13 July 2000
Activists attack high-profile GM crop

By Isabel Davies

ACTIVISTS have attacked a trial of genetically modified crops on land belonging to a farmers leader working closely with biotechnology companies.

The two-hectare (five-acre) plot of GM oilseed rape at Wood Farm, Hemel Hempstead, is believed to have been targeted on the night of Tuesday (11 July).

Farmer Bob Fiddaman was growing the crop for the biotechnology company Aventis. It appeared the site was rolled with wooden logs tied together with ropes.

Mr Fiddaman is the National Farmers Union representative on the Supply Chain Initiative on Modified Agricultural Crops (SCIMAC).

He is working with SCIMAC, the industry-led body set up by GM companies to help oversee the commercial introduction of GM crops.

Scientists are assessing damage to the crop, Mr Fiddaman told Farmers Weekly. It was drilled in May and is one of two trials he hosting this year.

A statement sent by the activists to the press said: “We make no apologies for infringing the rights of Aventis, the worlds biggest biotechnology company, and of the farmer Mr Bob Fiddaman, a willing tool of the agrochemical company.”

The statement added: “Our action is practical rejection of the priority of commercial profit over human and environmental safety.”

This latest attack brings to three the number of GM oilseed rape trials which have now been attacked within the past seven days.