Animal feed | 01.07.2004 23:41 | Bio-technology
Sainsbury’s five biggest UK distribution centres have been shut down tonight. Environmentalists and consumers are simultaneously blockading the supermarket chain's chilled-goods depots in London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and Sheffield. They are chained together through steel tubes, and sitting up ‘tripods’ blocking the depot gates.
This co-ordinated action is intended to halt distribution of Sainsbury's dairy products that come from cows fed GM animal feed. The protest follows Sainsbury’s failure to provide non-GM fed milk as standard, despite rivals like Marks and Spencer and the Co-op doing so. The action is taken in solidarity with farmers, demanding they get a fair deal of 2p on the pound for non-GM milk. Removing GM animal feed is the last step necessary to make Britain entirely GM-free
A protester explained:
“Neither farmers or consumers want GM in our food chain. Sainsbury’s must keep their promise to phase out its use, and pay farmers properly so they can do so”
A farmer added:
“We are paid less for our milk than it costs to produce. GM is only adding to the crisis in our industry. We want an end to the exploitation of foreign farmers through GM, and an end to the exploitation of us by the supermarkets.”
The protesters intend to stay until GM fed products are taken off Sainsbury’s shelves. The police have been called but any arrests are likely to be seriously delayed by the demonstrator’s chains and equipment. Following the sacking of chairman Sir Peter Davis, Sainsbury now has to face questions about justice - not only profits.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1.GM fed milk is currently unlabelled. The effects of GM on both cattle, and the people who then eat products from them, have never been tested by independent scientists.
2.Prof. Bob Orskov OBE, director of the International Feed Resource Unit in Aberdeen has said “As a scientist, I wouldn’t drink milk from cows fed GM with the current state of knowledge”.
3.In the face of public concern Sainsbury’s pledged to phase out the use of GM in animal feed three years ago, but are now claiming they cannot for economic reasons.
4.The blockade is supported by a coalition of environmental and farmers groups for more information see http://www.geneticsaction.org.uk/resources/alliancesainsburys.pdf
5.The 5 depots blockaded cover around 70% of Sainsbury’s fresh food distribution network in the UK.