April 25th, 2002

PRESS RELEASE

Locals under siege from GMO’s in Dorset

Once upon a time in a country not far away, a compliant government started spending millions of its peoples money on ‘testing’ a commercial crop which 77% of the electorate said they wanted banned. Now, in the last year of those widely criticised trials, campaigners are scaling new heights in a last ditch attempt to defend the land from biotechs’ mutant maize and marauding rape.

Land baron Charles Foot woke this morning to find the local peasantry revolting. Foot soldiers reported that around forty people and a large white horse had mobilised by the light of the moon and were now resident in a pink castle on one of the two GM sites that besiege the Littlemoor estate near Weymouth. The castles owners said that the whole thing is a folly but are happy for protesters to use the property for however long it takes to prevent GM maize from being planted this year.

Pink castle - White horse

Today, the first day that the trials can be planted from, colourful flags, banners and bunting ripple in the sea breeze while children ride a cart pulled by the massive white horse. The 30ft pink fortification stands guard over the entrance of the field in which the mutant remains of last years GM maize crop can still be found.The castles residents welcome support or visitors wishing to find out more about the GM.

From the castle local bard, William Posters said-

"This spring English Nature have reported that growing GM will lead to the creation of ‘superweeds’ as well as threaten the livelihoods of conventional farmers. Britains top scientific body- the Royal Society- cast further doubt over the safety of GM crops and criticised the current regulations as inadequate. These field trials are a dangerous and pointless farce, if the government won't stop them it's up to all of us to take a stand."

Please phone the contact numbers given above for further information or check out http://www.sayhi.to/thecastle

Notes to Editors

This is no joke - it is all real. It is potentially the biggest and prettiest genetics story of the year. You don’t want to miss it.
The locations of these trials must be published 6 weeks prior to planting. Charles Foot cannot plant elsewhere without another 6 week public notification period, by which time the planting window for maize will be over. By occupying the field the locals hope to stop the further contamination of their area where they have been campaigning conventionally against the trials for over two years. (activities have included 2 rallies at the sites, 5 public meetings, several petitions and a protest ballot at the local school whose playground was under threat from GM being planted next to it.)

The GM maize concerned is Chardon LL, designed to be resistant to Aventis’ own herbicide (Glufosinate) and is the only GM variety currently going through the approval process for commercialisation. The public hearing about its suitability will be reconvening in Manchester in the next few days.

Contact: (+44) 07815 925214
or : (+44) 07733 133280