UK Bio-technology Feature Archive
"We don't need genetically engineered crops to feed India," said a genetic engineering campaigner for Greenpeace India. "Around the world, in fact, the promises made by the genetic engineering industry have been unfulfilled, whether of increasing crop yields or reducing pesticide use."
This retreat follows other recent decisions that set Bayer back - on 9th November Bayer Crop Science removed the last 2 GM crop varieties still in the approval process for the UK National Seed List [see report]. Previously in March 2004, the company announced they would be pulling out of GE crop research in the UK. A few months later, in June, Bayer announced they would not pursue commercialization of GE canola in Australia. Bayer's letter to Greenpeace India following direct action against the company, concedes that research into engineered cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, tomato and mustard seed has all been halted.
"It is clear that popular resistance to genetic engineering is not diminishing as the industry had hoped it would," said Doreen Stabinsky, GE campaigner for Greenpeace International. "No matter what country we're talking about, consumers are on the same page. They don't want to eat genetically engineered food. That's good news for farmers and good news for the environment."
For more see: Indymedia UK Biotech Section | Biotech IMC | Genetics Action | CBGnetwork
Sainsbury's chilled food distribution centres were blockaded across the country on Thursday in protest against GM feed being fed to dairy cows. Sainsbury’s five biggest UK distribution centres were shut down as evironmentalists and consumers simultaneously blockaded the supermarket chain's chilled-goods depots in London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and Sheffield. They were chained together through steel tubes, or sat up scaffold tripods, blocking the depot gates. The co-ordinated action was 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 was taken in solidarity with farmers, demanding they get a fair deal of 2p on the pound for non-GM milk. The coalition of groups campaigning on this issue includes Farmers for Action, the Small and Family Farmers Alliance, The Small Farms Association, the Wholesome Food Association, the Institute of Science in Society, Genetic Food Alert and the Genetic Engineering Network (see GM animal feed campaign PDF). Also see National press release
Local reports: Birmingham report, photos and video | London
Yorkshire | Liverpool [ 1 , 2 ] and photos [1 | 2]
Bristol report and photos
Sainsbury's Essex Waltham Point Depot Blockade Report
See also Genetic Engineering Network
Cows leaflet shareholders are Sainsbury AGM - Monday 12th July
Store demo in Plymouth - Saturday 10th July
Farmers vist Welsh store - Saturday 10th July
This year sees a massive reduction in the total number of GM field trials in the UK from a peak of 159 in 2000-2001 to 42 in 2002-2003 to just 1 in 2003-2004.
This may have something to do with the fact that 91 trials out of 476 have been damaged or destroyed in the last five years. This has had a significant impact on the industry because the majority of those targeted were the national seedlisting trials, which are compulsory for the seed licensing process .
When a government announces commercialisation of a GM crop, and then three weeks later, the very large multinational company responsible withdraws it from commercialisation, it would be a fair assumption that someone, somewhere, has put a spanner in the works.
Today (Wednesday 11th), in the High Court in London, Bayer AG (the German pharmacuetical and chemicals giant) sought to make permanent an interim court order against six named individuals and five 'organisations' which effectively turns previously lawful protest activities into a criminal offence.
The judge gave his ruling on Friday 13th, upholding all of the conditions previously requested. Defendants have 28 days to make a case against the ruling,until then, the interim court order obtained in December will remain effective.
Using the Protection from Harassment Act, the injunction places severe restrictions on the freedom of expression and ability to protest, for anyone that could be shown to be working in concert with the named organisations (which include two websites!).
Obviously this has far reaching implications for everyone. The simply act of reporting on events relating to the campaign against Bayer, or walking or parking in some streets in Oxford and Cambridge, could become a criminal offence for anyone that might be shown to have knowledge of the injuntion and be connected in some way to one of the named injunctees (perhaps having visited the StopBayerGM website).
Previous report | Court order on bayer's site | Schnews on Injunction | www.stopbayergm.org
More on this from the Indymedia topics Bio-technology page.
Global news on the bio-tech threat from the Bio-Tech IMC www.biotechimc.org
On the Indymedia UK biotechnology topic page you should find pretty much all the articles posted to Indymedia UK on this subject.
If you are interested in the wider campaign against GM on a global scale, it would be well worth checking out the global Biotech IMC website: biotech.indymedia.org.
09-02-2004 20:40According to a their PR department, Bayer has totally respect for the rights of groups and individuals to "promote the discussion of current issues" such as GM crops, but "wishes to ensure that any protesting activity stays within the law and does not involve the harassment or intimidation of its employees".
And as if to demonstrate their respect for the rights of people to protest by lawful means, they obtained an injunction that effectively turns previously lawful acts into criminal offences.
