Contact: Jeffrey Tufenkian 619-584-6462

Date: November 28, 1999

An underground group opposed to genetic engineering (GE) struck GE tree research facilities in Puyallup and Seattle, WA on Friday according to a communique released today.

The group calling itself the "Washington Tree Improvement Association" destroyed contents of a research greenhouse at the WSU facilities in Puyallup and felled approximately 200 deciduous trees and saplings used in GE research at UW College of Urban Horticulture facilities in Seattle. The group also freed native squirrels at the WSU facilities.

These actions, which immediately precede the opening of the WTO talks in Seattle, represent the eighteenth and nineteenth known anti-GE actions in North America this year. They also mark the one year anniversary of the first U.S. decontamination of GE crops in the recent anti-GE resistance. Details of past anti-GE actions are available at This action follows a recently-released World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report highlighting the dangers of GE super-trees which can cross pollinate with native trees over a distance of 400 miles and which are being grown in field trials without knowledge of the consequences.

GenetiX Alert is an independent news center which works with other above-ground, anti-genetic engineering organizations. GA has no knowledge of the person(s) who carryout any underground actions. GA does not advocate illegal acts, but seeks to explain why people destroy genetically engineered crops and undertake other nonviolent actions aimed at resisting genetic engineering and increasing the difficulty for entities which seek to advance genetic engineering or its products. GA spokespeople are available for media interviews.

Reporters and other interested parties may contact GenetiX Alert at: phone: 619-584-6462, fax: 619-528-1449
PO Box 3992, San Diego, CA 92163, USA
contact: Jeffrey Tufenkian

(communique follows immediately below)

Communique: Washington Tree Improvement Association Strikes!!!

November 27, 1999
Puyallup, Washington WSU
Seattle, Washington UW

Just three days prior to the WTO Ministerial in Seattle, the "Washington Tree Improvement Association" paid a visit to two locations involved in the genetic mutilation of trees. Both UW and WSU are doing research to aid corporations in the complete destruction of forests worldwide. Most of the research is on the Populus family, an "economically important" tree, valued for its fast growth and ease of manipulation.

"Tree improvement" took place at WSU facilities in Puyallup where massive groves of genetically modified cottonwoods and poplars loom, threatening native forests.

A greenhouse was slashed into and all research materials inside were sabotaged. Water lines and hoses were cut, every pot was emptied and smashed, and the soil was spread throughout the greenhouse. All of this was done under the watchful eye of increased, roving security because just last week the Avian Health Center at Puyallup was sabotaged by the Animal Liberation Front in resistance to the commodification of life. It's clear that persistence pays off and that they can't stop us no matter how much they spend on security.

At the University of Washington, Professor Toby Bradshaw conducts research on poplars, genetically engineering them to be resistant to leaf rust, a fungus that threatens the profit margins of timber companies that grow poplars. Founder of the Poplar Molecular Genetics Cooperative, Bradshaw receives funds from such timber giants as Alberta Pacific Forest Industries, Scott Paper Ltd., Boise Cascade, Union Camp, Champion International, Westvaco, Fort James, Weyerhaeuser, Inland Empire Paper Company. U.S. DoE Biofuels Feedstock Development Program, Pacifica Papers Ltd. and Potlatch Corporation. His lab exists to serve industry and to engineer the poplar (and other trees in the Populus family) to have stronger industrial characteristics and be more profitable. In addition to this lab's activities, UW is genetically engineering poplars for phytoremediation, in other words, to clean up toxic waste generated by corporations. In light of this, the Washington Tree Improvement Association visited Bradshaw's facilities at the UW College of Urban Horticulture.

Approximately 200 deciduous trees and saplings used in genetics research were felled.

In solidarity with the animal liberation movement, research cages containing squirrels native to the area were cut into and left open for them to escape. Human, earth, and animal liberation is, after all, ultimately the same cause.

The professors and students whose research was destroyed will likely raise a hue and cry, but we would respond with the following: scientists have become mercenaries in the war against the earth and the impoverished. There is no such thing as "pure" genetics research, it all goes towards commercial applications such as lifeless, monocultured poplar tree farms. The researchers conducting genome projects on people, animals, and plants call genetic code that has no clear commercial application "junk DNA." In the corporate/industrial world view, the very essence of evolution and life itself is a commodity to be violently isolated, manipulated, and sold to the market.

These actions coincide with the one year anniversary of the first U.S. decontamination of GE test crops in the current anti-biotech uprising. Since that time people have taken 20 known direct actions against the industry. Due to the efforts of many, a wave of resistance has finally washed upon our shores in the U.S. and Canada, and the corporations are scrambling to put a lid on this crisis. What will the next year bring? It's up to you to decide.

The Washington Tree Improvement Association improves the life of trees stuck in the shackles of biotech research through conscientious, nocturnal forestry. The bottom line is that you cannot improve trees and you cannot improve nature. Stop the commodification of life! More to come...


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This page last updated November 29, 1999
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