SnowBall archive


GE - Wild Greens Attack GE Potatoes

Genetic Engineering Network
Tel. 0181 374 9516



The Genetic Engineering Network has today received news that a group calling
themselves “Wild Greens” has uprooted a field trial of GE potatoes in
Canterbury, New Zealand. The trial was part of a 10-year experimental
to assess the safety of GE potatoes for commercial use and was destroyed
the night of Wednesday 10th March. The decontamination has set the programme
back by at least 12 months.

The potatoes concerned were genetically engineered to contain the genes of the
African clawed toad, designed to give resistance to soft rot bacteria. The
“Wild Greens” fear the development of antibiotic resistance in animals and
humans, if such crops are commercialised. Engineering animal genes in to a
vegetable also raises fundamental ethical questions.

The “Wild Greens” belong to the radical youth wing of the New Zealand Green
Party. Co- leader of the Greens Jeanette Fitzsimons commented that whilst she
could understand the sense of frustration that the group to break the law she
could not condone such action.

Meanwhile in the UK preparations are under way to put Genetic Engineering on
trial. Two court cases involving activists who have decontaminated test sites
will be heard. 

Two people are charged with “conspiracy to commit criminal damage” for pulling
up GE herbicide resistant maize at Hood Barton Farm, near Totnes, Devon on 3rd
August 1998. The GE test site was adjacent to the organic farm owned by Guy
Watson. The defendants will argue that their action was justified to prevent
damage to Guy Watson’s farm. The case starts in Plymouth Crown Court, Devon on
March 29th. A large demonstration of support is expected on this day. The
is expected to last for 3 weeks.

In the 2nd Case 5 defendants from Genetix Snowball and their press office face
Monsanto in the Civil Courts. Monsanto are seeking injunctions against the
group and its “members”, to prevent further damage to their test sites. This
case follows the uprooting of herbicide resistant oilseed rape at Model Farm,
Watlington, Oxford on 4th July1998. This case will be heard on 19th-20th April
in London and again their will be demonstrations of support.

Open actions against Genetic test sites in the UK will take place on 17th
1999 at a number of locations.  These will be form part of the Global Days of
Action against Genetic Engineering which have been called between 15th-30th
April 1999.


Editors Notes

· Information on the New Zealand Action taken from Radio New Zealand News

· For more information on the Devon Case contact 01803 840098

· For information on the Genetix Snowball Case contact  0973 953446

· There are currently between 30  40 active field trial sites in the UK.
List of
potentially active sites available from GEN or Genetix Snowball.

· Open Actions against test sites in the UK are planned for the 17th April
year  contact Genetix Snowball  0161 834 0295

The Genetic Engineering Network facilitates information exchange between
different groups and individuals campaigning against Genetic Engineering.
are currently over 40 autonomous local groups working on this issue across the

Return-Path: <> 
Received: from ( []) 
Subject: Wild Greens Attack Genetically Engineered Potatoes 

> Wild Greens Attack Genetically Engineered Potatoes 
> Thursday, 11 March 
> 1999, 2:32 pm 
> Staff Reporter: Greg Meylan 
> A group of environmental activists calling themselves the "Wild 
> Greens" have uprooted a crop of genetically engineered potatoes being 
> field tested in Canterbury, New Zealand. 
> The potatoes have been genetically engineered to contain the 
> genes of the African clawed toad in order to give them resistance to 
> the soft rot bacteria. 
> The potatoes were being field tested by Crop and Food who say 
> their trial has been set back a year by the attack. 
> The Wild Greens say they fear eating such a potato could lessen 
> the effectiveness of antibiotics. 
> Green party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says the Wild Greens 
> are party members who belong to its radical youth wing and that she 
> understands the sense of frustration that has led them to break the 
> law but that she does not condone such action. 
> The Wild Greens raided the Crop and Food site last night, 
> pulling up the potatoes and damaging some equipment. 
> Chief Executive for Crop and Food, Dr Michael Dunbier, says the 
> trial is part of a ten year research programme to assess the safety of 
> genetically engineered potatoes for commercial use. 
> The institute, has asked police to investigate the attack. 
> (Combining the resources of Radio New Zealand News)