Following the controversial UK government approval of genetically engineered (GE) maize for commercial planting, the only company authorized to grow GE maize has withdrawn its application. It now appears unlikely the UK will see any commercialised GE crops before 2008.
We protested against GE maize in 1999 - 5 years later Bayer withdraws the crop from the UK.
Bayer CropScience, a German company authorised to plant an
herbicide-resistant variety of maize known as Chardon LL, said
regulations on how and where the crop could be planted would make
it "economically non-viable."
LL was the variety of maize that 28 Greenpeace volunteers uprooted
in Norfolk in 1999 when the crop was undergoing field trials. The
activists were acquitted of charges of criminal damage when the
court agreed they were acting in the interest of protecting the
Sarah North of Greenpeace UK says that "Anyone who cares about
the British countryside will be delighted by this announcement. The
only GE crop with a government green light now doesn't even have
the support of its manufacturer. Tony Blair bent over backwards to
get this crop grown, but Bayer knew its maize would fail in the
field. Without the help of a powerful chemical herbicide recently
banned in Europe, Britain's first GE crop would have been a flop.
That's why it's been abandoned."
GE Maize was the last great hope of the GE industry to invade
Britain. The UK government has already turned down requests to
commercially plant GE rapeseed (canola) and beets. With Bayer's
retreat, the anti-GE forces have won a significant victory.
Some of the world's most powerful companies and one of the
world's most powerful governments have remained steadfastly
determined to get GE crops grown commercially in the UK, despite
massive public resistance campaigns which have:
- removed GE from all human foods sold in the UK
- removed GE from nearly all poultry and pig feed
- reduced the number of GE field trials from over 300 locations
per year to currently zero
- caused Monsanto to leave the UK
This is a great victory for the thousands and thousands of people
who have taken online action, shopped selectively to avoid GE
products, spent cold nights pulling up crops, long weekends talking
to shoppers and farmers, and years of emotional and intellectual
energy countering the bullying, lobbying power and financial clout
of the gene giants.
Well done, everyone.
What remains? Banning GE from animal feed in the UK. Visit the
"There's something scary in the dairy" and take action now.