1.GM protest 'was public nuisance'
2.GM on trial
3.'Secret' GM milk sale attacked
"This direct action was just one part of a campaign that has been running for almost two years, the aim being to close down the last loophole for GM in the UK. The campaign has seen a herd of cows occupy Sainsbury's Head office in London and milkmen chaining themselves to supermarket milk aisles in order to get supermarkets to stop feeding their cows GM feed." (item 2)
"97% of consumers in South Wales didn't want to drink GM milk, after learning their supermarket-bought pints come from animals fed genetically-modified feed." (item 3)
1.GM protest 'was public nuisance'
The ship was carrying animal feed to Bristol
Environmental campaigners caused a "public nuisance" by staging a protest on a cargo ship, a court has heard.
Greenpeace claimed the MV Etoile, which was prevented from heading into Bristol in June 2004, was carrying genetically- modified animal feed, a jury was told.
The 123,000-tonne bulk cargo carriers was eventually able to dock.
Ten men and three women all deny a public nuisance charge at Cardiff Crown Court. The case continues.
Prosecutor Jervis Kay QC told how the ship was en-route from America to Bristol when progress was impeded.
The group was apparently protesting against the nature of the cargo carried on board the vessel which it was thought contained genetically-modified organisms.
The Panamanian-registered vessel was forced to anchor and was unable to use her engine, he said.
"These foolhardy acts amounted to acts constituting a public nuisance," said Mr Kay.
Mr Kay said the ship had been carrying around 99,000 tonnes of animal feed. About half the cargo had already been unloaded elsewhere and the ship was bound for Bristol with about 48,000 tonnes left.
"A great deal of pre-planning and preparation on the part of the members of Greenpeace had taken place," said Mr Kay.
Sometimes one must do wrong in order to do right.
Edward Rees QC, defending
After the defendants were arrested, a variety of documents were seized, including maps, operational orders and an "escape route" for south Wales.
Mr Kay said the impact of the actions was "substantial and wide-ranging".
He said the RNLI and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency had been involved and South Wales Police had deployed more than 80 staff to deal with the incident.
A police helicopter was deployed to the incident on two occasions.
Defending, Edward Rees QC, told the jury: "Sometimes one must do wrong in order to do right."
He said jurors might have to consider whether the defendants' actions in delaying the ship were reasonable in order to prevent criminal offences under the Environmental Protection Act.
The defendants include: Andrew Taylor, 35, of Stroud, Gloucestershire, Janet Miller, 49, and Huw Williams, 38, both of Buxton, Derbyshire, Tim Hewke, 45, of Sittingbourne, Kent, Nicola Cook, 37, of St Cross, Suffolk, and Cedric Counord, 28, of France,
They appeared with the following defendants, all from London: Allen Vincent, 42, of Peckham, Michele Rosato, 33, of Bow, Rachel Murray, 31, of Highbury, Jens Loewe, 36, Richard Watson, 40, and Ben Ayliffe, 28, all of Islington, and Frank Hewetson, 40, of Kensal Rise.
2.GM on trial
Thirteen Greenpeace volunteers go on trial at Cardiff Crown Court on 1 September facing a charge of 'public nuisance'. This charge relates to their part in temporarily stopping a shipment of GM feed off the coast of South Wales last June.
The ship was carrying GM feed on its way to be fed to dairy cows which produce milk for all the major supermarkets. Greenpeace climbers got on board the ship and attached themselves to its sides demanding that the ship turn around and go back to the US. This action delayed the ship's docking for 36 hours at which point the Greenpeace climbers were removed by police.
This direct action was just one part of a campaign that has been running for almost two years, the aim being to close down the last loophole for GM in the UK. The campaign has seen a herd of cows occupy Sainsbury's Head office in London and milkmen chaining themselves to supermarket milk aisles in order to get supermarkets to stop feeding their cows GM feed.
As a result of the campaign Marks & Spencer have gone totally non-GM in their milk and Sainsbury's are selling non-GM milk in over 200 stores.
