GM sunflower action in France

Scything of mutated sunflowers (or hidden GM) in Indre et Loire

Many Faucheurs Volontaires d'OGM (Volunteer Scythers of GM, as anti-genetic crop trashers are called there) on Saturday decontaminated a field of GM sunflowers, grown to be resistant to pesticide. One of the fields was in Sorigny and the other in Saint-Branchs, to the south of Tours. The gendarmes (the rural police) took 27 of the 200 into custody, and released them later in the afternoon.

'Hidden-GM plants' though classed as GM under European directive 2001/18/CE, they aren't actually covered by GM legislation. They haven't had genes inserted, but are mutated at the genome level through chemical genetic mutation, or irradiation. They have not been tested before being released into fields. A patent 'protects' the mutated gene, preventing farmers keeping seed. The action was also against the privatisation of seed. The decontaminators did the first field, held a press conference at a second field before doing that one, and though the police turned up then, they tried to arrest the journalists! They were arrested after being followed to their debrief point, when one car broke down and many others stayed in solidarity.

Pioneer decided not to lodge a complaint, but the protesters remain under threat from the owners of the field who continue to pursue them legally.