French Beekeepers Occupy Monsanto

Worried for the health of their bees as well as loosing their honey(a court recently ruled that a German beekeepers honey was unfit for human consumption because it contained traces of GMO corn) French beekeepers invaded a Monsanto location demanding an end to GMO crops.

There is a short video of this event in french here.

The following is my translation of a french article about the beekeepers protest at Monsato in France:

Friday a hundred beekeepers occupied the site of American argo-chemical giant Monsanto in Monbéqui for several hours to demand that the government quickly ban GMO corn in France.

The protesters left after the government re-affirmed their commitment to ban growing Monsanto 810.

This ban has been in question since the end of November when the state council had cancelled the suspension of growing GMO corn, a suspension imposed by the government in February 2008.

“The government is committed at the highest level to maintaining the ban on growing Monsanto 810, and notably for the next growing season.” the minister of Ecology told the AFP on Friday.

Olivier Belval, the president of the French National Beekeepers Union reported that a representative of the prefect guaranteed the protesters that a safeguard clause assuring the ban of selling and growing this GMO will be made, as promised in November by Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet the minister of Ecology.

The beekeepers will be received next week by the ministers of Agriculture and Ecology according to Guy Kastler of the Confédération paysanne(Rural Confederation) which was behind this action.

The beekeepers are worried by the risk that their honey will be contaminated by GMO corn and will be declared unsuitable for human consumption according to European policies. They want an immediate government decision, with a decree until the the safeguard clause is put into action.

Some twenty beekeepers huddled in a van were brought onto the site at Monbéqui, where Monsanto carries out corn growing experiments, using the trojan horse technique. They pretended to be a delivery truck, and once admitted the gates were opened to many dozens of others. The beekeepers came from all over the south-west according to journalists of the AFP

Some dressed in white with veils protecting their face brought two hives and smokers into the building before calling the Minister of Ecology by telephone.

“We demand an order banning the sale and growing of Monsanto 810 and a ban of all GMOs that produce nectar or pollen” that could pollute honey, declared Jean Sabench, a beekeeper from Hérault, spokesman for the Confédération paysanne.

Jean Sabench came for the survival of beekeeping, “already in peril”, but also for the survival of the bees, the disappearance of these essential pollinators will have heavy consequences on the environment and agriculture.

The government promised “a new clause that will not be legally attackable” said the minister of Ecology. She said It could be made before the sowing season at the end of February.

The Monsanto site at Monbéqui had been the victim of a reaping operation in 1999 by farmers of the Confédération paysanne.

This occupation is “an unacceptable violation of private property and illegal”, deplored Yann Fichet, directer of institutional affairs for Monsanto-France

According to the French National Beekeepers Union, in 2011 the production of French honey is estimated at around 20 000 tons, similar to that of 2010. But this quantity represents a great decline from 1995 harvests (32 000 tons).


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