Action, protest, campaigns, demos and issues magazine features, photos, articles, stories photos of London, New York, Wales, England and photography features music, parties, clubs, events, records, releases drug information, harm reduction, no-nonsense guide punch a celebrity football, features, issues, cardiff city games, useless games and diversions technical info, web authoring, reviews and features site news, updates and urban75 blog urban75 community news and events urban75 bulletin boards join the chatroom search urban75 back to urban75 homepage
London features, photos, history, articles New York features, photos, history, articles Brixton features, photos, history, articles panoramas, 360 degree vistas, London, New York, Wales, England Offline London club night festival reports, photos, features and articles urban75 sitemap and page listing about us, info, FAQs, copyright join our mailing list for updates and news contact urban75

genetics > home - action - news - genetics

- background notes and press releases

October 1997
June 1997



The only genetically engineered crop in the Republic of Ireland has been destroyed.

In an anonymous phone call to the Genetic Engineering Network, a group calling themselves the Gaelic Earth Liberation Front told of their destruction of the one acre site in the early hours of the morning on September 28th. They went onto say; "This was the first genetically engineered crop in Ireland and hopefully it will be the last". The experimental crop of roundup ready sugar beet, owned by the US based biotech corporation Monsanto, had been planted earlier in the year at a government run farm near Carlow in the Republic of Ireland.


On May 1st, 1997 the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted Monsanto the first licence in Ireland for a deliberate release of genetically modified organisms - in this case Round-Up Ready sugar beet. Monsanto had applied for the license to test-plant in three locations, but had later narrowed their application to the one site at the research centre managed by Teagasc, the state sponsored agricultural advisory body.

Clare Watson, a founder member of Genetic Concern! an Irish group campaigning against genetic engineering, immediately sought a High Court Judicial Review of the EPA's decision to grant a license. (Neither Clare Watson or Genetic Concern are thought to have had anything to do with this action.) An interim injunction prevented Monsanto planting the Glyphosate-resistant sugar beet in Ireland but it was lifted on 27th May and the beet was planted that same afternoon. However, while refusing to grant a permanent injunction, the High Court Judge gave permission for a judicial review of the Environmental Protection Agency licence granted to Monsanto.

The judicial review is not scheduled to take place until 10th December 1997 by which time the first year's GE sugar beet crop would have been harvested. If the Court finds that the licences were improperly granted, Monsanto would have to abandon the 4 year test and Monsanto had said that if it is revoked, they would destroy all their GE sugar beet; with a herbicide! It now looks as though whatever happens in the judicial review, someone has saved Monsanto the effort.

In Germany, the campaign against genetic engineering has already been taken to the fields where testing is carried out. In 1996 at least 12 fields were destroyed by protesters, and actions by local people stopped the planting of several more. Four fields are currently being squatted full-time by German activists determined to stop them being planted with Monsanto's herbicide-resistant sugar beet. In the UK at least two test sites have been destroyed this year.

For Further Information:

Although the following people/groups have nothing to do with the above action they are available to talk about the ongoing campaigns against Genetic Engineering and the possible dangers of GE.

David King, Geneticist and Editor of Genethics News: 0181 809 4513. Genetic Engineering Network on: 0181 374 9516. Genetic Concern: Phone: + 353-1-670 5606

( Monsanto soon had a pr company on the case and released a statement confirming that the action had taken place and I have also been sent five pages of press cuttings. It is a major news story in Ireland and quite exciting as an MEP has just gone on record saying that the destruction was "fair play" and causing all sorts of debates.)


Irish Times article (front page)

Group sabotage genetically modified sugar beet
By Kevin O'Sullivan, Environmental and Food Science Correspondent.

A group calling itself the Gaelic Earth Liberation Front has sabotaged the first genetically modified crop grown in this country. The genetically modified sugar beet was being grown by the US chemical giant, Monsanto, under an Environmental Protection Agency licence. The crop, which is modified genetically to be resistant to the company's herbicide, Roundup, was being grown on a plot attached to Teagasc research centre in Oakpark, Carlow.

