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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06PARIS5154
2006-07-31 07:59:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Paris
Cable title:  

JUDICIAL DECISIONS FAVORABLE TO BIOTECH CULTIVATION

Tags:   EAGR  ETRD  EUN  FR 
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Lucia A Keegan  07/31/2006 10:35:24 AM  From  DB/Inbox:  Lucia A Keegan

Cable 
Text:                                                                      
                                                                           
      
UNCLAS        PARIS 05154

SIPDIS
cxparis:
    ACTION: AGR
    INFO:   TRDO UNESCO SCI POL ECNO DCM AMB ECON

DISSEMINATION: AGRX
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: AGR: EBERRY
DRAFTED: AGR: MCHENARD
CLEARED: AGR: MMEADOR EMIN: TWHITE SCI:VBELON

VZCZCFRI963
RR RUEHC RUEHRC RUCNMEM RUEHMRE RUEHSR RUEHGV
RHEHAAA
DE RUEHFR #5154/01 2120759
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 310759Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9925
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
RUEHMRE/AMCONSUL MARSEILLE 1219
RUEHSR/AMCONSUL STRASBOURG 0146
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2451
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 005154 

SIPDIS

BRUSSELS PASS USEU FOR AGMINCOUNSELOR
STATE FOR OES; EUR/ERA AND EB (SPIRNAK);
STATE PASS USTR FOR MURPHY;
USDA/OS/JOHANNS AND PENN/TERPSTRA;
USDA/FAS FOR OA/ROBERTS/SIMMONS/JONES;
ITP/SHEIKH/HENKE/MACKE/TOM POMEROY/MIKE WOOLSEY/GREG YOUNG; BOB
RIEMENSCHNEIDER
FAA/SEBRANEK/BLEGGI;
EU POSTS PASS TO AGRICULTURE AND ECON
GENEVA FOR USTR, ALSO AGRICULTURE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD EUN FR
SUBJECT: JUDICIAL DECISIONS FAVORABLE TO BIOTECH CULTIVATION

REF: PARIS 2439

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 005154

SIPDIS

BRUSSELS PASS USEU FOR AGMINCOUNSELOR
STATE FOR OES; EUR/ERA AND EB (SPIRNAK);
STATE PASS USTR FOR MURPHY;
USDA/OS/JOHANNS AND PENN/TERPSTRA;
USDA/FAS FOR OA/ROBERTS/SIMMONS/JONES;
ITP/SHEIKH/HENKE/MACKE/TOM POMEROY/MIKE WOOLSEY/GREG YOUNG; BOB
RIEMENSCHNEIDER
FAA/SEBRANEK/BLEGGI;
EU POSTS PASS TO AGRICULTURE AND ECON
GENEVA FOR USTR, ALSO AGRICULTURE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD EUN FR
SUBJECT: JUDICIAL DECISIONS FAVORABLE TO BIOTECH CULTIVATION

REF: PARIS 2439


1. Summary: Two recent judicial decisions have been supportive of
biotech cultivation in France. The first overturned a lower court
ruling exonerating test plot destroyers. The second required
Greenpeace to remove from its website names and locations of biotech
corn growers. Both decisions will help provide a more rational
environment for biotech cultivation in France. Nonetheless, the
group of anti-biotech activists, "Faucheurs Volontaires" (Voluntary
Cutters), continue to threaten the biotech industry and claim they
plan to attack commercial biotech crops. End Summary.


2. On June 22, the Orleans Court of Appeals upheld the original
conviction of 49 people found guilty of destroying biotech plots
belonging to Monsanto in the Orleans area. This decision overturned
a lower court ruling last December releasing the defendants from
liability. The Appeals Court reinstated a two-month jail sentence
for one defendant and the others each received suspended jail
sentences and a 1,000 euro fine. The Court will continue to
investigate Monsanto's claim for 390,000 euros in damages.


3. Monsanto welcomed the Court's decision stating that it
"implements the law, protecting farmers' property as well as
authorized and monitored experimentation." The French planting seed
organizations commented that the Court's decision underlined the
legitimacy of the "right to conduct research." The defendants, part
of a group called Faucheurs Volontaires (Voluntary Cutters), plan to
appeal the decision and to continue to fight biotech development in
France through acts of physical destruction.

--------------
Persistent Acts of Protest
--------------


4. On April 13, fifty people from Faucheurs Volontaires and
Greenpeace stormed a Monsanto site in southwestern France (Aude
area), demonstrated against GMO's and hung a banner stating "from

the field to the plate, no GMO." Demonstrators were arrested at the
site.


5. In June, another group of Faucheurs Volontaires, associated with
the activist farmers' union, Confederation Paysanne, sent
approximately forty anti-biotech activists to sow organic corn seeds
in a GM test field in southern Paris (Loiret area). The group
claimed responsibility for "sowing life" in contrast to their
position that biotech companies "sow death."


6. In July, Monsanto announced that three of its test plots were
damaged and Limagrain, the leading French seed company, and its
genetics subsidiary, Biogemma, also announced it had had test plots
destroyed by a group from "Voluntary Cutters." Also in July, the
"Voluntary Cutters" announced they would expand their destruction
from experimental test plots to commercial production fields for the
first time this summer.


7. On July 26, Greenpeace was judicially required to remove from
its website a map of France with the locations of fields of biotech
corn, as well as the names of biotech corn growers, because of
privacy infringement. The farmers whose names were indicated on
Greenpeace website had sued Greenpeace, with the help of the French
Corn Growers Association (AGPM). In reaction, Greenpeace activists
destroyed some biotech corn in one of these fields, marking a large
cross which was photographed from an helicopter by a
nationally-known photographer.

-------------- --------------
Biotech Farmers Support Adoption of Biotech Crops
-------------- --------------


8. In a more positive step for the advancement of biotech
development in France, at the annual French corn producers meeting
in June, a farmer publicly discussed his justifications for planting
Bt corn. He listed the advantages of reduced pesticide use, higher
production of high quality corn not weakened by European corn borer
attacks, and the benefits of staggering corn harvests.


9. And further, Cultivar magazine, a French technical publication,
published an interview in its July issue with a farmer growing
biotech corn for commercial sale in which he described the different
management steps he took from planting, to coexistence with
non-biotech corn, through harvesting.


10. Comment: Some previous court rulings favoring test plot
destroyers have been discouraging to farmers as well as researchers,
who reduced their activities in France and/or moved outside of
France. These recent more positive rulings will favor biotech
research and production, particularly if accompanied by reasonable
legislation on GM and non-GM coexistence. However, the French
Biotech Bill has languished in the French Parliament since its vote
by the Senate last March (reftel) for political reasons.
Biotechnology is a controversial issue and French Parliamentarians
are wary of acting on this legislation in the current
pre-presidential and parliamentary campaign period before the
elections of May 2007. Still risky, this year's biotech corn crop is
expected to reach a record 3,000 to 5,000 ha, and would be higher if
risks were diminished. Most of the biotech corn grown in France
goes to Spain in animal feed. End Comment.

Stapleton