Oilseed Rape

A call to remove GM Oilseed Rape
from Britain's countryside

The DIG IT UP! campaign was initiated on 18th May 2000 in response to the "accidental" planting of GM contaminated oilseed rape in the UK.

This archived website offers a record of this scandal and the DIG IT UP! campaign which ran for 3 months.

A big thank you to everybody who participated in the campaign.

Martin and Madeleine


The DIG IT UP! campaign

  The biotech industry may believe that the "accidental" release of GM oilseed rape is a fortuitous "accident" that will make us accept the inevitability of GM crops and GM food in the UK. We need to prove them wrong.
  We call upon the Government to instruct farmers to destroy all the GM contaminated oilseed rape crops and to guarantee full compensation to the farmers who have unknowingly planted them. We also call for an immediate halt to the current field trials of GM oilseed rape and the existing plantings to be removed and destroyed.

The Government has repeatedly assured us that GM crops will not be grown commercially in the UK until the current farm-scale trials are completed, but now they have no intention of stopping the "accidental" commercial growing of GM crops over vast swathes of the British countryside. This is grossly unjust and a betrayal of public trust in the Government.

The cross-pollination between conventional and GM oilseed rape in Canada, which has led to this contamination, proves the inadequacy of the buffer zones around the UK crop trials.

The Government has said that it intends to take no legal action against Advanta Seeds UK, the company which sold the contaminated seeds.

The French and Swedish governments have declared that these crops will be destroyed in their countries. Why not here too?

The current media coverage of this issue reflects widespread public anger at the Government's secrecy about the "accidental" planting of contaminated seeds and anger at its complacency about the consequences for British farming and the environment.



The DIG IT UP! campaign hopes to mobilise the public in an overwhelming show of protest.

We urge people to phone, email, send a letter, postcard, or anything, to their MP and to Tony Blair, Nick Brown, Mo Mowlam, Baroness Hayman, Michael Meacher and MAFF, and also to write to the newspapers and phone radio stations, always including the demand to "DIG IT UP!".

These three words alone will suffice, however, especially when they become a catch-phrase. The DIG IT UP! campaign might also include petitions, badges, t-shirts, posters, 'subvertising', demonstrations, a range of other actions - whatever people's time allows or their imagination suggests.


We invite everyone who is outraged by this damage to our environment and the Government's complacency about it to join the campaign.

The DIG IT UP! campaign was initiated by two members of Scarborough Against Genetic Engineering on 18th May 2000. We hope that people will join together in an overwhelming movement to have the contaminated crops removed and destroyed.


The "DIG IT UP!" slogan concisely expresses our demand. These are just three words; but say "DIG IT UP!" aloud three times and you will feel its power. Then think how the Government and the biotech industry will feel after hearing and reading this phrase thousands of times. It might work. It is certainly worth trying.


Note added on 05/07/00 (see diary for daily updates)
The Government has advised farmers to destroy their GM contaminated oilseed rape crops because it is illegal to grow or sell GM crops commercially in the EU. Advanta has also advised farmers to destroy these crops and it has agreed to pay them compensation for their loss. But it remains the case that:

  • MAFF does not know where GM contaminated oilseed rape crops have been planted.
  • The Government has not yet instructed farmers to destroy these crops before they flower and seed.
  • MAFF is not monitoring or collecting any data about the destruction of GM contaminated oilseed rape crops. MAFF cannot give even an approximate idea of how many farmers have voluntarily destroyed those crops.
  • There is no mechanism in place to ensure that farmers obey the law by not selling GM contaminated crops as GM-free.
  • The Government has not called a halt to the field trials of GM oilseed rape, despite clear proof that they must be contaminating crops in the surrounding countryside.


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Scarborough, UK, May 2000
updated daily