It is believed a significant number of people got access early on Sunday and slashed much of the almost mature beet with sharp implements - Monsanto got permission to proceed with the test after a court action failed in May. A further action goes to a hearing shortly. The attack was first reported on the Internet. British-based Genetic Engineering Network declared "Ireland GE (genetic engineering) free again", and insisted it had got an anonymous phone call from Gaelic Earth Liberation Front (GELF) admitting it.

Genetic Concern, the environmental group pursuing a judicial review of the EPA licence, said it had nothing to do with the sabotage. Its spokesman, Mr Quentin Gargan, said he was not aware of GELF's existence. "But we're not surprised it happened. There's a lot of people very annoyed the tests went ahead without adequate public debate." It was aware of the risk this might happen but Genetic Concern "had chosen to go down the legal route".

A Teagasc spokesman said the extent of damage was being evaluated. The tests were a matter for Monsanto and the EPA. "Its major focus was on weed control and not the crop itself.".

Monsanto expressed shock and dismay at "wanton damage". Those responsible "clearly have no interest in scientific means of finding the truth and no interest in bringing benefits to the people of Ireland", a spokesman said. "I have been asked to investigate the incident."

Objections had been addressed in court, he said. In such circumstances, the act was a direct challenge to the law. Monsanto was calling on Genetic Concern to publicly condemn such action, but would not be deterred from "development of this technology".

Monsanto has completed nine such trials in Europe but genetically modified food is a contentious issue and trial sites have been interfered with in the past.


Global Days of Action Against Genetically Engineered Crops



A consumer group calling themselves "Mothers Against Genetic Engineering" today uprooted a crop containing mutant DNA from its experimental plot at the University of Queensland's Gatton campus. The action, the first of its kind in Australia, has been described as a dramatic beginning to the Global Days of Action Against Genetix (Oct. 2nd - 16th) during which concerned consumers worldwide will highlight the dangers posed by the rapidly expanding biotechnology industry.

"The crop in question was canola, used for the production of oil and meal. It has had a bacteria gene implanted in it in order to make it resistant to the herbicide Basta. The experiment was one of many being conducted throughout Australia by AgrEvo, one of the largest herbicide companies in the world, in cooperation with Pacific Seeds." said a spokesperson for the group, who declined to be named."We uprooted the canola plants and mixed the control plants with the engineered plants to ensure the invalidation of any testing. We are outraged that already 60% of processed food available in Australian supermarkets may be genetically engineered. For the sake of our families, we had to take action."

The eventual release of this crop, like the others being forced on the public, involves huge risks - scientists have predicted crossover of disease, a loss of biodiversity due to crosspollination, and an almost inevitable development of a similar resistance in the weeds the implanted gene is intended to eliminate, a probability acknowledged even by AgrEvo.

"All this is being done behind closed doors with little to no public input. The biotech industry believes that consumers should not even have the right to know that products are genetically engineered. We are sending a message to the industry that we will not stand for unsafe and ultimately ineffective technology in which we are the guinea pigs." concluded the spokesperson."The biotech industry's financial benefits will be at the cost of consumers and future generations."

Consumers around the world are refusing to accept any genetically modified food whatsoever, to the extent that it has been banned in some European countries. The Australian government and the agricultural industry must realize that it is going against the clear message not only of the Australian public, but of the current internation consumer trend.

NOTE FROM THE UK This morning on Radio 4 here in the UK, the programme 'Farming Today' ran a story on the recent destruction of a crop of GM sugar beet in Ireland. They went on to say that in light of this action, security has been stepped up at GM test sites around the U.K. . It now looks as though Australia may have to do the same.

