ONE DOWN . . . HAPPY NEW YEAR 2001 AVENTIS

On Sunday 7th January 2001 part of a farm-scale trial site at Harbury in Herefordshire was destroyed by 'Two Peasants, a Pixie and a Pair of Marigolds'. The five entered the field shortly before midnight and during four hours pulled up about 200sq metres of oilseed rape.

In a statement, the group explained they had taken action after an earlier demonstration and public meeting had failed to prevent the trial from going ahead. "As local people we formed an affinity group with both collective and well-reasoned personal motivation for our actions.

We feel that the strength of our arguments will vindicate our action and keep the issue in the public domain," they stated. "We want to remind the government, Aventis and the farmer, who have brushed aside the strong arguments and genuine concerns of the public, bio-scientists and environmentalists, that people aren't content to see this continue and feel their only avenue to protect the environment is to take direct action themselves."

"We completely cleared the area of all the oilseed. We were literally on our knees pulling them out at the roots. It was to highlight the issue to the local and national government that we don't feel the public is being listened to. And because we feel they have acted illegally, we feel we have done nothing wrong," a protester explained, vowing the campaign would continue as long as the trials and the use of the technology continued.