Uprooting ecoterrorism: Syngenta GM crops sabotaged in Spain

Communique issued by anonymous activists
12 July 2010

Today, 12th July 2010, dozens of people came together to sabotage two experimental GM Maize trials belonging to Syngenta, located in the municipality of Torroella de Montgrí (Baix Empordà, Girona, Catalunya).

We destroyed Syngenta’s open-air genetic experiment because we understand that this kind of direct action is the best way to respond to the fait accompli policy through which the Generalitat, the State and the bio-tech multinationals have been unilaterally imposing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our agriculture and our food.

The Spanish State, with more than 75,000 hectares sown in 2009, represents a concentration of approximately 80% of the surface area of GMOs harvested in Europe. [1] After Aragon, Catalonia is the area of Europe that harvests the largest area of GMOs, around 27,000 hectares. In recent years, 42% of the experimental GMO field trials OMG in the EU have been planted in the Spanish State. [2]

Syngenta is the third largest seed corporation in the world (after Monsanto and Dupont). Their objective is to gain a monopoly domination of the global seed market so that all farmers and all agricultural production on the planet depends on their seed sales. [3] Syngenta, and other transnational corporations (TNCs) that control a) the global market in agricultural goods (seeds, fertilizers, agro-chemicals…) [4], b) the circuits for the distribution and commercialization of food and agricultural raw materials, and c) the global market in final products, is one of the principal promoters and beneficiaries of the corporate industrial model that currently dominates. [5] After having been imposed for decades on a planetary scale, more and more voices indicate that 1) this devastating social and productive model is one of the principal causes of the food, ecological and climate crises that humanity currently faces, [6] and 2) genetically modified crops represent a new turn of the screw
of the agro-industrial model, which does nothing more than deepen the devastating social, cultural and environmental impacts associated with transnational agro-business. [7]

According to European legislation, experimental GMO field trials represent an indispensable intermediate step in gaining EEC approval to grow and harvest as yet unauthorized varieties of genetically modified crops in the EU. Many groups in Europe [8] have for years condemned the protocol that the bio-tech transnationals must follow to gain approval for their genetically modified seeds, as being full of irregularities and pit falls. Among these, the most notable are the various scandals that have hit the European food security Agency, (EFSA) which have made it quite clear that this supposedly scientific body is in the pay of the genetics industry. [9] On the other hand, it is important to uncover the role of the EEC itself in the underhand promotion of GM crops by the EEC itself. [10]

Twelve years since GM maize crops were first planted in Catalonia, the appearance of dozens of cases of genetic contamination of organic and conventional agricultural products (contamination of seed batches, fields, animal feeds and products destined for human consumption) has repeatedly demonstrated that the supposed coexistence between GM and non-GM crops is totally impossible and undesirable. [11] The proliferation of genetically modified agriculture in our territory has led to the extinction of a number of varieties of traditional wheat (“ morat” and “ del queixal”) and a reduction of 95% in the cultivation of organic maize between 2002 and 2008. [12]

All this leads unequivocally to the conclusion that GM agriculture makes it impossible to develop and consolidate social models and models of production, distribution and consumption that differ from the dominant model, based on agro-ecology and the struggle for peoples’ food sovereignty. Because of this, we fundamentally reject both GM crops and the techno-industrial capitalist society that makes them possible and necessary (… necessary to ensure that the powerful few consolidate their domination of the global population, and perfect the business strategies). We therefore call for people to take the step to action to destroy their genetically modified crops and the social order perpetuated by those that promote them.

Notes

[1] For more information about the evolution in recent years of the surface area of GMOs cultivated in the Spanish State you can download a table in PDF format from the MARM website: http://www.mapa.es/agricultura/pags/semillas/estadisticas/serie_maizgm98_06.pdf

[2] www.tierra.org

[3] With a view to reaching these objectives Syngenta has no qualms about using the most unscrupulous methods imaginable. An example is the attack that took place in 2007 in Brazil where a security company was contracted by the multinational to act against peasant farmers who had occupied land owned by Syngenta leading to the murder of a leader of the Movimento dos Sem Terra and five other injured activsts.