On Thursday 11th December half a dozen Lancastrians made their way to a pesticide manufacturing site in Widnes to protest against Bayer's involvement in GM crops. Some of them entered the building, whilst others help up banners, made lots of noise and leafletted the staff car park. Work was disrupted for two and a half hours, as staff locked themselves into their offices and site security barricaded the gates against the protestors. People inside the building eventually got to discuss Bayer's GM involvement with the site manager and demanded that Bayer pull out of GM now.
This marks the end of a drawn-out and contradictory legal process which saw all four activists cleared of aggravated trespass by the same District Judge in March 2003. The Crown Prosectution Service (CPS) appealed and had the verdict overturned by two High Court Judges who ordered a retrial, with instructions that the defendants should be found guilty. The four now face prison for refusal to pay the punitive costs.
Full Report | video | audio | earlier verdict one two | background history | Pink Castle website
15-11-2003 16:08Bayer Noise Demo - Report
togg, 15.11.2003 10:44
Around 100 anti-bayer campaigners gathered outside Bayer HQ in Newbury on Thursday and made a horrible bloody racket.
In the largest procedure of its kind in the world, the UK government wanted to make sure that the introduction of GM crops in the UK would be based on scientific facts and public approval. For a change it seems to have been good that they have done so. It is now obvious that the public are against GM food and GM crops, and the trials showed that herbicide tolerant GM crops can be worse for the environment than conventional agriculture.
Public meetings were held all over the country, a website gave the opportunity to state one's opinion, a scientific commission wrote a report, and farm-scale field trials where conducted over several years. All of these results are now going into a final report (overview). Besides this official programme numerous actions took place. Meanwhile some GM companies have decided to reduce their activites in the UK.
[ Corporate Watch UK | Genewatch | GMwatch |Green Gloves Pledge | Stop Bayer's GM crops! | Greenpeace UK | Friends of the Earth | | Guardian GM debate | GM nation? Official Website | Full text of reports on GM field scale evaluations | BioTech IMC ]
IMC Leeds talked to Leeds' anti Bayer campaigners to find out more... Read the interview...
More info at the Stop Bayer website
PUBLIC MEETING ON GMOs. LEEDS CIVIC HALL THURS 6TH NOV. 7.30PM
The progress of Jonnys journey can be followed via his website.Map of his planned tour, by Sheffield IMC.
2 activists from Totness,see Westcountry Indymedia are on the way, and 2 other activists have been [ 1,2] passing by Bayer and Monsanto, reported on Cambridge Indymedia. In total 20 pilgrims, including 73 years old Mary Keynes, are cycling or walking to London to raise awareness for the issue of GM food and crops and to participate in the Tractor and Trolley Demonstration.
For more background information: [Bio-technology special page,LABB leaflet, Biotech Indymedia].
04-10-2003 01:21Bayer CropScience - previously known as Aventis have - has announced that they now intend to stop testing crops in this country. Just less than 2 months ago anti-GM activists at the Earth First Summer gathering decided to target the company company Bayer Crop Science. Several actions have already been carried out but this announcement comes before the campaign could properly get going.
Bayer made clear that direct action played a major role in their decision. Dr Julien Little of Bayer CropScience was cited as saying: "(...) if we are not going to get anything out of [trials on oil-seed rape] because they are wrecked there is little point so this year we will not be doing any."
Bayer had asked the government to allow vaguer descriptions of test sites so that they could not be found and trashed by activists. But the proposal has been vetoed.
Links: Full reports ,, a Bayer update, background info on Bayer, Stop Bayer campaign
During the last six weeks, unknown to most people, there have been a series of public debates up and down the country about whether the government should allow the commericalisation of GM crops in the UK. The deadline for public input is now over - did you have your say?
In an exclusive film made for Indymedia, people from all over the country reveal that the public consultation was a poorly advertised, ill concieved and miss-managed farce that failed to engage ordinary people. The film also demonstrates that much of the public believe that the decision has already been made to push ahead with GM (regardless of the will of the people) and that the government is an undemocratic tool of U.S. interests and big business.
Syngenta had government consent to plant upto 35 by 20 metres of genetical modified wheat. In a press release, protesters claimed that if allowed to pollenate, it would have spread GM material into the surrounding countryside...
For Photos [updated]Click Here
For Video [latest edit]Click Here
25-03-2003 23:00Three anti-GM activists had their convictions for pulling up GM crops quashed in the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Saturday. The crops, genetically modified oil seed rape, were pulled up as part of a protest at Boghall farm in Midlothian. The convictions were quashed four years to the day after the action.