20 November 2000
Greenpeace invades GM soya plant

By FWi staff

GREENPEACE activists are continuing to occupy a 40m-high conveyer belt in protest at imports of genetically modified crops.

Climbers scaled the belt, which transports soya from silos to a crushing plant, at the Cargill mill at Gladstone Docks, Liverpool, on Monday (20 November) morning.

A diversion was created by 60 protesters dressed as pantomime chickens, who arrived concealed in trucks which were then immobilised to block weigh-stations.

A Greenpeace spokesman said the chicken protesters had now been rounded up by security guards and two of their four trucks had been removed.

But he said the other activists on the conveyor belt would stay “as long as they are able to”, although the weather was worsening.

Greenpeace say the Cargill plant is the UKs only GM soya mill and the main gateway for GM crop imports into the UK.

GM soya is mixed into animal feed, while oil extracted from the beans is sold for use in food such as crisps and biscuits.

Neither GM animal feed nor GM derivatives in food have to be labelled.

Greenpeace accuses Cargill, the multinational company running the plant, of sneaking GM crops into the UK food chain.

The group is calling on Cargill to stop GM imports into the UK and make the Liverpool facility GM-free.

Cargill said the occupation was not disrupting operations, but said if there was any concern about safety, then a decision would have to be taken.

Cargill spokeswoman Geraldine OShea told the Ananova website that the company made no secret that it was importing GM soya.

She said: “Cargills position is that we are bringing in what our customers require. That includes both non-GM and GM soya.

“We have acted very openly about that and what we are doing is legal.”

Cargill, which has been operating in the UK since 1955, employs around 5000 people in plant and offices nationwide.