ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

28 January 2003


1.Resign call to German over report on GM crops


1.Resign call to German over report on GM crops

The Western Mail - The National Newspaper Of Wales -  Jan 28 2003

THERE were calls for Rural Affairs Minister Mike German to resign last night after it was claimed that a report he said he knew nothing about had been with the National Assembly for months.

Anti-GM campaigners said they had evidence to show that a recent damning government report on genetically modified crops had been available to the Welsh Assembly Government for almost four months before it was released on Christmas Eve.

Campaign group GM Free Cymru said the matter was so serious that the minister should seriously consider his position.

Plaid Cymru agricultural spokesman Rhodri Glyn Thomas said he would be tabling an urgent question on the matter today.

Last night a spokeswoman for Mr German admitted that they had the report but said it had been sent among a bundle of documents and officials had not been notified of its presence.

The row follows the publication of a report by Defra, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which showed that GM crops were interbreeding with conventional crops and weeds.

After the report's release on Christmas Eve campaigners demanded to know whether the Welsh Assembly Government had known about its findings before AMs debated the issue a week earlier.

Questioned by Plaid Cymru AMs, Mr German denied any knowledge of the report before the debate.

Now, however, GM Free Cymru has been told by Defra that the Assembly was given a copy of the report on August 23.
Comment from Jean Saunders of GM-ACT:

Thought that you might like to see the extract from the ACRE minutes of meeting dated 5 SEPTEMBER 2002 that refers to the NIAB study.

The definition of "forthwith" obviously means hide it for as long as you can get away with............

"6.1 Report on monitoring large-scale releases of GM crops ACRE/02/P31 ACRE reviewed the final report of this monitoring programme undertaken for Defra by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, which considered gene flow by means of cross-pollination, seed dispersal and the persistence of volunteers... The Secretariat agreed to draft advice and publish the monitoring report forthwith."


2.DEBATES, EVENTS, REPORTS - multiple items

The Royal Society will hold a discussion meeting on GM plants on 11th
February 2003.
GeneWatch, The Five Year Freeze, Unilever and Elm Farm Research Centre will hold a conference on GMOs, Gene Futures on 11th February 2003. May be sold out?
"Who Twists the Helix?" takes the fiftieth anniversary of the Watson, Crick, Wilkins and Franklin double helical structure of DNA, not merely as an excuse for uncritical triumphalism, but as an opportunity for open debate on how we should respond to the geneticisation of society and nature. Uniquely among DNA50 ("Celebrating Life") events it will combine an analysis of the social and political dimensions of the gene with a thorough examination of the science.

It's happening in Cambridge, UK, on 17-19 March and details and the registration form can now be downloaded from

Events include:
*  The Genetic Futures Jury - a panel of non-specialists listening to around fifity specialists and coming to their own provisional conclusions about the next fifty years of the DNA age.

*  Maurice Wilkins - Nobel Laureate for his contribution, with Rosalind Franklin, to the DNA structure. Also noted for his activities trying to promote the democratisation of science and global disarmament.

*  Cafe Scientifique - A special DNA anniversary event held in the pub where Watson and Crick are said to have finalised their DNA model exactly fifty years ago
The anti-environmentlist quarry-industry front group, Scientific Alliance, hosted a one-day conference in London, Fields of the Future GM crops. The conference was preceded by Fields of the Future GM crops debates in Cardiff and Edinburgh.Proceedings of the conference can be read at:

The Scientific Alliance has the director of Horticulture Research International Prof Mike Wilson on its board. DEFRA published the independent quinquennial review of Horticulture Research International this month.
For more on Wilson and his mishandling of HRI:
Report of the Health Committee of the Scottish Parliament on GM crops needs bringing to the attention of MPs and representatives everywhere:

The report is available at:

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