info4action archive





Date: September 17, 1999 Contact: Jeffrey Tufenkian 619-584-6462

Fourth US Anti-GE Action This Week

The underground group calling themselves "Reclaim the Seeds" made its third
attack in recent weeks on University of California-Davis (UCD) genetic
engineering (GE) crops on Wednesday or Thursday according to an anonymous
communiqué released today.
In the fourth attack against GE test sites this week in the US, concerned
citizens decontaminated approximately 7 acres of a "Frankenfood" corn
research test crop, this time belonging to Michael Freeling, a UC professor
of "maize developmental genetics."
The University of California system conducts more GE research than any
other, according to the communiqué.  "We are risking jail and injury, as
well as sacrificing time, energy and sleep, because of a profound sense of
the sacredness of life. We believe that protecting the result of more than
three billion years of evolution is a duty to ourselves, all living beings,
and the generations to come."
The heroic action by Reclaim the Seeds is part of a growing worldwide
rejection of genetically engineered (GE) crops and of the handful of
transnational corporations like Monsanto, Novartis and DuPont which are
attempting to manipulate the future of the world's agriculture and food
supply in order to bolster their own profits.  In the last year there have
been over forty acts of crop destruction in Great Britain, others in India
and at least ten such actions in the US since the spring-two in California
in late July and one each in Vermont, California and Maine in August, two in
Minnesota and three in California this month.
Details of past anti-GE actions are available at
Genetix Alert is an independent news center which works with other
above-ground, anti-genetic engineering organizations.  GA has no knowledge
of the person(s) who carryout any underground actions.  GA does not advocate
illegal acts, but seeks to explain why people destroy genetically engineered
crops and undertake other nonviolent actions aimed at resisting genetic
engineering and increasing the difficulty for entities which seek to advance
genetic engineering or its products.  GA spokespeople are available for
media interviews.

Reporters and other interested parties may contact Genetix Alert at:
phone: 619-584-6462, fax: 619-528-1449
PO Box 3992, San Diego, CA 92163, USA
contact: Jeffrey Tufenkian

(communiqué and directions follow)

Directions to the site:
For media and interested individuals, the leveled plot is located in Davis
just South (behind) of the UCD Veg-Crop Field Headquarters on Hutchison Rd.,
3rd planting block South of the buildings on right, where the Southern end
of the olive tree bike path stops and just East of the University airport.
Two previous crop-pull sites of corn and sugar beets are in nearby fields as

Reclaim the Seeds Communiqué, September 16, 1999

It's harvest time in California. The anti-genetix, pro-organic nighttime
gardeners known as Reclaim the Seeds leveled yet another of UC Professor
Michael Freeling's genetic-engineering research corn plots early this
morning in Davis. This incident builds on three prior visits in Berkeley,
including a decontamination just two evenings ago. Freeling is known for his
corporate-driven biotechnology research.  Having worked in the past for
Zeneca, he is the first recipient of a grant from the Novartis Agricultural
Discovery Institute
(<>http://plantb, part of a $25
million "strategic alliance" between UC-Berkeley and Novartis. He also holds
a permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make GE tests on corn.
The director of the UCD biotechnology program, Martina McGloughlin, parrots
one of the standard industry defenses of their agenda: that GE is just a
next step in cross-breeding, which farmers have done since time immemorial.
Yet it doesn't take a rocket scientist (or honest plant geneticist) to
realize that there is a qualitative difference between the addition of
genetic code from a fish, pig, pesticide or virus to that of a plant in
secret laboratories, and the honorable work of farmers cultivating special
varieties in their fields over
generations.  Furthermore, McGloughlin states that GE food is safe and
accepted by consumers. Yet a few hours on the Internet proves the opposite.
GE crops have been linked to genetic pollution, creation of new viruses and
bacteria, damage to beneficial insects, increased pesticide use and the
creation of "superpests."  According to research released earlier this year,
GE potatoes were shown to damage vital organs and compromise the immune
systems of rats.  In studies conducted at Cornell University and Iowa State
University this year, pollen released from GE corn was found lethal to
Monarch butterflies. And as for the claim of acceptance by consumers, the
widespread crop destruction, protests, lawsuits, and governmental action
around the world against GE food suggests a different conclusion.  Experts
from UC assured us that nuclear power was safe, but experience proved
different. Experts from universities, government agencies, and industry
groups also assured us that clear-cutting, strip-mining, drift-netting,
factory-farming, and animal testing was safe, and to leave the debate to the
experts. To hear more experts from UC claim that GE is safe without any
oversight, environmental assessments, input or public disclosure does not
give one much reassurance.  While global resistance to GE is growing leaps
and bounds, people living in the U.S. have been slow to respond.
Regrettable, considering that U.S.-based corporations and government trade
policies power the GE engine. The San Francisco Bay Area is the belly of the
genetix beast as it were, serving as the hub of biotech research in North
America (and if the industry is to be believed the world). The University of
California system conducts more research on genetically-modified organisms
than any other. Therefore, we of Reclaim The Seeds feel a responsibility to
muster as much strength and determination as possible to rid the planet of
this ecological, economic, and social disaster.  Many thanks to our comrades
in other countries for the inspiration to join them in nonviolent direct
action. This event is dedicated to our domestic comrades: the "Seeds of
Resistance" in Maine; the "Bolt Weevils" in Minnesota; the "Cropatisas,"
"Lodi Loppers" and "California Croppers" in our neck of the woods; and the
mysterious Monarch butterflies of Vermont, who pulled up fields of GE corn
late one night with no help from we humans.  Special Section: How to DIY (Do
It Yourself) In a true example of appropriate technology, Reclaim the Seeds
has developed through hours of research and testing a new-and-improved
method for GE corn-culling. Only by using this method were we able to level
many thousands of plants in just a few hours. Reclaimers use long metal
poles (tomato poles are good) to plough through and push over the corn, two
rows at a time on a parallel path along the rows. The devices, dubbed
"California Corn Cutters," are held out in front of the responsible
individual and propelled by forward motion. The corn, once snapped down
toward the horizon, has been terminated  (see next paragraph).  An
additional technique has been to stand to the inside of one or two rows;
turn perpendicular to the row(s) facing a clearing; and flatten over
sections of approx. 8-16 corn plants at one time with poles so that the corn
lies at right angles to the rows. We recommend leaving several rows of corn
on the perimeter as a visual buffer against security guards until work in
the core is finished, then flatten the outside rows and retire for the
night.... or day. A cheeky team could getaway with this during daylight
after proper scouting. We are risking jail and injury, as well as
sacrificing time, energy and sleep, because of a profound sense of the
sacredness of life. We believe that protecting the result of more than three
billion years of evolution is a duty to ourselves, all living beings, and
the generations to come. So the act of taking the life of a plant is
serious, and one we don't take it lightly. Were it not for the desperate
urgency of the situation, the massive resources of the biotech industry, and
the secrecy under which these tests are conducted, than perhaps we wouldn't
have to take this course of action.  Before anyone embarks on such a course,
we believe it important to think through the moral dimensions of
crop-pulling, and come into it with a strong heart. It would also be wise to
make some sort of a prayer, offering, or explanation to the crops whose
individual lives you will be taking in order to defend the sanctity of all