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2-Plants: GM farmer in UK destroys field trial

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TITLE:  GM farmer destroys trial site
SOURCE: Friends of the Earth UK, press release
DATE:   June 8, 1999

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FOE calls on Government to be better trustees of the UK

The first farm-scale GM trial site to be planted in the UK has
been destroyed by the farm owner, it was revealed today. Captain
Fred Barker, of Lushill Farm, Hannington near Swindon, ordered
the destruction of 25 acres of GM oilseed rape over the weekend
following objections to the GM crop from the farm trustees. The
farm was in the news earlier in the year when Friends of the
Earth revealed that the GM crop had been planted, despite the
fact that the company responsible for the crop, AgrEvo, had
failed to advertise the planting in a local paper as required by
Government regulations.

Pete Riley, Food campaigner at Friends of the Earth said: "The
destruction of this crop is further evidence of the increasing
concern over GM crops. Whilst Friends of the Earth is not opposed
in principle to scientific trials of GM crops we believe that the
current farm-scale trials and the other GM tests taking place
around the UK pose an unacceptable risk to the environment and
will not provide the information neccesary to prove their safety
or otherwise. The Government should be better trustees of the
countryside and call a five year freeze on GM food and crops. GM
trials should only take place under strict controls."

Jean Saunders of Swindon Friends of the Earth said: "Local people
will be delighted that Mr Barker has destroyed this crop - we
have had unprecedented support in the town since we discovered
that he was growing GM crops some weeks ago. We believe that, in
AgrEvo's rush to push ahead with this first farm-scale trial,
Captain Barker was badly advised about the dangers of genetic
pollution. We congratulate the trustees for taking the cautious
approach and stopping this trial." Friends of the Earth has a
number of concerns with the farm-scale trials and the GM trial
sites currently being grown around the country. These include
inadequate pollen barriers to protect neighbouring farmers and
wildlife, failure to consult adequately on the scientific design
of the trials and failure to survey wildlife before the trials

Friends of the Earth
26-28 Underwood Street
London N1 7JQ
Tel: +44 171 490 1555
Fax: +44 0171 490 0881

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