1.Demonstrations across France against GMOs

2.BAYER refuses to accept liability for damage in Germany

NOTE: Thanks to Claire Robinson for translating item 1.


1.Demonstrations across France against GMOs
Anti-GMO demonstrations this weekend
Enviro2b, 31 March 2008
[for the original article in French - Manifestations anti-OGM ce week-end ]

Numerous demonstrations were held this weekend in several cities in France prior to the opening tomorrow of the discussions on the draft GMO legislation in the Assembly. In Rennes, Clermont-Ferrand, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Avignon, Nancy and Lille, nearly 25,000 people gathered on the initiative of a group of anti-GM associations and organisations such as Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Voluntary Reapers and the Peasant Farmers' Confederation of Jose Bove.

In Brittany, a very agricultural region, 5,000 people according to the police, and 15,000 according to organizers, have gathered around slogans such as 'Monsanto, assassin' or 'We don't want GMOs'. Arnaud Apoteker of Greenpeace France explains the success of the Breton event as follows:

'Britanny is very important to the question of GMOs, because it is here that the majority of livestock in France are concentrated, and 80% of GMOs are grown for livestock feed.'

Jose Bove was in the middle of the crowd at Clermont-Ferrand, where after a picnic, 1000 to 3000 people strolled around the streets of the city. In Toulouse, 500 persons were found around the Capitol. In addition, supporters of the group GMOs 31 have symbolically planted organic maize in front of Pioneer's seed production factory at Aussonne, north of the Pink City [Toulouse].

In Lille, local producers have sold their produce, vegetables, meat, near the stands of Greenpeace, or WWF [World Wildlife Fund]. Finally, in Strasbourg, a dozen people demonstrated in silence, protected by white masks.

Heated debates in anticipation

The parliamentary debates this week are therefore lively, with the voices of the UMP [Union pour un mouvement populaire, a political party] more favourable to GMOs. For the president of the Assembly, Bernard Accoyer, French opinion [against GMOs] 'was not built on balanced and objective information (S) a balance has been created between private interests, which are probably open to criticism, and GMOs in general, which are vital for the future of our agriculture, our agronomy, of research, of new drugs. '

As for Patrick Ollier, the chairman of the committee of economic affairs, he also affirms his 'confidence in science' and believes that GMOs are there to resolve some of the problems of feeding the world.

The Greens call for members to show greater independence than did the Senators. They demand that they oppose the 'hypocritical and dangerous' text [of the bill in Parliament] and to hold firms that produce and import GMOs liable for contamination.

Finally, the Socialist Party's Francois Brottes pointed out the absence of guarantee in terms of reversibility of breeding [of GMOs]', while Andre Chassaigne (PCF, French Socialist Party) sees GMOs as 'a food weapon as dangerous as nuclear weapons' for the planet.


2.BAYER refuses to accept liability for damage in Germany
Countermotions to Bayer's Annual Stockholders´ Meeting
Press Release, March 26 2008 Coalition against BAYER Dangers (Germany)

The German group Coalition against BAYER Dangers introduced countermotions to Bayer´s Annual Stockholders' Meeting. The Coalition will discuss the proposals within the meeting in Cologne on April 25. Main topics will be the marketing of Trasylol, the construction of waste incinerators and coal plants on Bayer´s sites, Bayer´s business activities in Burma and Bayer´s continued participation in illegal price fixing cartels. Several environmental groups announced to participate in the meeting.

Bayer published the countermotions on their website. Please find the full text at

[EXTRACT] Last August, the Agricultural Ministry of the State of North-Rhine Westphalia came across genetically modified rape seed that is not approved in Germany. Despite this, the seed was sown on an area of 1,500 hectares. The contamination is due to a herbicide-resistant product from BAYER CropScience. As in the United States, where conventionally grown rice was contaminated by a herbicideresistant type from BAYER in 2006 and was subsequently distributed on the worldwide market, the contamination of the rape is probably due to field trials carried out many years ago. BAYER refuses to accept liability for the damage.

This case shows once again that genetic engineering in agriculture inevitably leads to contamination of conventional seeds. Despite this, BAYER is pushing into new markets. In Australia, BAYER wants to cultivate genetically modified rape, while the company has also applied for import permits from the EU for genetically manipulated rice and rape.