For more information on the Global Days of Action Against Genetic Engineering here in the UK, please call the GENETIC ENGINEERING NETWORK on: 0181 374 9516. Although the action had nothing to do with the GeneEthics Network (Bob Phelps), they are a contact for the Australian Global Days of Action. Tel. +61-3-9416-2222 Fax. +61-3-9416-0767.

RTS now run a genetics information email list. If you would like to be on it (and are not already) reply putting 'Subscribe Genetics' in the subject box. If you have anything to contribute to the list then send it in and it will be forwarded - unedited wherever possible. Please do not send attachments (so as to avoid virus), instead just add text to email's main body. For genetics info on the web check out: http:///


Genetics Newsletter - June 1997

The UK Genetic Engineering Network (GEN) was set up as an information sharing network for anyone actively campaigning on the issues of GE. The aim of GEN is to also help focus strategies, and facilitate exchange between big and small groups, organisations and individuals. A forum for all this will be the Genetix Update. GEN is a decentralised network with no central office, and soon there will be a list of regional contacts available. They will have details of regional activities and meetings as well as information on how to get involved if you are not already.

The most important function of the newsletter is to supply ourselves with up to date information for action! There is something for everyone to do, whether it be letter writing supermarket actions, office occupations, lobbying, staging plays or setting up information stalls. It is important to remember that we all are GEN and if we have taken part in actions, have ideas, news or requests, we should use the update to inspire and inform each other, so keep in touch. The contact details for GEN and the Genetix Update are on the back page. Most articles have * action points at the end - please remember these are just a few ideas: be creative!

CONsume & Die


An independent research programme carried out for Sainsburys concluded that, among consumers: Overall, Genetically Modified Produce is not perceived to be a good idea. Over half of those aware of genetically-engineered food said they would probably not or definitely not buy such food.

The research also reveals that consumers think that: profit is the main motive behind GE crops; there should be a choice available; and that 7 out of 10 of those aware of GE foodstuffs hadn't anything positive to say. The common view was that they were unnatural and there were unknown risks. Environmental groups were most trusted, whilst in descending order, supermarkets, food manufacturers, and government had consumers interests least at heart.

This is a clear message to farmers not to plant GE crops, and to supermarkets not to stock it. (The survey was carried out by Market Measures Ltd, and involved 647 respondents at 60 sample points across the country)

*Two thirds of people on the survey knew little or nothing about GM and this is where supermarket actions are so effective, people want the information and once they have it, the majority, as the survey shows, are against it. As many supermarkets as possible should be visited for actions, petitioning and leafletting.



Within a week of the above survey being made public, nine EU national food trade associations and 15 supermarket chains, including the UKs Tesco and Sainsburys, called on US farmers and crop distributors to segregate. In an open letter to the Wall Street Journal they warn that EU countries will demand segregation if US companies do not volunteer it. The 1996 US harvest of genetically modified soya and maize could indeed be the last to be welcomed into Europe'" it stated. "US commodity agribusiness, from seed developer to farmer to elevator business, need to act rapidly and introduce streamed handling.

It also goes on to say unless they do this they "threaten the cause of biotechnology and it's huge potential for good"! The letter was sent out by the British Retail Consortium on behalf of the sector in Europe.

******DOWN ON THE FARM*******


In April, the National Farmers Union of England and Wales launched a Code of Practice on the handling of GM crops, including a statement that GM products should be labelled. Customers need to have confidence in the way their food is produced, said the NFU president.

The NFU code also calls on companies supplying GM crops to give additional advice and information to farmers, and demands labelling of GMO seed. A separate industry-wide code, drawn up by the British Society of Plant Breeders and the UK Agricultural Supply Trade Association, in conjunction with the NFU, is much weaker. Last month NGOs urged the NFU to be more forceful about segregation and liability. The search for clean sources of feeds and seeds must begin, if farmers are not to be at the mercy of manufacturers.

*Talk to farmers expressing the public's concern about GE. Look out for debates held by the NFU or local organic groups, run info stalls at agricultural shows, produce leaflets, do impromptu theatre. We are sure Mon$anto and pals will be attending,, and many farmers will be looking for more information.

