21 September 1998
Eco-warriors sidestep Monsanto injunction

By Johann Tasker

ECO-WARRIORS yesterday focused their war against genetically modified crops on plants other than those protected by a High Court injunction won by the Monsanto company late last week.

A blanket injunction granted on Friday afternoon (18 September, 1998) means anyone inciting people to uproot Monsantos GM crops in England now faces a prison sentence. The judgment is one of the most wide-ranging injunctions ever granted by a British court.

Monsanto sought the injunction after protesters belonging to the group Genetix Snowball uprooted plants at a number of the companys 60 experimental test sites.

But two groups of protesters closely linked to Genetix Snowball yesterday (Sunday) targeted GM crops they claim are out of reach of the injunction.

The protesters objectives were crops which either belonged to a company other than Monsanto or which were in Scotland and hence not covered by English legislation.

About 40 Genetix Snowball protesters gathered outside offices belonging to AgrEvo at East Winch, Norfolk. AgrEvo is one of Monsantos competitors and is currently developing its own GM crop varieties.

The Norfolk protesters planted organic seeds and staged a “die-in” on the steps of the AgrEvo offices. Another group performed a play highlighting what they claimed were the dangers of GM crops.

“The point of our action is to shift the spotlight onto a company other than Monsanto which so far has received most of the attention,” said Genetix Snowball spokesman Andrew Wood.

Mr Wood, who is also a local press officer for Friends of the Earth, was one of six people named on the Monsanto injunction. The other people named were five women who uprooted GM oilseed rape plants belonging to Monsanto on 4 July in Oxfordshire.

In a separate incident yesterday afternoon, three people were arrested after nine environmental protesters calling themselves Scottish Genetix Snowball tried to take soil samples from a farm growing GM potatoes in Fife, Scotland.

The GM potatoes were being grown in poly-tunnels and form part of a Monsanto-owned experiment.

Jacklyn Sheedy, spokeswoman for the Genetic Engineering Network, said the protesters in Scotland were attempting a “citizens inspection” of the Monsanto test site when they were arrested.

“Despite Monsanto slapping a blanket injunction on people pulling up their crops in the name of Genetix Snowball, we can only imagine that action against their sites will continue to spread,” said Ms Sheedy.