Global Days of Action Against Gene-Foods & Biotechnology Global Campaign Report

May 1, 1997 by Ronnie Cummins, Pure Food Campaign USA (218) 226-4164 Fax (218) 226-4157 email: (alliance@mr.net) world wide web: (http://www.purefood.orgathens/1527)

Activists from 27 nations organized actions and press events against gene-foods and genetic engineering during the Global Days of Action (GDA) April 13-27.

(1) United States--GDA events took place in at least 19 cities including: New York, White Plains (N.Y), Brooklyn, Burlington (Vt.), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Duluth, Milwaukee, Madison, Austin, San Antonio, Tucson, Norwalk (Ct.), Albuquerque, Boulder, Beaverton (Or.), Kansas City (Mo), and Iowa City; with anti-biotech activities also being incorporated into Earth Day Week activities in other cities as well. Among the successful activities were the following:

USA April Events & Contacts:

New York City--(Mitchell Cohen Tel. 718-449-0037); (Andy Zimmerman Tel. 914-478-8639); (Asha Golliher Tel. 212-226-7171); (Greg Todd 718-858-8803). On April 23 a Forum on Biotechnology and Gene Foods was held in Broooklyn with Dr. Michael Hansen from the Consumers Union and Mitchell Cohen from Brooklyn Greens. In Manhattan on April 27 there was an organizing conference sponsored by the Learning Alliance with speakers including Vandana Shiva, Jonathan King, Kristin Dawkins, J.D. Hanson, and Ronnie Cummins. Groups attending the conference agreed to work more closely together and to jointly co-sponsor with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the world a second round of Global Days of Actions in October, 1997--starting with Gandhi's birthday on October 2 and extending at least through October 16, World Food Day. After the meeting there was be a street protest at Monsanto's headquarters in downtown Manhattan. Media covering the organizing conference included WBAI radio, Satya magazine, and Yomiuri America, a Japanese newspaper. Demonstrators, a number wearing masks, managed to get past security guards and dump genetically engineered milk, cotton, and soybeans in front of the entrance to Monsanto's 11th floor office. In White Plains, N.Y. (Westchester County), the Westchester Greens sponsored a Biotechnology Forum on Thursday, April 24.

Los Angeles--(Steve Urow Tel. 310-399-9355 or 310-444-8864 ext. 110) A student forum, grain dump, and press conference was held April 21 at Pierce College in Woodland Hills. Another grain dump and press conference was held at Ralph's Supermarket at Barrington & Olympic Streets in West L.A. on April 23 at noon. Two T.V. stations (Channel 34--an affiliate of Univision--and CNN) and the Associated Press covered the April 23 protest.

San Francisco--(Michael Phillips Tel. 415-695-1591). A press event was held at the Marina Safeway in S.F. on April 21. A local television station and CNN filmed the event.

Beaverton, Oregon--The group "NOCLONE" (contact Alon Raab Tel. 503-460-9017) held a protest at the Oregon Primate Center in Beaverton, Oregon on April 24. Twenty-five protestors participated, wearing "smile masks" and computer "bar code" posters across their bodies. Media coverage included the Oregonian, the major state newspaper, as well as local T.V. and radio.

Minneapolis-St. Paul--(Pat Kerrigan Tel. 612-870-1473). A protest and press event was held at the headquarters of Pillsbury Corporation in downtown Minneapolis on April 23, followed by a forum that evening at First Universalist Church featuring Beth Fitzgerald from Greenpeace and activist Mika Iba from Japan. A PBS (Public Television) crew filmed the colorful and lively Pillsbury protest which was sponsored by the Institute for Ag and Trade Policy, COACT, Greenpeace, Minnesota Food Association, Pure Food Campaign, and Safe Food Link.

Duluth, Mn.--(Jan Conley 715-392-5782). A protest and literature distribution event was held in Duluth April 26 sponsored by the Lake Superior Greens and Food Not Bombs. Forty activists participated, some costumed as "mutant" fruits or vegetables. The event was covered by local T.V.