Contact NFU, 22, Long Acre, London WC2, 0171-331 720.



In Canada recently Mon$anto recalled small quantities of Roundup Ready canola seed after finding it contained an unapproved gene by mistake. It had got through their rigorous quality-assurance, and had gone undetected for some time. Some of the seed had already been planted. Canadian government officials said the quantity recalled was 'not small'. Mon$anto have said We may never know how it happened.

Last year about 5% of all canola planted was GE herbicide-resistant. For 1997, industry is estimating a 25% rate. Meanwhile Canada is to join the US with their first season of biotech soyabeans planted this year.

GE insect-resistant potatoes from PEI also came on the market last year, unlabelled and therefore indistinguishable from other potatoes even though GE potatoes are now officially classified as pesticides, not food, even by the pro-business EPA in the US.

In the US, about 14% of the total soybean crop planted this year will be herbicide-resistant, Roundup Ready. This is a sharp increase from the 2% total in 1996. Roundup makes them about $1.5 billion per year.

GE foods that are on their way or awaiting approval, include apples, barley, sugar cane, tobacco, strawberries, peppers, squash, rice, sunflowers and papaya.............the list goes on!


The injunction preventing Mon$anto planting Glyphosate-resistant sugar beet in Ireland was lifted on 27th May, the beet was planted that same afternoon.

The injunction had been in place for 3 weeks following a court case brought by Clare Watson of Genetic Concern! There is a judicial review of the licence pending. Mon$anto have said that if it is revoked, they can destroy all their GE sugar beet; with a herbicide! Unless of course they are mysteriously destroyed before that!

There was an interesting quote from an affidavit used in the court case that said "if glyphosate cannot be used in Ireland, this will have detrimental effects on the environment in Ireland."  (Stephen Moll, Roundup Crop Director, Mon$anto Europe).

You can contact Genetic Concern! at 2d, Kylmore Industrial Estate, Dublin 10, Eire. Tel. +353-626-1652 or email



SERA (Socialist Environment & Resources Association) is a Labour-affiliated green pressure group, with many Labour MP members. It recently held its AGM where there was overwhelming support for a proposal to add "Food and Agriculture" to it's list of key policy areas to campaign on. To get involved, contact Joey Hughes, 0171-219 3417 (Tues/Thurs), or the SERA office, 0171-263 7389,

Any documents that mysteriously find their way into Super Heroes hands, should then be zapped to the SHAG websites X-files,, or sent anonymously to GEN.

President Clintons assistant for intergovernmental relations, Marcia Hale, has got a job with Mon$anto, coordinating public affairs and corporate strategy in the UK and Ireland, before returning to Monsanto's Washington office!

On May 23rd, the Environment Council facilitated workshops requested by Sainsbury's. The day was attended by biotech companies, retailers, consumer groups and NGOs. Workshops included 'Where to start a dialogue', 'Uncertainities' as well as what each of the groups can do in response to concern about GMO's and ways forward for each of these groups in response to concern about GMO's.

The phenylalanine in aspartame is genetically engineered - you can get lots of info from