The trial of the 13 volunteers is expected to last three to four weeks and you can come and hear the trial at any time by sitting in the public gallery of the court. Alternatively you can read our daily trial updates here.
3.'Secret' GM milk sale attacked
Western Mail, Aug 27 2005
SHOPPERS have sounded an emphatic "No" to genetically modified milk, which campaigners claim is "secretly" sold by major supermarket stores.
Greenpeace said its own research had shown that 97% of consumers in South Wales didn't want to drink GM milk, after learning their supermarket-bought pints come from animals fed genetically-modified feed.
The environmental campaign group said supermarkets were tight-lipped about the GM element of milk and shoppers would not find such information on product labels.
Wales has rejected GM foods, with the Welsh Assembly Government pursuing a restrictive approach to GM trials in a bid to keep Wales GM-free.
But Greenpeace said GM producers are using a near-invisible outlet for their unwanted product.
It claims thousands of tonnes of GM animal feed comes into UK ports each year to be used as feed for dairy herds that supply all the major supermarkets.
Of the big food retailers, Greenpeace said only Marks & Spencer has made a commitment to only sell milk from cows fed on non- GM feed.
Ben Ayliffe, a Greenpeace campaigner, said, "Very few people know about GM in milk because it is not labelled as such - it won't say on a pint of milk, unless people buy organic.
"Once we tell people, they are genuinely shocked. Especially given all the reassurances from supermarkets about GM food, they assume the same goes for milk.
"But GM in milk is something the supermarkets are quite tight-lipped about.
"Given the choice, 97% of the thousands we have polled in South Wales said they don't want it, which seems to be pretty conclusive."
To underline the lack of support for GM milk among consumers, Greenpeace activists, dressed as dairy cows and milkmen, delivered the results of its survey to the managers of Tesco Extra and Asda, in Cardiff, and Waitrose's Barry store yesterday.
The action was part of a campaign to persuade the supermarkets to go GM free.
Mr Ayliffe added, "People don't want GM for a variety of reasons - they are worried about the possible health effects, the impact on the environment and the ethics of genetically modifying food.
"The Government and people like [US agrochemical giant] Monsanto have characterised anti-GM campaigners as Luddites who are scared of technology.
"But the people who say no to GM do so for a variety of reasons, not because they are insane or howling at the moon."
A spokeswoman for Waitrose said, "As a responsible retailer we aim to provide our customers with the high-quality, safe food they desire.
"Waitrose has excluded GM ingredients from Waitrose-branded products since May 1999.
"Waitrose is continually investigating sustainable methods of sourcing non-GM crops for use in animal feed."
A spokeswoman for Asda added, "We already sell organic milk which is produced by cows who are fed a GM-free diet.
"This means all our customers are able to make their own choice."
A Tesco spokesman said, "The Food Standards Agency has confirmed that milk from animals fed on GM crops does not contain any GM material, and is therefore not a GM product.
"The UK is not self-sufficient in animal feed and dairy farmers' top priority is to provide their animals with a balanced and healthy diet, which is why imported GM crops can sometimes be part of current feeding arrangements.
"Our aim is to provide customers with choice. Those who wish to buy milk from animals which have not been fed on any GM feed, can choose our organic products."
THE Welsh Consumer Council has raised concerns about GM and is calling for the long-term impact of GM crops on the environment to be fully addressed before any decision is made about their commercialisation in the UK.
Its research found that six out of 10 Welsh consumers were aware that GM food was on sale in the UK, but only a quarter were happy to buy foods with GM ingredients.
And almost three-quarters of consumers said all food with GM ingredients should be labelled as such even if they contain only a tiny amount. More than half the consumers said they were concerned about the impact of growing GM crops on the environment.
Lindsey Kearton, Welsh Consumer Council's senior policy officer, and author of the To Eat or Not To Eat report into attitudes towards GM food, said, "... many people question the need for GM foods - it is generally felt that developments are being driven by profits rather than any perceivable consumer benefits.
"Demand for GM food remains low and it would appear that until environmental and safety concerns are addressed, and any obvious consumer benefits become apparent, it is likely to stay low for the foreseeable future."