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ECO-CHICKENS SHUT DOWN IMPORTER OF GM SOYA
From Greenpeace, 20th November 2000,
At 8.00 am on Monday Nov 20, sixty Greenpeace volunteers dressed as pantomime chickens invaded and shut down the UK's only GM soya mill. The invasion comes the day after fast food chain McDonalds announced that it was to ban meat from animals fed on GM in its UK stores.
The plant at Gladstone Docks, Liverpool, is the main gateway for GM crop imports into the UK and processes both GM and normal soya. Most of the crop is mixed into animal feed, while oil extracted from the beans is sold for use in food such as crisps and biscuits. Neither GM animal feed or GM derivatives in food are required to be labelled.
Greenpeace accuses Cargill, the multinational company running the plant, of sneaking GM crops into the UK foodchain. The volunteers intend to continue the occupation until the company agrees to stop GM imports into the UK and makes the Liverpool facility GM free. The chickens were concealed in four trucks which were driven into the plant through the main gate.
The trucks were immobilised, blocking the weigh-stations used by grain trucks as they enter and leave the site. Sixty chickens then burst out of the back of the trucks and dispersed across the facility. Many have now chained themselves to equipment in the plant.
A team of Greenpeace climbers also scaled and shut down a 40-metre-high conveyor belt, which transports soya from silos to the crushing plant. After attaching a 'GM INSIDE' banner to the mechanism they set up camp in a Portaledge (a small tent suspended over the side of the conveyor belt). Cargill security workers are present at the scene and attempting to round up chickens.
"Most people don't know that GM is still being sneaked into our food chain by being dumped into the feed of animals like chickens. By continuing these GM imports, Cargill is ignoring valid public concerns about the effects of feeding GM crops to animals and the environmental risks involved in growing them.
This one plant is responsible for importing almost all the GM soya that enters the UK foodchain. If Cargill ends these imports and stops contaminating our animal feed supply, they will be satisfying both the public and the majority of food producers and retailers who want food that is GM free". Emma Gibson/Greenpeace.
A recent opinion poll by NOP, commissioned by Greenpeace, found that 67% of consumers wanted an end to the practice of feeding GM crops to animals. 90% thought that products from animals raised on GM crops should be labelled. Iceland, Tesco, Sainsbury, CWS, Asda and Marks and Spencer have all committed to the removal of GM from animal feed.
For up to date information on the progress of the action anr for additional background on the protest and the issue of GM ingredients being used in animal feed go to the Greenpeace UK website - www.greenpeace.org.uk/
As a result of UK consumer rejection of GM food and the failure of the US grain industry to segregate GM from non-GM crops, exports of soya from the US to UK have tailed off dramatically in the past three years. The US Department of Agriculture predicts that in 2000 their soya exports to the UK will be as low as 150,000 tonnes - down from 500,000 tonnes in 1998. To check if there's GM in your shopping basket: www.greenpeace.org.uk/gm