Mon$anto have decided to stop using the terms environmentally friendly and biodegradable in advertising for products containing glyphosate after a legal challenge by New York State.

~~~~~~ FoE now have a new campaign - 'Food & Biotech' that will cover, among other things, GE (primarily related to food production and farm crop technologies). The campaign will be geared towards activity from local FoE groups. For more details, contact them on: 0171-566 1602 or 0113-242 8150.

Leaflets for handing out and briefing sheets for ourselves are much needed. If you want to write or contribute to one, leave a message on the GEN newsletter answering machine: 0181 374 9516

Not having learned the lesson from Europe's resistance to Ciba-Geigy's maize containing ampicillin, the John Innis Centre, Norwich, will soon be conducting field trials of GE wheat inserted with guessed it - ampicillin!

To get a list of your local mutant test site, aka the GMO Public Register, phone the Biotech Unit Research Programme at the DoE, 0171-276 8331, or check out:


Food Safety Minister Jeff Rooker said recently that all foods which may contain genetically modified ingredients must be labelled clearly to give consumers a real choice in what they buy". He went on to say that "Britain will be pressing at a European level for all foods to be labelled if they contain GM material". He welcomed the European Commissions proposal to make soya and maize subject to the same labelling requirements as other GM foods, but emphasised the need to do more.

The use of genetics to produce better quality food has tremendous advantages but it needs to be regulated and labelled properly. There is a six week consultation period, based on the James Report on food standards and food security going on right now and this will lay the groundwork for the future Independent Food Agency.

*The James Report is available on request from the Cabinet Press Office, 0171 270 0375 - take a look and let them know what you think, comments to Robin Webb, 70 Whitehall, London SW1A 2AS. Be quick as the consultation period ends on 20th June.

The new Agriculture Minister, Jack Cunningham, is also keen to know what the mood of consumers is. His address is MAFF, 3 Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2HH.



The EC Novel Foods and Novel Ingredients Regulations came into effect on May 15th 1997. The regulations require the labelling of all novel foods sold to the consumer where they are judged on the basis of a scientific assessment not to be equivalent to existing foods. Novel foods are also required to be labelled if they give rise to health or ethical concerns or if they contain live GMO's.

As genetically modified maize and soya had already been approved and marketed in the EC before the regulations came into force, they are exempt. However, the EC has recently announced a proposal to make these materials subject to the same labelling requirements.

According to EU Agriculture Commissioner, Franz Fischler, GMO crops should be segregated, and products containing GMO's should be labelled, he says this on his very own webpage, under the title "Genetically Modified or Not? The answer is the consumers choice".

POsSESSION Soon every living thing could have a patent on it. The European Parliaments legal affairs committee is currently discussing the Directive on the Legal Protection for Biotechnological Inventions (the Life Patent Directive). They are not talking about Pyramid Tea Bags, they're talking animals, plants and human genes.

To ensure that their massive research and development costs are recouped, the biotech industry want patent rights on their inventions. If this is allowed to go ahead genes will be the currency of the future, to quote Smith Kline Beecham. It will also mean more GE being forced onto an unwilling consumer, more cloning, more GE animals, loss of farmers rights and biodiversity, as well as an even greater concentration of power in the hands of transnational corporations.

Contact the No Patents on Life Campaign for more information, sample letters, declaration of principles, 0171 923 9511. Or A SEED, PO Box 92066, 1090 AB, Amsterdam, Netherlands, for their European Patent Directive action pack.


The marketing and release of Novartis genetically modified Bt maize continues to be opposed by Austria, Luxembourg and Italy, using a safeguard clause known as Article 16 which allows a temporary ban if a product is a risk to human health or the environment.

The EC is hoping the issue will die down over time, without them having to directly challenge these blocks. The decision on Austria has been postponed past the 3 month deadline, with decisions on Italy and Luxemburg expected this month. EU members have been under intense pressure from the States to tow the line on this issue.

* Now is an excellent time to ask the UK government to support these other countries, and ban it here also: Michael Meacher, Minister for Environmental Protection, Dept. of the Environment, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London SW1E 5DU