Milwaukee (Louise Quigley Tel. 414-962-2703 or Frances Bartelt Tel. 414-332-3576) A protest was held in front of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offices April 22. The Milwaukee Journal--the state's largest newspaper--ran a photo of demonstrators dumping Frito's corn chips (suspected of being contaminated by Novartis' Bt-corn) in front of the FDA offices.

Madison, Wisconsin-- (John Peck Tel. 608-262-9036) A teach-in was held at the State Capitol April 19 featuring populist radio commentator Jim Hightower--attended by 500 people. A protest event was organized at the University of Wisconsin on April 25. Protestors, including several dressed as cows and "mad scientists" dumped rBGH (rBST) milk, chesse, and other suspect foods contaminated by genetically engineered ingredients.

Kansas City, Missouri--An Earth Day event was held April 19 (Ben Kjelshus Tel. 816-924-3003) in Kansas City where anti-biotech materials were handed out.

Norwalk, Ct.--(Lela Florel Tel. 203-374-4646) A grain dump and press conference were held at Pathmark supermarket in Norwalk, Connecticut on April 22 and received favorable coverage by the local newspapers and T.V.

Albuquerque (Robin Seydel Tel. 505-265-4631). Over 5,000 people attended a citywide teach-in on biotechnology with featured speaker Brian Tokar on April 20. Local and state media (New Mexico) gave coverage to the event, the first of its kind in the southwestern U.S.

Iowa City (Teresa Carbrey Tel. 319-338-0635) A successful citywide teach-in was held April 22 featuring Beth Fitzgerald from Greenpeace.

Burlington, Vermont--Anti-biotech activities were staged during University of Vermont's Earth Day April 20. On April 21 there was a teach-in on Monsanto and rBGH. (Alice Stokes 802-863-4665).

Boulder, Colorado--On April 28 there was a well-attended forum on genetic engineering with a featured speech by Vandana Shiva at the University of Colorado. Vandana Shiva also was interviewed by several radio networks during the week.

(2) Canada--A successful protest action was carried out by the Council of Canadians and Greenpeace at the GATT Codex Alimentarius labeling meeting in Ottawa April 15. Activists in biohazard suits unfurled a banner and delivered the message that Canadians are demanding mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods so that they can avoid buying them. The protest was the lead story on national radio (CBC) in the afternoon and evening of April 15. Inside the Codex meetings, lobbying by concerned NGOs and governments proved to be effective, with the U.S. being able to gain the support of only a few nations (Canada, Mexico, U.K., France) for their anti-consumer policy of no labeling of gene-foods. The U.S. also backed off on pushing their unpopular position that gene-foods could be labeled as "organic." The following week a press conference was held on Prince Edward Island as well as leafletting in Peterborough, Ontario. Dr. John Fagan (Natural Law Party) and Dr. Joseph Cummins carried out a speaking tour across Canada and drew 200 people in Toronto, 100 people in Ottawa, and 100 people in Newfoundland. A radio forum on biotechnology was broadcast on Vancouver's Coop Radio on April 22. Contact: Council of Canadians (Dave Robinson) Tel. (613) 233-2773 Fax. (613) 233-6776 e-mail (robinson@web.net) Also contact: Campaign to Ban Genetically Engineered Food (Richard Wolfson) Tel. 613-565-8517 e-mail: (rwolfson@concentric.net)

(3) U.K.--Continuous actions were carried out April 18-27 in London and a dozen other cities by Women's Environmental Network and other groups. A National Conference of anti-biotech activists was held in Herefordshire April 18-20. Monsanto's corporate offices were occupied by 50 demonstrators in London April 21. There was a nationwide telephone lobbying of Monsanto and other biotech corporations on April 21-22 which completely blocked corporate phone lines for the entire two days. Lobbying of government and legislators took place April 23-24. Nationwide leafletting of supermarkets took place on April 25-27. A Press Conference was held in London April 25. Throughout the week there was significant media coverage of campaign activities. Contact: Women's Environmental Network (Ricarda Steinbrecher or Zoe Elsord) Tel. +44-171-247-3327 Fax. +44-171-247-4740 e-mail (ricarda@gn.apc.org)

