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German beekeepers fight back against GM corn.

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Joined: 06 Aug 2006
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Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 08 10:07 am    Post subject: German beekeepers fight back against GM corn.  Reply with quote    

This was posted by Phil from the Top bar beekeeping forum.
If only our BBKA could be so proactive instead of being the lakeys of Bayer.
The report below was sent to me by Walter Haefecker. All the pictures and newspaper reports can be found here http://www.biobees.com/images/German_demo/

Dear friends,

as you know, the bavarian government is growing MON-810 Bt-corn as part
of a bogus research project. A german court ruled, that any
contamination of bee products with MON-810 will render these unfit to be
marketed, because MON-810 only has approval as feed but not as food.

The court further ruled, that the beekeepers will have to move their
hives out of the area to protect their products, but may sue the
government for civil damages to recover their cost and losses.

This week, corn will start to bloom. The beekeepers are mostly hobbyists
without the necessary equipment and with their bad backs, they need
help moving their hives.

This is were we come in. On Tuesday, we as professional beekeepers did
evacuate more than 50 hives for our fellow beekeepers with heavy duty
equipment (easy loader etc.).

Now, we did not bring the bees just anywhere. We did bring them to
the bavarian captital Munich and set them up in refugee camps throughout
the city and especially in front of the bavarian parliament and the
governers office.

The bees, that have been driven off their land by the Bavarian
government's actions were officially welcomed by representatives of
the city of Munich, which has declared itself GMO-free, as well as
members of the bavarian parliament and the beekeepers associations here
in Munich, who have offered to grant them "political asylum". There was
the ceremonial opening of the entrances of the hives. It was a beautiful
sunny day and the bees happily started exploring the city. The ignored
the safety perimiter around the governent buildings just as the ignore
seperation distances around gm-fields.

State television and radio and national and local newspapers were in on
the story and were loving it. Bertram Verhaag has filmed the whole
exodus with his crew for an upcoming documentary and a political
TV-show, which is going to air Thursday night prime time on Bavarian
state television.

This comes as a particularly bad time for the present Bavarian
administration, since they are up for re-election in a few months and
causing the flight of the beekeepers does not look good at all. In the
above mentioned court case, the press reported, that the government
attorney was pretty much silent and Monsanto's legal team did all the

The greens in the Bavarian parliament have offered bills to help the
beekeepers, but the ruling party has used a rare procedure to table the
vote until after the election. This also looks bad and we are making
sure the voters will be well informed about this.

For those of you, that are able to read German, I'm including some of
the press coverage. The others still may enjoy the pictures, the press
has published of our refugees. In the case of the nationwide paper "the
Tageszeitung (TAZ), we made it onto the front page.

Overall, the press and the public have received our action extremely
well. Several radio stations did broadcast this as a major news item
throughout the day and citizens of Munich came to visit our refugee
camps to show their interest and support.

We removed the bees from the government locations at the end of the day,
but all evacuated colonies will remain in the city at several sites
owned by the beekeeping associations until the end of the bloom of the

On the 27th of this month is an open house at one of the beekeeping
facilities where the general public has a chance to visit the evacuated
colonies and learn more about beekeeping in general and the issue of
gm-crops and beekeeping specifically.

The teamwork between all beekeeping organisations, hobbyists and
professionals, has been tremedous. Also, the city of munich went out of
it's way to welcome the affected bees. Some of us were invited into the
Bavarian Parliament for lunch with several members, which we were
allowed to attend in our beekeeping suits, which we had worn since 3:30
am, when we started loading the bees onto our truck/trailer in the
affected region over 100km north of the city.

Kind regards,

Walter Haefecker

European Professional Beekeepers Association
Member of the Board of Directors
German Professional Beekeepers Association
Deutscher Berufs und Erwerbsimkerbund e.V

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