For more info on Bt maize, GMO politics, contact Ian Taylor, Greenpeace, Canonbury Villas, London N1 2PN, 0171-865 8247 ****** FRANKEN-LABS****** PIG - HUMAN - PIG

Remember the press stories, in September 1995, suggesting the first pig-to-human heart transplants by Spring 1996? Well it hasn't happened yet.

The pigs were genetically engineered to have human-like hearts, which were then transplanted into monkeys - some survived around 60 days. The monkeys kept their own healthy hearts as well, and got immunosuppressant drugs at levels toxic to humans. Furthermore, pigs have a natural life span of 15 years, ageing more quickly than humans - how useful will a pigs heart be to a human?

A paper, published in the March Nature Medicine, describes a retrovirus (the group of viruses that includes HIV) from pigs that can infect, and replicate in, human cells. Following replication, the virus becomes resistant to attack by the host cells immune system. The scientists say that the transfer of dangerous viruses from pigs into the human population is plausible, rather than a fanciful scare story.

In January, the Department of Health published the findings of the Kennedy Committee on animal to human transplants. It confirmed Compassion in World Farmings view that animal welfare will be compromised by engineering pigs for human transplant operations. The report describes the subjection of pigs to artificial insemination and surgical removal of embryos, with piglets being born via hysterectomy or hysterotomy, and reared in an isolated environment, in biosecure rooms.

Not surprising, therefore, that a survey published in the April medical journal The Lancet, found that less than half of surveyed patients suffering from kidney failure were willing to accept an animal organ as a transplant, and less than half of these patients, who were potential or actual transplant recipients, believed it appropriate to breed animals to provide organs for transplant into humans.

*Write to the Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon Frank Dobson, Department of Health, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS


In February, scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland announced the arrival of Dolly - a cloned lamb. Dolly was produced by adding udder-cell genes from an adult sheep to another sheep's egg-cell whose own genes had been removed. Cattle have already been cloned many times. Calves are often abnormally large at birth. Last years Rosin experiments which produced 2 other cloned sheep had the same problems, and had malformed internal organs. In the recent experiments which produced Dolly, 148 out of 156 implanted embryos failed to survive.

Cloning requires a lot of surgical intervention - to remove the egg-cells, to implant the cloned embryos in foster mother sheep (killed six days later), and then to implant the embryos into the surrogate mother ewes. Roslin scientists have said in the press that in 20 years time, 85% of British cattle could be cloned. These genetically identical animals would, of course, be identically susceptible to disease. If one animal in a herd became infected, the disease could sweep like wildfire, wiping out all the herd, and wiping out the farmers livelihood with it.

Already, without cloning, livestock breeds are disappearing at a rate of 5% a year - that's six breeds every month. In Europe, half of all the breeds of domestic animals which existed in 1900 are gone. The cloning of farm animals represents a huge additional threat to a biodiversity which is already under siege.

Cloning has opened an ethical can of worms for no useful purpose. It is bad news for animals and farmers alike.

Elsewhere, a US federal ethics commission are to recommend that Congress legislate to allow the creation of cloned human embryos, for private research - of course, it would be breaking the law if the embryo were to be implanted into a womb!


*******ACT UP!*******


On April 21st 1997, as part of the Global Days of Action against GE Foods, more than fifty people occupied the British HQ in High Wycombe. Banners were hung from the roof as they took over the building. Despite being told not to by 'superiors', staff engaged in conversation with the anti-gene consumers about the company's misdeeds, and some seemed genuinely worried by what they learnt.

There were no arrests - "they have not committed any crime," said one policeman. It was unsure whether he meant Mon$anto or their uninvited guests!

It later turned out that at the very same time as the UK occupation was going on, the US head office of Mon$anto was being occupied by anti-gene folk!

*If you want to visit Mon$anto: Crop Business Unit, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire HP12 4HL, tel. 01494-474918 or their consumer number is: 0345-023288.


On 23 April 1997, the Super Heroes struck again, this time taking over the phonelines and office of the Soyabean Information line. Provided by a PR company, this is meant to give impartial info on GE soyabeans, and maybe all GE in the future. It is funded by Mon$anto and other Mon$anto-funded bodies. Captain Chromosone and cronies borrowed documents, and quipped the public has a right to know. This is not an offence as long as the owner is not permanently deprived of anything, which would constitute theft.