(4) India--A street demonstration by schoolchildren was held April 25 in New Delhi in front of the Ministry of Social Welfare, receiving major media coverage. Contact: Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy (Vandana Shiva) Tel. +91-11-696-8077 Fax. +91-11-685-6795 e-mail (vandana@twn.unv.ernet.in)

(5) Malaysia--Educational and lobbying activities were carried out by the Third World Network and Consumers Association of Penang. A special issue of the consumer newspaper Utusan Konsumer (circulation 80,000) was published during Global Action Week. The journal Third World Resurgence also put out a special issue on Food Biotechnology and the Global Days of Action. Citizens also lobbied the Penang State Government Consumers Council and the Ministry of Health calling for a moratorium on GMO releases and international trafficing in GMOs, capacity building for risk assessment, and mandatory labeling. Following Global Action Week there will be a public exhibition highlighting the dangers of genetic engineering as well as a general public education campaign in schools, colleges, and communities. Contact: Third World Network (Martin Khor) Tel. +60-4-226-6728 Fax. +60-4-226-4505 e-mail (twn@igc.apc.org)

(6) Philippines--Anti-biotech activities were carried out by the Center for Alternative Development Initiatives. Contact CADI (Nicky Perlas) Tel. +63-2-928-3986 Fax. +63-2-928-7608 e-mail: (CADI@phil.gn.apc.org)

(7) France--Actions were carried out in Paris by Ecoropa and other groups. Contact: Ecoropa (Etienne Vernet) Tel. +33-1-43-38-38-17 Fax. +33-1-43-38-37-88 e-mail: (ecoropa@globenet.gn.apc.org)

(8) Austria --A variety of actions were carried out by Global 2000 and Greenpeace including a successful national referendum on April 14 in which 1.2 million Austrian citizens voiced their rejection of gene-foods and the patenting of life forms. Contact: Global 2000 (Daniel Hausknost) Tel. +431-812-57300 Fax. +431-812-5728 e-mail (global2000@t0.or.at)

(9) Netherlands--On April 18 in Amsterdam a group of protestors from the Dutch Coalition for a Different Europe delivered a huge genetically engineered corn cob to the Barbizon Hotel--where the European Union's environment ministers were meeting over the weekend. There was also leafletting by Natuurwetpartij (e-mail info@natuurwetpartij.nl) across the country. Contact: ASEED (Stephanie Howard or Rod Harbinson) Tel. +31-20-668-2236 Fax. +31-20-665-0166 e-mail: (aseedeur@aseed.antenna.nl)

(10) Spain--Nationwide actions were coordinated by AEDENAT, the Ecological Association for the Defense of Nature and received significant media coverage. Simultaneous April 22 street actions and petition gathering took place in front of government buildings in Madrid, Cordoba, Granada, Malaga, Sevilla, Valladolid, Zaragoza, Oviedo, Logrono, Santander, and Burgos. Motions were introduced in more than 500 city councils and provincial parliaments, and public speeches and forums in Gijon (Asturias), Marbella (Malaga), Daganzo (Madrid), Almeria (University), Ecija (Sevilla), and other cities. Contact: AEDENAT (Ramon Duran) Tel. +34-1-319-8782 Fax. +34-91-571-7108 e-mail: (aedenat@nodo50.ix.apc.org) (http://nodo50.ix.apc.org/aedenat/home.htm)

(11) Australia--Activities were carried out by the Australian GeneEthics Network and Australian Consumers Association. There was a well-publicized protest at Monsanto's headquarters in Melbourne at noon April 23. An international videoconference on biotech was sponsored by Consumers Association in Sydney April 16. Contact: GeneEthics Network (Bob Phelps) Tel. +61-3-9416-2222 Fax. +61-3-9416-0767 e-mail: (acfgenet@peg.apc.org) Australian Consumers Association (Carole Renouf) Tel. +61-2-9577-3332 Fax. +61-2-9973-2328 e-mail: (carolr@peg.apc.org)

