Agricultural Ministers meet in Brussels yesterday a few hours after Danish riot police arrested twenty nine Greenpeace activists who chained themselves to the bulk carrier Explorer, which had come from Argentina carrying 20, 000 tonnes of genetically engineered (GE) grains destined for animal feed.

Greenpeace activists successfully prevented the Italian ship from unloading its cargo destined for animal feed at the port of Aarhus, in Denmark for 44 hours until the ship, MV Greenpeace, was raided by Danish riot police at 3.30 local time this morning.

The MV Greenpeace has also been captured. As the police squad arrested the activists, this was welcomed by the animal feed industry, which is playing hardball against environmentalists in this game.

Greenpeace calls on the EU to take swift action to guarantee segregation and labelling of imports of GE animal feed. The Agricultural Ministers’ meeting in Brussels today must urge the Commission to take swift and appropriate action in this area.

“The European Commission needs to send a strong signal to the major GE animal feed exporters – Argentina and the United States – that labelling of all GE animal feed imports into Europe will be mandatory by the latter half of this year” said Brigid Gavin, GE Policy Advisor in Greenpeace EU- Unit.

“This would provide the appropriate incentive to farmers for the new planting season beginning in March and for the grain traders concerning the export of this year’s harvest next in the Autumn”, Gavin added.

Currently there is no European Union regulation to label GE animal feed or meat and dairy products derived from animals fed on GE feed. A draft ‘Novel Feed Regulation’ requiring labelling of GE feed will be proposed by the EU Commission in the coming months, but its approval and enforcement is expected to take two more years.

Fast interim measures are now called for as more and more major food retailers commit to selling food not produced from GE-fed animals and to ensure that the farmer knows what he is feeding his animals.

Greenpeace European Unit: Brussels, Brigid Gavin, GE Policy Advisor in Greenpeace EU- Unit Tel: +32- 495693710; Lorenzo Consoli, Media Officer, Tel: +32-496122112; In Denmark: Dan Hindsgaul, Greenpeace Genetic Engineering Campaigner +45 28 10 9021; (Mobile. Greenpeace International: Lorenz Petersen, GE campaigner, Tel: +49 177 3494844; Teresa Merilainen, Media Officer, Tel: +31 625031001.
Pictures available from Greenpeace International Picture Desk,
Kate Davidson, Tel: +31653819255 and footage from
Greenpeace video desk, Martin Atkins, Tel: +31-653504721.