatoes hidden deep in the ground are a variable controlled only by nature. These seed potatoes will grow and BASF’s experiment will no longer be possible on this site.”
The rally started as a GM-free potato picnic accompanied by live music with around 300 protestors, including children and cyclists and many dressed as Mr Potato Head. A large number then set out across the field to plant organic potatoes. The rally marks the end of the government’s consultation process on the experiment. The crop is the first to be proposed after public pressure bought an end to the trialing of GM in the UK nearly 3 years ago.
Yolande Black travelled all the way from Bristol to attend the protest: “I think the government is testing the water with these trials, and it is vitally important that we show them that resistance is still alive and kicking. We will continue fighting them every step of the way. GM is not a solution.”
20% of conventional potato varieties are already resistant to blight and BASF have admitted that there is no market for GM food in the UK. 80 acres of borage have recently been sown near the trial site, and the crop will fail if beekeepers keep to the British Beekeepers Associations guidelines of keeping hives at least 6km distant from GM crops.
The GM farmer has announced that he will not proceed if the issue is not resolved for his neighbours.
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Organic grower Dr Gwen Egginton, one of the speakers, said: "We are appealing to the farmer to ditch the trial because it is something nobody wants except the big biotech firms.
"It is not too late. He could still say "no" and really he is the only person who can stop this nonsense.
"If we don't keep up the pressure against genetically modified crops, Britain will go the same way as the US and Canada and we will be eating GM food without even knowing it."
Dr Egginton, of Nafferton, near Driffield, vowed the East Yorkshire campaign would go on even if the potato trial went ahead.
"We have done really well so far in this country in keeping it GM-free, but we must keep up the pressure to stop trials of this technology, which is plainly not wanted," she said.
Mr Wilkin, of Humber Lane, Welwick, has agreed to lease a hectare of land to test potatoes genetically modified with a gene to resist devastating fungal disease late blight.
Pressure is mounting on him to abandon the trial because of the impact it might have on neighbouring crops, such as borage, where honey bees are used for pollination.
Beekeepers do not want to take their hives to the fields because of the risk their honey will be contaminated.
Ref: Hull Daily Mail
Note to editors:
See also report on Veggies Catering at Long Marston GM Rally (9/3/02).
BASF ("THE Chemical Company" according to their literature) are developing genetically modified potatoes. They start this year with a five year programme of tests involving planting them at several sites around the United Kingdom. To date the UK is free of commercially planted GM crops; it is our intention to keep it that way. There are many reasons why GM food is bad for our planet, for farmers and for our health. We need to act now before they get a foothold - once established there will be no going back, as the Americas and the Far East have already found out to their cost.
Call for GM potato crops to be suspended following Dutch court ruling. (FoE Press release).
Friends of the Earth and GM Freeze are calling on the Government to suspend plans for experimental trials of GM potatoes in the UK. The call comes after a Dutch court ordered permits for trials in the Netherlands to be destroyed because the risks to the environment had not been properly assessed.
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Protesters decontaminate the UK's last remaining GM potato trial
Indymedia, 7 July 2007
During the night of Friday 6th July, a group of activists converged on Britain's last remaining GM trial site just outside Cambridge. They scaled the security fences and destroyed the crop of genetically modified potatoes.
The potato plants were already flowering, spreading genetic contagion into the surrounding countryside.
A similar trial planned in Hull was abandoned earlier this year after a strong campaign and massive concern from nearby farmers. With the destruction of the Cambridge crop, Britain is once again GM free.
Public concern and demonstrations had failed to sway NIAB, the National Institute for Agriculture and Botany, who are carrying out the five-year trial on behalf of BASF, a multinational chemical corporation. Many feel that if corporations refuse to listen to public opinion it is necessary to take direct action.
Friday's action follows the latest in a series of protests, on the previous Sunday (July 1st), when demonstrators marched on the potato field. On that occasion, they were met by overwhelming numbers of police and two participants were arrested.
This time, however, no such obstacles were met, and the activists were able to successfully decontaminate the field.
If this trial had been allowed to run full term it could have led to a whole new generation of GM crop trials in this country. Friday night's events show that public concern about GM food and willingness to take direct action to keep Britain GM free remain high.
From GM Watch+ PROTESTERS DECONTAMINATE UK'S LAST REMAINING GM POTATO TRIAL
During the night of 6 July, a group of activists scaled the security fences and
destroyed the crop of GM potatoes at Girton, near Cambridge. The site is Britain's
last remaining GM trial site. The potato plants were already flowering, spreading
genetic contamination into the surrounding countryside. A similar trial planned in
Hull was abandoned earlier this year after a strong campaign and massive concern
from nearby farmers. With the destruction of the Cambridge crop, Britain is once
again GM free.
+ GM CROP PROTEST BRINGS COURT FINE
Two protesters involved in an earlier demonstration against the growing of GM crops
have appeared in court following incidents during a protest picnic at the GM test
site in Cambridge.
+ EU MASHES GM POTATO PLAN
The European Union's council of ministers has delivered a serious blow to biotech
companies' ambitions to roll out GM crops across the region by postponing a decision
on the 'commercial optimisation' of BASF's Amflora 'genetically optimised potato'.
The German EU presidency apparently canned a European Commission proposal to release
the Amflora when it became clear that 'a bloc of countries led by Austria, Greece,
and Luxembourg would vote against it'.
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