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Greenpeace activists are preventing the Polish registered ship Orletta Lwowskie from bringing 56,000 tonnes of soya beans into the UK at Liverpool Docks. The shipment contains a mixture of natural and genetically engineered soya beans. This is the first direct shipment of these contraversial soya beans into the UK.
Activists in inflatable boats tailed the ship, protesting its progress towards the dockside.Once at the dock the activists locked themselves onto the lock gates and ladders, preventing the ship from docking.
A large banner reading "Floodgate to genetic pollution" was hung across the 73,000 tonne, 228 meter long, hip's length. In a simultaneous action further inside the dockyard, Greenpeace activists scaled the two unloading cranes at the wharf - the shipment's destination - and disabled them by hanging a second banner from their loading arms.
The shipment of genetically engineered soya beans is destined for processing at the Cargill's grain plant, for use in the UK market. The shipment comes from near New Orleans, exit point for much of the United States' huge soya crop. This year an estimated 2% of the crop has been genetically engineered by the chemical giant Monsanto to make it resistant to the company's Round Up herbicide.
The Round Up Ready soya bean, as the genetically modified soya bean is called, has been the cause of growing concern and contraversy inthe UK. Soya is an ingredient in up to 60% of the processed food eaten in Britain (bread, margerine, chocolate etc). Because these beans are mixed with natural beans before they leave the US, food manufacturers - such as Unilever -in the UK, claim that they cannot avoid using them.
However, Unilever in Germany has given its customers assurances that it will not use genetically engineered soya. Consumers concerned about genetically engineered food will not know which foods to avoid buying as the products will not be labelled. They will effectively be denied a choice.
Simon Reddy of Greenpeace said " This dockside represents the floodgates for genetic pollution. Cargill wanted to bring it in without telling anyone and then mix it in our food without giving people any choice. It's underhand, devious and wrong. The Public does not benefit from this genetic engineering. We can't risk releasing it into the environment".
For more info call Greenpeace on: 0171 865 8255 or 0171 354 5100
In Britain, Women's Environmental Network will be leafleting supermarkets, Earth First! will be taking direct action somewhere - and in London some people from Reclaim the Streets will be taking part in an action, they can be contacted on: 0171 281 4621. WEN can be contacted on (0171) 354 8823 and Manchester Earth First! can be contacted on (0161) 224 4846