Fifteen participants of the bike caravan called at a supermarket in Werkendam and with warning signs and red&white tape put up a symbolic maize field. Activists dressed as men-in-white-suites from biotech multinationals like Monsanto, Pioneer and BASF visualised with soap bubbles the spreading of pollen of flowering gm maize. Others tried together with the public to catch these “pollen” with fishing nets. Also info leaflets were being handed out that explained what wrong with the field trials in Werkendam and with GE agriculture in general. Even though it was a relatively small and simple action it did attract a lot of local and regional media. One journalist started an investigation in all the shops; no shop owner knew about the plans for the GE field nearby and they all seemed to be unpleasantly surprised and displeased with the lack information from the authorities.
By means of this action members of the caravan wanted to draw attention to the growing pressure by corporations on the public to accept cultivation of genetically engineered crops in Europe. The Dutch government is proponent of biotechnological applications in agriculture, but there is little public discussion about the issue. Pieter, one of the activists who participated in the action, said "It is undemocratic that an international company and national governments stipulate where such a test will take place and not the municipality itself".
"But we are against every form of genetic engineering in agriculture" says Antje, a member of the bicycle caravan. "Breaking through natural borders is not the way to reach a sustainable agriculture. Field tests with completely incalculable consequences for the environment are irresponsible!" Sven explains why genetically manipulated crops are unnecessary: “For the consumer this technology brings absolutely nothing and for the farmers the results in the longer term are generally negative. It's especially large companies such as Monsanto and Pioneer that profit from it. They reinforce their unjust hold on agriculture by making farmers believe that their products are the only solution and by dominating the market".
From Werkendam the G8-bicycle caravan will continue to Utrecht, and from there via Nijmegen to Germany, where the G8 summit will be held in the seaside resort of Heiligendamm in early June. The issue of genetic engineering will play a large role in the protests against the G8.
— Contacts & informations:
More information about Gr8chaoskaravaan (western europe bicycle caravan against the G8 summit in Heiligendamm) and its earlier activities:
Informations about all bicycle caravans against the G8 summit:
Bicycle caravan info bureau in Rostock
Knut Rassmussenstr. 8