ARANJUEZ, Spain, September
15, 2003 -- CropChoice news -- (Reuters): Spanish farmers
and ecologists on Saturday invaded fields of genetically-modified
maize to protest against cultivation of the crop in the only European
country where it is grown on a commercial scale.
Around 80 protesters, some dressed in white suits that mimicked
the protective outfits scientists wear to clear up biological hazards,
picked corncobs, cordoned off GM plants, unfurled banners and spray-painted
slogans on walls at three GM trial sites throughout Spain.
The protests were timed to coincide with demonstrations at the
World Trade Organization (news - web sites) meeting in the Mexican
resort of Cancun, where agriculture has been one of the main sticking
Organizers said this was the first time farmers have risked arrest
by interfering with GM crops at a protest in Spain, where 20,000
hectares of genetically modified maize were cultivated in 2002,
out of a total of 460,000 sown to all maize.
"I'm here to demonstrate my repulsion at genetically modified
crops," said one 24 year old co-operative member. "We
want to spark a debate on GM crops, because in Spain there is silence
on this issue."