Here's an important request for help from ICPPC - the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside.
Their colleague, Marian Zagorny, is facing a prison sentence of 1 year (or more) for attempting to block illegal shipments of GM grain and actively protesting against the introduction of GMOs and the factory farming of pigs in Poland.
Below is a letter supporting Marian which you can post or fax to the Polish president, the court and the relevant minister.
This request has been forwarded to us by Helena Paul, co-author of the Hungry Corporations*.
Helena points out what a good job ICPPC are doing in very difficult circumstances. Poland's countryside and its previously remarkable biodiversity are under intense pressure due to the country's recent membership of the EU and a right wing government being wooed by the US. The government has recently spent 12 billion USD on arms, for which their reward is ... participation in the occupation of Iraq!
Please add your name and address to the letter below and, if possible, send a short letter of your own as well to:
The Polish President:
President of Poland
ul. Wiejska 10
00-950 Warszawa, Poland
fax. +48 22 695-22-38
and the court:
Prezes Sadu Okregowego
Wydzia³ IV Penitencjarny i Nadzoru nad Wykonywaniem Orzeczen Karnych
58-500 Jelenia Gora, ul. Wojska Polskiego 56
fax:+48 75 752-51-13
and the Minister:
Minister Sprawiedliwosci -
Prokurator Generalny RP Andrzej Kalwas
Al. Ujazdowskie 11, 00-950 Warszawa
Fax +48 22 621 30 95
We, the undersigned organizations, request that your honor consider the pardon from prison of Marian Zagorny. An activist farmer, he was sentenced on 21 May 2003 for protesting the illegal smuggling of genetically modified organisms (GMO) into Poland which suspended his previous pardon of a one year prison sentence from 9 June 2000. Over the past five years, Marian Zagorny has publicly opposed, through a number of actions, the import of genetically modified maize and grain for many substantial reasons.
Genetically modified crops can interbreed with and contaminate unmodified crops, creating offspring that interact unpredictably with other organisms and the environment. This is especially dangerous for farmers who wish to avoid genetically modified organisms and have no recourse to protect their crops from cross-pollination and contamination of GMOs.
In addition, GMO critics have raised questions about the ability of bacteria in human intestines to pick up antibody resistant genes from the genetically modified food. This would create powerful new bacteria that are resistant to known antibiotics, making human diseases harder to treat. In short, neither the biotechnology industry nor the scientific community has determined the various implications of genetically modified crops.
The impact of illegal imports to Poland is tremendous on the small scale farmers. Their livelihoods are already threatened, as rich European companies flock to buy up fertile agricultural land. Marion Zagorny is defending polish farmers' livelihoods as he opposes the smuggling of illegal maize, grain, chicken and pig meat. As Poland meets the European Union regulations, the Polish farmers must be protected.
Poland should not prosecute and penalize an anti-GMO activist working to raise public awareness. We encourage you, President Kwasniewski, to release Marion Zagorny and pardon all his actions protesting the illegal importation of genetically modified crops into Poland.