You can check out the X-files for yourself:

*Soyabean Information Centre, 59, Russell Square, London WC1B 4HJ, 0345-023288



Synchronicity! On 8th June, just five days after the action in Germany, in what is believed to be the UKs first NVDA on a GM-test site, the Super Heroes Against Genetix decided to play cricket on a GE potato test field site just outside Cambridge. Due to the nature of a somewhat muddy and sticky wicket, potatoes replaced the traditional red ball. Fielders had a difficult time of it - most of the batting resulting in the balls being smashed to pieces, or else being lost amongst upturned soil. The entire GM crop was destroyed.

This action is seen by some as the first in a whole string of actions against such sites in the UK and marks a further development in the campaign against GM produce. When

contacted about the action, Norman Killiam (Development Director at Plant Breeders International, in Cambridge) was initially stumped by the scoreline: "This comes as a complete surprise to me - I don't see how this is possible. On checking the site on Monday morning, Mr Killiam predictably denied that the destroyed potatoes had been Genetically Manipulated, but said instead that the potatoes had been normal". The use of the word normal of course begs the question; do PBI themselves consider GM-potatoes to be abnormal? The GM potatoes contained an antibiotic resistance gene.

As one Super Hero said, Growing genetically manipulated crops has already led to genetically manipulated plants cross breeding with wild relatives. Who knows what this genetic pollution could lead to.

Photographs and more details of the Test Match can be viewed on the SHAG website


Supermarket actions have been happening countrywide, and during the Global Week of Action alone, around 30 supermarkets saw actions against GE food. Most followed the theme of filling trolleys full of produce, bringing them to the tills, realising they may contain GM soya, refusing to pay, and asking to see the manager whilst others leafleted customers in dashing Super Hero outfits.

The supermarkets are one of the most effective ways of getting the message about GM food to the wider public. Many customers react to the information immediately by going straight in to talk to the store manager about GE. This has already had a surprisingly fast effect on some supermarkets (such as Sainsbury's and Tesco) who in turn have begun to put pressure on US producers and growers to segregate GE crops.

*Keep the pressure on, demand GE free shopping. Safeway are big promoters of GE. Other ideas are petitions, stalls displaying anything that could contain GMO's, street theatre or whatever you can think of. For more details on these actions or more ideas contact: 0171-561 9146. WEN's Test Tube Harvest campaign has leaflets available for customers if you do not want to make your own, 0171-247 9924.


After all that you can at least be assured of a GE-free diet by eating organic ....until that is the genetic pollution blows onto neighbouring crops organic crops!

Organic farmers have voluntarily been avoiding GMO's as they do not want them in any shape or form. The European Commission as well as the European Parliament has accepted proposals that GMO's should be banned in organic farming practices, and now the hope is that the European Council will also agree. Even then it could still take up to a year to implement, but in the meantime organic farmers will continue their voluntary ban, and keep the pressure on Europe for the ban to become law.



... we have got mandatory labelling! Complete and utter victory - every food with GM origin is boldly and frighteningly labelled.

But ... Mon$anto have gone bust and been bought out by Richard Branson, who starts producing trees that grow condoms. All the other corporations have between them captured 15% of the food market with their most popular mutants, and have now moved on to non-food GM. (Come on, in any poll there's always around 15% who don't know anything - they will buy the stuff!)


"Hello, were doing a campaign to ban GMO's. Oh no, I'm not interested, thanks. I buy the ones without the labels."

So now you have to explain to the public all the really difficult to understand 'other things' the biotech corporations are doing with their monsters. The soil-changing microbes, all the things that are not inserted directly into food plants.

Well bloody hell, why didn't you tell me all that earlier when you were campaigning for labelling? - In fact, why should I believe you, when you lied to me before?

They are too busy. They throw away your leaflets because there is just no way you can make them simple or attractive enough for them to understand what you're saying. This is already a problem with something as simple as BT.

Won't you wish you'd taken the plunge 5 years earlier, and knocked the whole thing on the head?