(12) Japan--An action organized by the Network for Safe and Secure Food and Environment and Consumers Union attracted over a thousand protestors in Tokyo April 23. The protest received significant media attention. Seminars and forums were held in a number of Japanese cities April 25-30. Contact: NESSFE (Mika Iba) Tel.+ 813-3327-6444 Fax. +813-3325-5890 e-mail: (eric@gol.com) Consumers Union of Japan (Setsuko Yasuda) Tel. +813-3711-7766 Fax +813-3715-9378

(13) Sweden--Actions were carried out in a number of Swedish cities, including a protest at the American Embassy in Stockholm. Greenpeace protested at the ICA supermarket stores in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmo, and managed to get ICA stores to pull suspect GMO-tainted products off the shelves. Following the protests the ICA supermarket chain--the largest in Sweden--signed an agreement to stop selling any GMO products. For further information contact Martin Frid Tel & Fax. +46-479-10010 e-mail (mjfrid@hotmail.com). For Greenpeace International contact: Cindy Baxter Tel. +31-20-523-6279 (cindy.baxter@ams.greenpeace.org)

(14) Norway--A well-publicized march by small farmers, youth, and anti-biotech activists took place in Oslo April 21. County delegations from all over Norway also met with their parliamentary representatives and urged them to ban gene-foods.. Also petitions were handed to members of Parliament. Organizing groups included GATT WTO Campaign, Ungdom for Bonder, Mat-helse-miljoe-alliansen, Dovrefjellaksjonen, Vi og Vaart, and others. Contact: GATT WTO Campaign (Helge Christie) Tel. & Fax. +47-6249-6096 e-mail: (christie@powertech.no)

(15) Belgium--Educational and lobbying actions were carried out by a number of groups, including a European-wide press release by the CPE, the Brussels-based European Farmers Coordination. Contact: CPE Tel. +322-230-0776 (cpe@knooppunt.be) Educational work was also organized by the Pesticide Action Network Belgium. Contact: (Catherine Wattiez) Tel. +322-358-2926 Fax. +322-358-2926 e-mail (catherine.wattiez@infoboard.be) Also contact: CPAQ (Patrick Vander Linden) Tel. +322-218-4727 Fax. +322-217-6078 e-mail (pvlinden@skynet.be) Also contact: BRABANT Ecologie (Christian Jacques) Tel. and Fax +322-633-1048 e-mail (100137.2210@compuserve.com) (Taty Lauwers)

(16) Denmark--A successful protest march was carried out April 24 by the Danish environmental organization Ecotopia starting at Monsanto's headquarters in Copenhagen Contact Ecotopia (Svenning) Tel. +45-3135-3540

(17) Germany--Events in Germany throughout the week of April 20-27 received significant media coverage. In Bonn April 21 a Forum and press conference was held in the Munsterplatz 10 a.m-2 p.m. sponsored by Green Party and Bundestag Member Marina Steindor (Tel. +49-228-16-81624). On April 22 Greenpeace carried out a protest against transgenic soybeans at a feed plant in Hamburg. On April 23 members of a nationwide coalition presented a petition with 41,000 signatures to the vice-President of the German Parliament. On April 23 therewas also an educational street action in Potsdam, near Berlin. On April 24 a group in Bochum distributed leaflets and consumer petition cards at area supermarkets. On April 25 Greenpeace carried out another action at a feed plant in Wuerzburg. In Dusseldorf there was an anti-biotech "dinner" on April 26. In Cologne there was teach-in on Genetic Engineering April 26 and a march to the proposed location of a Bio-Genetic Center April 27. Contact Gen-Ethisches Network (Werner Reisberger) Tel.+ 49-234-540-294 Fax. +49-234-540-239 e-mail: (werner@tribe.ping.de) Also contact AntiGen in Cologne-Kalk (Christiane Niesel) Tel. +49-221-830-2561

