An experimental crop of rapeseed (canola), owned by the US based biotech corporation Monsanto, has been destroyed by local residents in a “Do It Yourself” public protest at a farm near Coventry, England.
The action took place in the interests of public safety on the evening of Wednesday August 6 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.
Our natural world is being tampered with for private profit. 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 rapeseed plants can cross-pollinate with traditional or wild species, spreading the genetic pollution.
The campaign against genetic engineering has also taken to the fields in Germany 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.