Reality-Check
June 7, 2013
Rebels with the wrong target: pointless vandalism in the south of France
Vandalism in seed warehouse

The faucheurs spent hours tampering with seeds, some of which were ready to be shipped to developing countries.

Around 80 activists illegally entered Monsanto’s Trèbes maize seed plant last Friday, Jan. 17, and for 12 hours tampered with seed destined for farms in France and other countries, including developing countries. Local authorities asked police special forces to remove them after they refused to leave, threatening their own safety as well as that of others.

Monsanto condemns such pointless vandalism.

The individuals who invaded our seed plant in Trèbes tampered with the fruit of years of research and development and labour by literally thousands of French farmers who grow these seeds.

Such an invasion is very unsettling for our employees, as it would be for anyone. It comes at a time when the region has the highest unemployment in France. It is disappointing to see organizations from outside the local community recruit activists to disrupt the lives of our employees and tamper with the harvest of local farmers.

The organization which called for the occupation, the faucheurs volontaires, has already been convicted and fined for criminal destruction of property by France’s highest court in a related incident.

We are committed to our site in Trébes, where our employees work and live, and where thousands of farmers count on our seeds as well as on producing our seeds.

Our seeds help farmers produce more with less, delivering a significant benefit to society as our planet’s population approaches 9 billion people in 2050.

As a responsible company dedicated to quality and our customers’ satisfaction, we will contain the damage and test our seeds to ensure the purity of the seed we sell to farmers.

In the meantime, like anyone whose house has been broken into and suffered damage we have filed a criminal complaint. We have full confidence that the French authorities will punish those accountable.

The protesters claimed to be protesting GM seed. As we have said several years ago and the protesters knew full well, Monsanto does not sell any GM maize in France or have any intention to do so anytime soon and there is none [to be found] at the Trèbes plant.

While we fully respect everyone’s right to express their opinions peacefully, trespassing and vandalism are criminal acts. There is nothing noble about destruction of property and sabotage.

In a world which is still struggling to feed hungry people it is unacceptable to tamper with seeds for political or propaganda purposes.

If you are interested in learning more about how we process maize seed in Trèbes and our other seed plants in Europe, they are described clearly in the brochure Where Seeds Come From that is available on this blog’s Downloads page in several languages.