(18) Switzerland--A successful action was carried out in Basel April 21 at Novartis corporate office where Novartis head Alex Krauer was presented with a letter signed by 80 European NGOs. All major Swiss TV, radio, and newspapers covered the action. During the week of April 21-25 there were events in a dozen Swiss towns where activists gave out free food--polenta (a corn dish) in big skillets and popcorn in the central plazas and distribute leaflets. Contact: No Patents on Life (Florianne Koechlin) Tel. +41-61-411-26-34 Fax. +41-61-411-26-88 e-mail (nopatents@igc.apc.org)

(19) Poland--Actions were carried out for Global Action week. Contact Krakow Green Federation (Darek Szwed) e-mail (ehkozuch@cyf-kr.edu.pl)

(20) Hungary--A successful action was carried out April 26 in Budapest sponsored by the ANPED Sustainable Production and Consumption Project, the Energy Club, the ETK, and Biokultura. Activists dressed as laboratory rabbits and experiments "gone wrong" distributed leaflets to consumers.130 Hungarian NGOs began a lobby and pressure campaign to force the government to bring biotech companies operating in Hungary under control. Contact Daniel Swartz and Ada Amon e-mail (kuka@swartz.zpok.hu) or (ada@geg.zpok.hu)

(21) Italy--Forums and educational events were carried out in Rome, Frosinone, Matera, and other cities. Grassroots lobbying of Italian government and Minister of Health by Italian NGOs on gene foods also took place. Contact: Onorati/Egidi at e-mail: (mc2535@mclink.it)

(22) New Zealand--A national consumer poll on g-e foods was released on April 20. Protests took place at supermarkets in Auckland (April 22) and Wellington (April 24). Contact Natural Food Commission (Guy Hatchard) Tel. +9-522-1043 Fax. +9-524-6003 e-mail (natlaw@nlp.org.nz). Also contact Greenpeace (Glyn Walters) Tel. +64-9-630-6317 or +64-25-931-363.

(23) Georgia--An anti-biotech street march took place on April 19 organized by the Georgia Greens. On April 22 there was a rally of young people in Mushtiadi Park. Activists also participated in radio and TV broadcasts devoted to biotech issues. Contact: Georgia Greens and Biological Farming Association "Elkana" (Mariam Jordjadze or Keti Nemsadze) Fax +995-32-22-19-65 e-mail (koba@elkana.ge) or (gagreens@greens.org.ge)

(24) Ethiopia--Activities were carried out in conjunction with a meeting on plant genetic resources and food security. Contact: Institute for Sustainable Development (Sue Edwards and Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher) e-mail (sue@padis.gn.apc.org)

(25) Brazil--Educational activities were carried out by Brazilian NGOs. Contact: IDEC (Brazilian Institute for Consumer Protection) (Marilena Lazzarini Tel. +55-11-65-8151 Fax. +55-11-62-9844 e-mail: (idecbr@ax.apc.org)

(26) Croatia--Green Action from Zagreb held an organizing conference over the weekend of April 20-21 to organize a campaign in Croatia against genetic engineering. Contact: Energia Klub (Daniel Swartz email: (kuka@swartz.zpok.hu)

(27) Greece--On April 22 Greenpeace protestors dressed in tomato costumes pressured government officials in Athens to cancel a research permit for genetically engineered tomatoes.

* * * <


Organic Consumers Association (OCA)
6101 Cliff Estate Rd., Little Marais, Minnesota 55614
Activist or Media Inquiries: (218) 226-4164,  Fax: (218) 226-4157
Ronnie Cummins E-mail: alliance@mr.net    http://www.purefood.org

Save Organic Standards -- Break Corporate Control -- Genetically Enginered Food -- Toxic Food
Current Alert/Upcoming Events -- Food Slander-- Food Irradiation -- Mad Cow & Pig Disease
Cloning & Patenting -- rBGH -- Links -- Legislation

To subscribe to our free electronic newsletter, send an email to:
info@organicconsumers.org with the simple message:
subscribe pure-food-action

Webmaster: steve@greenpeople.org