STOP THE CROP
Rally Destroys GE Test Site
from NottFIN 14 22nd July '99
500 Peaceful Protesters Decontaminate a 24 acre Farm Size Trial as Resistance to Genetix Grows.
Mass anger at Biotech Giants expressed as 500 protesters from the stop the crop rally, trashed 24 acres of genetically modified Spring Oilseed Rape. The day started off in joyous sunshine with about 700 people meeting in a field, owned by a friendly local farmer, opposite the test site. 600 White decontamination suits with dust masks were handed out, and all were donned. People of all ages and backgrounds, from activists through families to grannies, lounged around in the sun, visited the displays, fed from the great array of catering supplied by Veggies and Eco trip and listened to the speeches.
There were speeches covering all angles of Genetix, from food health and damage to the environment to the attacks on small scale peasant farming in the third world and damage to the organic sector.
A lot of details were revealed as to the scientific inadequacy of this farm size experiment, one of seven set up by the government to "investigate potential damage to the environment caused by a farm size field of GMO".
This was the governments response to the anger expressed on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified crops grown on experimental trials to investigate the commercial potential of these crops. These experiments however are just another step in the legitimising process of GMO's. Another step towards commercialisation.
This supposed rigid scientific experiment is flawed in some very basic ways. They have never done a base line study to check what wildlife is present in the area to compare the results to. They are only checking levels of insect life and not soil microbiology, or mammal life in the area. The half of the field with the GMO in has trees in the middle, which are pockets of wildlife havens and will increase the amount of wildlife relative to the other half, the control crop.
Apart from all these flaws, the biggest problem is that these experiments need to occur in closed environments, and not out where the damage can occur. So a crowd of inspired and very fired up people, left the rally site and marched over the road to surround the crop. Once the crowd got so close to the crop, a mutual decision spontaneously occurred, the crop had to go.
Despite the press reports this action was not just the whim of some extremist minority in the group, virtually everyone at the rally decided to enter the field and start decontaminating the crop. A great mix of people danced, rolled, scythed, pulled and played throughout the field for about two hours with minimum interference from the police.
On two occasions the police did enter the field and snatched squaded two people, who were separate from the rest of the crowd and were not wearing decontamination suits and so could be identified as having destroyed some of the crop. On both occasions the crowd surrounded the police, but never managed to de-arrest the individuals. however the police were pushed back off site and looked visibly frightened, which discouraged them from trying this again.
This is the second farm size trail to be decontaminated so far [the third now that Norfolk has gone], the first having been destroyed by the farmer who planted it. There is only one Oil Seed Rape site left in the country, located at Boothby Grafffoe research station in Lincolnshire....