EXCERPT: "it is not right to waste taxes on something nobody wants".
German groups to protest against GM crops
By Karin Kampwerth
Sueddeutsche Zeitung, May 18, 2006
Translated by Mark Hutko and Stephan Nyeki, CheckBiotech
During an action-day for a transgenic-free county last Saturday in Vaterstetten, the Society for the Protection of Nature announced the formation of a German-wide association of farmers and bee-keepers.
They are planning to organize an international demonstration in Angelbrechting, during the Pentecost holiday, under the campaign name "Gene-dirt away" (ed. literal translation).
At the same time they plan to destroy a transgenic cornfield belonging to the governmental field-testing station in Grub. The decision to make the county the place of the next "voluntary field liberation", as the activists refer to the destruction of transgenic plants, was made during a meeting with Canadian farmer, Percy Schmeiser, who gave an account of his battle against GM companies, two weeks ago in Grafing.
"It just cannot be true [right] that everybody neighbouring the transgenic cornfield is against the technology", complained Juergen Binder, a beekeeper from the state of Baden-Würtenberg, who came to Vaterstetten as a representative of the campaign. "We're now going to do something about this", he said referring to the planned field destruction, which he would like to see defined as civil disobedience.
Representatives of the French farmers-union, farmers and scientists from Hungary, Poland, Romania, Norway, Switzerland and Brazil have confirmed their participation in the long-planned GM-free weekend in Angeibrechting.
Meanwhile, Olaf Rautenberg, the district chairman of the Society for the Protection of Nature, who initiated the protest day together with thirteen partner-groups of farmers and environmentalists, criticized the action day. The Society for the Protection of Nature does not support violence against the plantation of transgenic corn, which after all is legal. "We want to persuade by dialogue". In this respect, the day of action should help to explain the unexplained risks of transgenic seed to users. However, the public made little use of this. Only 50 people attended the lectures, including the SPD member of parliament Edward Schurer, to the disappointment of the organizers.
Nevertheless, the partner-groups and Franz Lenz, the district leader of the Bavarian farmers union, used the opportunity to make some short statements. The main criticism concerned the possible danger to human and animal health, due to the lack of long-term experiments on transgenic crops, as well as the independence of farmers from a handful of large conglomerates which have patented the seeds. This was reason enough for Olaf Rautenberg to continue building a dialogue, "because it is not right to waste taxes on something nobody wants".