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Campaigns--->Campaign Against Genetically Engineered Wheat---> Article

Genetically Engineered Wheat Article

Greenpeace Quarantines Government Research Farm

Planting of Genetically Engineered Wheat Set to Begin

For Immediate Release

Morden, Manitoba, June 5th, 2003 - Greenpeace activists quarantined the Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC) Research Farm in Morden, Manitoba at dawn today. Four activists climbed onto the roof of the building with a 120 sq. m banner reading Stop GE Wheat as others locked the front doors of the building.

Signs reading �Biohazard: Stop Genetically Engineered Wheat� were driven into the ground at the farm while the front doors were blocked with quarantine signs. The AAFC farm at Morden is one of the sites where open air field trials of genetically engineered wheat will take place in 2003. �We are quarantining this facility because of the risks GE wheat poses to the environment and Canada�s farmers,� said Holly Penfound, Greenpeace Genetic Engineering Campaigner. �The government should be prohibiting the release of GE wheat, not growing it for Monsanto in the open environment.� The Canadian Wheat Board estimates that up to 80 per cent of Canada�s $3 billion wheat market will not purchase genetically engineered wheat.

While Monsanto has proposed segregation of GE from non-GE crops, recent research shows that such segregation would be impossible. �Farmers can adapt to the ongoing changes of nature that ultimately determine the success of each year's efforts," said Fred Tait, a farmer from Rossendale, Manitoba and past president of the National Farmers Union. "Farmers are however not prepared to allow Monsanto and the federal government to introduce permanent and costly changes to agriculture and to the environment with the forced introduction of GE wheat." Monsanto applied to the Canadian government for unrestricted environmental release of its genetically engineered wheat on December 23, 2002. AAFC is a co-developer of the wheat with Monsanto, and is paying for many of the development costs.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, a division of AAFC, is responsible for approving or denying Monsanto�s application. The Royal Society of Canada found the government to be in a conflict of interest in how it regulates food biotechnology. While the government refuses to reveal the locations of dozens of on-going field trials of genetically engineered crops, documents obtained by Greenpeace in April of this year show that field trials of GE wheat have been on-going at several government sites.

For more information contact: Holly Penfound, Greenpeace Environmental Health Campaigner, 416-597-8408 x3050 cell 416-723-9425 Andrew Male, Greenpeace Communications Co-ordinator, 416-597-8408 x3030 cell 416-880-2757 Stills and Arial footage will be available at 2 pm Central time by calling Greenpeace Communications Co-ordinator Andrew Male. Photos also available on Canada Newswire. Background information is available at: www.greenpeace.ca

 
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