Archived press release
Scarecrows lobby parliament for a gm-free britain

Hundreds of scarecrows will descend on Westminster on Wednesday 23 February, joining people from across the country in calling for the right to choose GM-free food. Hundreds of people are expected to lobby Parliament and attend a rally where speakers will include former Environment Minister Michael Meacher MP. The event comes as the Government is considering legislation to control pollution from GM crops. A parallel event is taking place at the Welsh Assembly [1].

The event, organised by Friends of the Earth, the Five Year Freeze, FARM and the National Federation of Women's Institutes, comes as the threat of GM food and crops in the UK is increasing. The US is leading attempts to force GM food into Europe through a legal dispute at the World Trade Organisation. This has already led to two new GM foods being approved for import into the EU.

The UK Government supports GM crops being grown in Britain and is now deciding what rules are needed to pave the way. While nearly two thirds of people in the UK want tough rules to prevent any GM contamination of non-GM crops and food [2], the Government seems content to allow a legal framework that would lead to widespread contamination. A public consultation, which has been repeatedly delayed, is expected later this year [3].

Clare Oxborrow, GM Campaigner at Friends of the Earth said:

"The Government is planning to ignore public opinion by allowing GM crops to be grown in the UK without sufficient safeguards to protect our food, farming and environment from GM contamination. That is why hundreds of people are lobbying their MPs and urging them to stand up for the right to choose GM-free food, for stricter rules to prevent GM contamination, and liability laws to ensure that biotech companies pay if anything goes wrong."

Timings:

12:00-1:15 - Rally in Emmanuel Centre, Westminster. Speakers: Michael Meacher MP, Tony Juniper, Director, Friends of the Earth; John Sanderson, Suffolk farmer; Clare Hope-Cummings, lawyer and journalist from the US; Carrie Stebbings, Five Year Freeze.

1:15 onwards - mass lobby of Parliament, scarecrows and constituents queue outside the House of Commons to meet with their MPs. For more information see www.gmfreescarecrows.org

Notes

[1] For information contact Friends of the Earth Cymru

[2] www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/ ¬
scarecrows_lobby_parliament_20072004.html

[3] www.defra.gov.uk/environment/gm/crops/index.htm#Coexistence

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Published by Friends of the Earth Trust