THE GREENPEACE ship Esperanza is reported to have intercepted the bulk carrier Golden Lion, 140 nautical miles off the coast of Portugal on Tuesday (January 25).
According to Greenpeace, the Golden Lion is transporting 30,000 tons of genetically modified soya beans from Argentina to France.
Onboard the Esperanza are also leading representatives of the French farmers movement Confédération Paysanne (part of Via Campesina) and the Les Faucheurs Volontaires d‘OGM activist collective.
The Golden Lion is expected to arrive in Lorient, France, Friday this week (w/e Jan 28).
The cargo of soya beans onboard the ship is destined for use in animal feed.
“Millions of tons of genetically engineered soy are imported each year to feed cattle, hogs and poultry in Europe.
“This is a slap in face for all European citizens who have rejected GMOs in their food,” said Arnaud Apoteker, of Greenpeace France.
The environmental organisation pointed out that while public opposition in Europe has forced food producers and retailers not to use GM ingredients directly in food, a loophole in EU labelling legislation means that eggs, meat and dairy products from animals fed with GMOs do not have to be labelled.
“As a consequence food producers are able to hide the use of GMO soya and maize in animal feed from consumers,” the statement said.
Together the three organisations demand a ban on the import of GMOs to France, and specifically call on the ports of Brittany to reject GMO imports in line with the wishes of the regional government, which recently declared its intention to become a GMO-free zone.
“GMO crops represent the ugly head of destructive industrial agriculture, threatening both the environment and the livelihoods of small farmers,” said farmer Jose Bové.
“We denounce the increasing dominance of a few transnational GMO seed and pesticide companies over the world‘s farmers.
“We want to end this sick trade cycle where European farmers have become dependent on dirty protein crops shipped across the Atlantic.”
“GMOs simply have no place in sustainable agriculture or in quality food production,” Mr Bové said.