Activists destroy Monsanto GM trials

Leader José Bové claims ‘job well done’ as biotech firm announces all its 2008 trials have been ruined.

20 August 2008

Biotech firm Monsanto is pursuing court action after all its GM trials in France were destroyed by environmental activists.

Two trials of the MON810 maize strain, which has subsequently been banned from the country, were torn up by green campaigners lead by former presidential candidate and anti-globalisation activist José Bové.

According to the Le Monde newspaper 100 people helped to destroy a field in la Vienne under the view of gendarmes who made no attempt to intervene but took photos.

Bové said that all those who took part were volunteers who were ready to take responsibility and accept punishment for their actions. He said he was “satisfied with the work achieved”.

“More than ever, this is the hour for action and fighting against all forms of GM crops, for the rights of our citizens to protect the country’s biodiversity,” he said.

Bové is already scheduled to stand trial with other activists and several courts in France in the coming months for similar acts of vandalism.

Earlier this year a new GM bill made destroying crops punishable by two years in prison.

The director of Monsanto France, Laurent Martel, said: “A country which allows a handful of luddites to wreck private research and all the promises of progress it brings for the future is letting down its citizens and consumers.”

He said the “sad conclusion” of this “media spectacle” was “almost irretrievable delay” to French scientific research.

Mr Martel said that it was the first year that all trials had been destroyed and added that all the crops had received the appropriate permission from the Ministry of Agriculture.

The prefecture of la Vienne confirmed that the fields had contained MON810 strains which were nearing the end of their trials. This type of maize was banned on February 9.

Photo: Flickr/Shareski

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