French farmer Jose Bove has said he will go on a hunger strike against genetically modified crops in France. The activist farmer wants to see the government extend the ban on GMO crops – due to end this February – until the end of 2008, allowing time for further research.
Bove announced this week that he would start an unlimited hunger strike on January 3 along with 10 to 15 other activists. He made his statement at the Court of Justice in southern France, where his four-month jail sentence for destroying a GMO field in 2004 was converted to a fine.
France is Europe’s biggest grain producer and has remained highly suspicious of GMO crops but recently announced the introduction of commercial GMO seeds. Protest around the issue saw the government formally suspend the use of these seeds until February 9 and order a biotech safety study.
However, Bove says “everyone knows that there are no sowings during winter. We demand a real pause in GMO use in 2008. It must be a year without GMOs and we are starting this hunger strike to show our determination.”
Bove became a worldwide celebrity for his fight against junk food when he spent six weeks in jail in 2003 for smashing up a McDonald’s restaurant. His protest was launched when the United States imposted tariffs in response to a European Union ban on imports of North American hormone-treated beef.