Marches are occurring on six continents, in thirty-six countries, for a total of 250 cities. In the United States forty-seven of the fifty states are participating, and synchronized the states for a start of 11 a.m. PDT. The participants are protesting Monsanto.
Why are they protesting against one of the giants in the biochemical industry? Because they are the evil giant of the biochemical industry. Their production of “Genetically Modified Organisms”, GMO’s, are said to be dangerous by many who watch our food. They inaccurately call themselves an “agribusiness”.
What are GMO’s? “Genetically modified plants are grown from seeds that are engineered to resist insecticides and herbicides, add nutritional benefits or otherwise improve crop yields and increase the global food supply.” Most corn, soybean and cotton crops grown in the United States today have been genetically modified.
Here are five reasons why protestors believe Monsanto is a company that is dangerous and is only interested in profit over food safety.
1: Monsanto came into being in 1901. Since that time it has produced some of the most dangerous chemicals the world has ever known such as PCB’s and dioxin. The one most will remember was an herbicide and defoliant, Agent Orange, which was used for nine years, and killed or maimed 400,000 people (estimated by the Vietnam government), and ultimately caused birth defects for 500,000 children? Monsanto made that possible. Many Vietnam Veterans continue to suffer from its effects.
Monsanto continues to ‘poison the world’, and has settled lawsuits all over the planet. Scientific studies have linked the chemicals in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticides to Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, autism and cancer.
2: Monsanto has taken a path to monopolize farming, and eliminate the independent grower. A famous case was 75 year old soy bean farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman. He had found some seeds on a grain belt conveyor. He planted them. Monsanto discovered that they were a product of their company. They sued him. A court decided that even “second generation” seeds were Monsanto’s property, and Bowman was ordered to pay the chemical company $85,000 in damages.
Other farmers have subsequently been sued for crops resulting from Monsanto’s contamination.
At the end of 2012, Monsanto’s profits were 2.94 billion dollars, double what analysts had projected.
In an article titled “Monsanto’s Earnings Nearly Double as They Create a Farming Monopoly”, author Charlotte Silver outlines how Monsanto has increased the price of the Roundup herbicide and exploiting its patent on transgenic corn, soybean and cotton, to gain control over those agricultural industries in the US, “…effectively squeezing out conventional farmers (those using non-transgenic seeds) and eliminating their capacity to viably participate and compete on the market.” The original article was published in Al Jazeera.
The Department of Justice began an investigation of alleged charges that Monsanto was attempting to gain a monopoly in the biotech industry, but it faded away quietly by the end of 2012.
3: Monsanto, along with other companies, are attempting to gain control of all areas that contain drinkable water. Estimates are that by 2030, free water will become less and less available. They are purchasing the rights to groundwater and aquifers, and at present own 5% of all fresh water sources.
In Europe, Monsanto has been known to dump the byproducts of its toxic products into the fresh water system. In turn, they buy up the contaminated water, filter it, and sell it back to the public.
4: When the United States Congress was forced into adopting and signing the Continuing Resolution bill, (after the failure of the Sequestration to be averted), which was no more than a band aid to give the country authority to continue paying its bills, a provision was added called the “Farmer Assurance Provision, Section 735.” It says that it is illegal to stop the use of genetically engineered seeds by any farmer or producer. The word producer was directed at Monsanto. President Obama signed the bill into law on March 29.
5: Tammy Canal, who is credited with being the catalyst of today’s march, points to studies that accuse biotech companies for the decrease in the bee population.
They are accused of hiding the fact that they poisoned an Alabama town with PCB’s for decades.
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) says that although Monsanto claims to assist in the increased production of food sources throughout the world, they are actually preventing “sustainable agriculture”. They state that their genetically engineered products are resulting in strains of weeds that make it more difficult to grow healthy crops. They add that because the products they use require increased use of products such as their own “Round-up”, there has become an increase in health-related conditions caused by the pesticides.
Last year, Monsanto spent nearly $6 million on lobbying, and their payoff was the “Monsanto Protection Act,” which was written anonymously, passed in secret, and allows Monsanto to keep selling genetically engineered seeds even if a federal court says they may pose a health risk. They have now introduced a bill to disallow Connecticut and Vermont to introduce legislation requiring labeling of GMO products. Senator Jeff Merkley is demanding a floor vote to repeal it.
The Guardian Express