[4] In 2006 the four main seed companies (Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta and Groupe Limagrain) controlled 44% of the seeds market. That same year Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta dominated 46% of the global market in seed patents. At the same time, Montsanto, Bayer, Syngenta and DuPont-Pioneer controlled 100% of the global market in genetically modified seeds: ETC Group, 2007. The ten most important seed companies in the world – 2006. Available in Spanish at: http://www.etcgroup.org/en/node/657

[5] During the years 2007 and 2008, while the combination of the food crisis and the global financial crisis increased the number of hungry people in the world to more then 1,000 million, Syngenta and the rest of the agro-foods TNCs beat their own records in profits: Grain, 2009. The corporations continue to speculate with hunger. Available in Spanish at: http://www.grain.org/seedling/?id=596

[6] GRAIN, ODG, Entrepobles, Xarxa de Consum Solidari and Veterinaris Sense Fronteres, 2009. Cocinando el planeta. Hechos cifras y respuestas sobre cambio climático y sistema alimentário global: 6. Available at: http://www.grain.org/o/?id=85

[7] Aguado, J; 2010; Los transgénicos nos expulsan del campo y de nuestros pueblos. Available at: http://www.anticapitalistas.org/node/5099. On the website of the Platform Som Lo Que Sembrem there is a list of the principal imapcts of GM crops, along with links to the studies to certify them ( http://www.somloquesembrem.org/index3.php?actual=7&actual2=167).

[8] See, for example, the article “La Ciencia basura de la EFSA” on the Greenpeace website: http://www.greenpeace.org/espana/campaigns/transgenicos

[9] As an example, take the case of Syngenta’s bt176 maize, approved and sown in Europe and in the Spanish State for years before evidence of the risks it posed to health forced the EEC to ban it; or the repercussion in the European and Spanish press of the scandal surrounding MON863, which came to light in May 2005. See the version published on 22nd May in the English newspaper The Independent on Sunday, or the 24th May in El Mundo (page29).

[10] Friends of the Earth, 2008. Las Malas Compañías: La relación entre la Comisión Europea y la Industria de los transgénicos. Available at: http://www.tierra.org/spip/spip.php?article564

[11] Plataforma Transgènics Fora!, Assemblea Pagesa y Greenpeace, 2006; La imposible coexistencia. Available at: http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/espana/reports/copy-of-la-imposible-coexisten.pdf

[12] Binimelis, R., 2008. Coexistence of plants and coexistence of farmers: Is an individual choice possible? Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 21(5): 437–457.

Report via GMWatch.

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56 responses to “Uprooting ecoterrorism: Syngenta GM crops sabotaged in Spain

  1. Good for them.

    Commercialism is a sick philosophy of manipulating nature that we really don’t need.

  2. I’d like to see more people taking matters into their own hands. None of the biotech crops can be stopped from contaminating natural ones!

    yet the Supreme Court, FDA, USDA, et al. allow GMO use.

    Corporations are killing the planet; we need to stop them.

    Any means necessary.

    • It’s a No-Brainer. Non-GMO premium corn genetics are designed for yield, with no compromise for standability or drydown. Products are carefully chosen to match trait rotation systems, IRM refuge areas, and premium markets. You’ll see the benefit of leading genetics when compared to other hybrids on your farm – with or without traits.

  3. try- the Aussie FSANZ just allowed the smartstax crap corn products to be imported and used in Aus…with NO Public input and hidden away in their lists. anyone wanting info go to the MADGE site Rady has listed in the blogrolls.
    I am furious! its devious and risking our health, USA is also pushing for NO Labelling here so as not to “upset” their sales!
    well the women of Aus, will be contacting the useless twits we have in power and suggesting if they want a job for much longer they had better stop and reconsider their approach to GM.
    Gimme a box of matches!

    • Hey, Oz ~ isn’t that something?

      these creeps are so slimy they force a product on us that we DON’T WANT!

      I think the activists in Spain and India have the right idea.

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  6. Dank und Hochachtung an alle die diese Risiken in Kauf nehmen und unsere Erde (die gehört nicht Monsanto & Co !!) schützen wollen. Ich denke es wird der Tag kommen, an dem alle Menschen dieser Erde zusammenrücken müssen und das einfordern, was ihnen zusteht. Freiheit statt Kapitalgesellschaften!

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  42. This is just another thing that has come out of America. The most corrupt country on the planet. IT MUST BE STOPPED, THEY MUST BE STOPPED

  43. GMO crops, when looked at from the perspective of PHYSICAL OUTCOMES upon animals and people, comprise a physical ABUSE of this planet and all life forms. They must be DE-FINANCED and totally regulated. Corporate renegade hegemony must be halted at the Courts; and if the Courts are bribed, they must be removed, recalled and charged with corporate corruption.

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  45. About time. We are not even eating the same, wheat, rice, and oats our ancestors did 150 years ago. Much of the genetically modified staples of life are now killing us with inflammation as our bodies fight these substances we are not genetically programmed to eat.

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