An experimental crop of oilseed rape, owned by the US based biotech corporation Monsanto, has been destroyed by local residents in a DIY public protest at a farm near Coventry.

The action took place "in the interests of public safety" on the evening of Wednesday 6th August at Tibs Hall Farm, Kingsbury near Tamworth, Staffs. The genetically altered crop containing mutant DNA was uprooted from its experimental plot by people wearing protective clothing. The plants were then broken before being mixed together with 'normal' plants to invalidate the experiment's results.

In a statement issued this morning, local people said: "The mutant DNA in this crop could easily spread to the surrounding area either through cross pollination or through virus infection. No-one can guarantee that this will not happen."

The statement went onto say: "Our natural world is being tampered with for private profit and it is only a matter of time before something goes seriously wrong. We are not prepared to see the people and plants of Staffordshire - or anywhere else in the UK - used as guinea pigs in somebody else's experiment."

Despite Monsanto's claims that their field trials of genetically engineered crops are entirely risk-free, several studies have shown that the pollen of transgenic oilseed rape can cross-pollinate with traditional or wild species, spreading the genetic pollution.

Critics of Genetic Engineering say that new patent laws are giving the inventors of genetically engineered crops a dangerous level of control over our food supply. Concerns have also been raised by scientists that say genetic engineering - the process of combining genetic material from unrelated species - is inherently unsafe, and could lead to the production of new toxins in food crops or even spark off allergies in consumers. "Once the genetic cat is out of the bag," says one geneticist, "there is nothing you can do to put it back in. Genetic pollution is the one form of pollution that is almost guaranteed to increase exponentially over time as transgenic plants escape into the wild and interbreed."



  • On April 21st 1997 activists occupied the High Wycombe headquarters of the Monsanto Corporation for an afternoon, hanging banners from the roof and forcing the company to explain its refusal to allow genetically modified soybeans to be kept separate from natural beans. This protest was part of a Global Week of Action against genetic engineering and was followed on 23rd April by a take-over of the offices and phones of the Soyabean Information Line. Supposedly set up to give impartial information, the Information Line is a public relations front for Monsanto - as files discovered in the office proved.
  • In Germany the campaign against genetic engineering has already been taken to the fields where testing is carried out. In 1996 at least 12 fields were destroyed by protesters, and action by local people stopped the planting of several more. Four fields are currently being squatted full-time by German activists determined to stop them being planted with Monsanto's herbicide-resistant sugar beet.
  • On 16 July the European Parliament bowed to industry pressure and voted in favour of the Directive on the Legal Protection for Biotechnological Inventions, despite facing fierce opposition from a broad coalition of consumers, green parties, churches and other ethical groups. A Green Party press release said: "The patenting of plant and animal genes will reduce genetic diversity, harm the environment and allow a few companies to control the markets. Nature will be viewed as no more than the means of making money at the expense of us all."
  • A recent survey conducted by the London School of Economics showed that most consumers do not trust their governments to protect them from the possible dangers of genetically modified food. The survey, conducted across the European Union by George Gasket, showed most people want labelling on such products and are worried about the moral implications of genetically engineering animals.
  • Another activist group, calling themselves 'The Super Heroes Against Genetics', have a Web site which gives further information about their activities and also circulates information about genetic engineering which biotechnology companies have tried to suppress. It is accessible on




Update, c/o PO Box 9656, London N4 4NL
email, contact Phone: 0181-374 9516 (answering machine) To subscribe to the rts genetics information email list, contact, subject: "subscribe genetics" Visit the Super Heroes Against Genetics website at:

Genetic ID, which is the company in the USA that tests foods to see if they are genetically engineered has a new website, which describes how foods are tested etc. This fabulous website is:

For genetics info on the web check out: http:///

Reclaim the Streets
PO BOX 9656, London, N4 4JY, 0171 281 4621( this tel number is not for Genetics info)

back to homepage back top next page

urban75 - community - action - mag - photos - tech - music - drugs - punch - football - offline club - brixton - london - new york - useless - boards - help/FAQs - © - design - contact - sitemap - search