Polish beekeepers achieve ban on Monsanto genetically modified corn, 2012


Achieve complete ban on all GE crops and pesticides found damaging to the environment and especially to honeybees.

Time period notes

One-day campaign

Time period

March 15, 2012 to March 15, 2012



Location City/State/Province

Warsaw, Poland

Location Description

Center-city streets of Warsaw leading to the Ministry of Agriculture
Jump to case narrative

Segment Length

1 day

Notes on Methods

It is difficult to separate the campaign into segments as it took place in one day. The methods are therefore included under 'Additional methods' rather than under any segment.
Protesters and allies marched in the streets of Warsaw and gathered outside the Ministry of Agriculture. In terms of symbolism, the protesters incorporated the honeybee symbol into their costumes, banners, and objects they carried. They wore yellow and black striped outfits, traditional beekeeper uniforms, home-made costumes and other creations. They ran hive smoke guns as they walked, held banners, signs, and bee-like objects. Participants in the campaign placed thousands of dead bees on the steps of the Ministry of Agriculture.


Polish Beekeepers Association


Coalition for a GMO Free Poland
International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside (ICPPC)

External allies

volunteer allies, their exact identity not specified

Involvement of social elites

Not known


Polish government

Nonviolent responses of opponent

Not known

Campaigner violence

Not known

Repressive Violence

Not known





Group characterization


Additional notes on joining/exiting order

This campaign did not divide well into segments; the campaign consisted of a march that lasted one day. Therefore, there was no real joining/exiting order as all groups participated in the same time frame.

Segment Length

1 day

Success in achieving specific demands/goals

5 out of 6 points


0 out of 1 points


0 out of 3 points

Total points

5 out of 10 points

Notes on outcomes

5 out of 6 points are awarded for success. The campaigners achieved a ban on some GMOs but did not achieve a full ban on all GE crops as they had originally demanded. No infrastructure was established as part of the campaign. The exact growth was not known. It was not specified as to whether the march gathered and attracted additional protesters.

Database Narrative

In March of 2012, Polish beekeepers and allies stormed the streets of Warsaw to protest the use of genetically modified (GM) maize and potatoes. The protest served as a call to action to mobilize the Polish Ministry of Agriculture to ban genetically modified organisms (GMOs) definitively. The campaign was a partial success as it helped mobilize Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to impose farming bans on certain GM crops months later. 

In 1996, the agricultural biotechnology company Monsanto launched a project to develop an insect-protection corn that could be grown without the use of insecticides. This resulted in a new strand named MON810 which produces a protein from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This protein repels corn pests that can significantly harm the yield and quality of crops. Monsanto asserts that it is safe to humans, animals, insects, and all other non-targeted organisms. This assertion came after alleged extensive testing. On their website, Monsanto explains the benefits of MON810 use, stating that MON810 yields are higher due to less insect damage, quality of produce is higher due to reduction in contamination from mycotoxins, and the use of pesticide is not required. 

However, there is scientific evidence that MON810 has had harmful effects throughout its existence in American agriculture. Individuals and laboratories have performed testing to disprove the safety claims and have produced alarming results. Both MON810 and the chemicals used with it are accused of causing Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). This is a phenomenon where entire colonies of bees either die or disappear suddenly. MON810 is suspected to have sublethal effects on honey bees like immune suppression. John MacDonald, a biologist and Pennsylvanian beekeeper known for his research related to the negative effects of GM crops found that bees foraging near Bt crops were not able to gain enough weight to survive wintering. These honey bees generally failed to produce honey in their honey supers and those who did produced less than the amount of honey needed to help the colony survive the winter. The GM product and especially the honeybee collapse have great significance for the Polish government as honeybees are critical to crop pollination and the decline in their numbers poses a threat to the agricultural industry. 

In early March 2012, nine countries blocked an effort by the Danish EU presidency to allow expanded cultivation of GM crops in Europe. France imposed a ban on MON810 shortly thereafter.


Ananda, Rady. "Poland’s Monsanto Action Lays 1000s of Dead Bees on Govt Steps." Food Freedom News. N.p., 22 Mar. 2012. Web. <http://foodfreedomgroup.com/2012/03/22/319/>.
Harmon, Rashida. "Poland Bans GE Corn to Protect Bee Populations." Veg News Daily. N.p., 23 May 2012. Web. <http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=4527>.
"Poland Bans Cultivation of GM Maize, Potatoes." GMO-Free Regions. N.p., 4 Jan. 2013. Web. <http://www.gmo-free-regions.org/gmo-free-regions/poland/gmo-free-news-from-poland/news/en/26883.html>.
"Poland Bans Cultivation of GM Maize, Potatoes." Phys Org. N.p., 2 Jan. 2013. Web. <http://phys.org/news/2013-01-poland-cultivation-gm-maize-potatoes.html>.
"Polish Beekeepers Sting Monsanto." Capital Beekeepers. Capital Area Beekeeper's Association, 14 May 2012. Web. <http://capitalbeekeepers.org/?p=300>.
Sewell, Anne. "Beekeepers & Anti-GMO Protesters March in Warsaw." Digital Journal. N.p., 27 Mar. 2012. Web. <http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/321905>.

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy

Sophie Crochet 10132013