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French Farmers Threaten to Pull Up All GE Crops

French Farmers Threaten to Pull
Up All GE Crops

More genetically modified crops trashed in France

PARIS, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Activists opposed to genetically modified
(GM) food have struck again in France, tearing up three plots of land
where bio-engineered maize was being grown on a test basis, industry
groups said on Tuesday.

Seed and plant protection industry organisations said they were
"shocked" after the activists destroyed the GM maize tests in the Drome
department in southeast France.

A group calling itself "Limes A Grain" -- a play on the name of French
seed company Limagrain -- claimed responsibility for the attack that
took place on Friday night, the plant organisations said.

It was at least the third such incident since late June, when the farm
ministry was forced to publish the list of districts in France where GM
crops were being tested.

Philippe Gracien, head of the French seed profession group GNIS,
said he expected further attacks.

Gracien said he feared the left-wing Confederation Paysanne farmers'
union, which has targeted GM crops in the past, was planning a new
push to destroy test fields.

"Unfortunately, when one listens to the speeches of the Confederation
Paysanne leaders, it's hard to remain calm," Gracien told Reuters.

Jose Bove, the fiery founder of the Confederation Paysanne, demanded
on Saturday a complete ban on GM crops in France and threatened to
begin uprooting test fields across the country if the government did not
intervene.

In March, a French court gave Bove a 10-month suspended jail sentence
and two years' probation for destroying GM rice plants at a research
institute in June 1999.

Two months earlier, Bove and other anti-globalisation activists helped
uproot some three hectares of GM soybeans at an experimental farm in
Brazil operated by American life sciences firm Monsanto.


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