6 Terrifying Things Monsanto Does: Why You Should Join the Second Global Protest on Saturday
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Frustrated that she couldn’t feed her family pesticide-free foods that hadn’t been genetically altered without spending a small fortune, a Utah mom named Tami Canal organized the first March Against Monsanto effort last year. What began as the young mother’s Facebook call to action has evolved into an ongoing global movement against harmful pesticides and rampant genetic engineering (GE) of the food supply (which still lacks independent, peer-reviewed studies to back up its safety).
At least 60 countries worldwide have implemented outright bans of Monsanto and genetically modified (GMO) food, including Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, South Australia, Russia, France, and Switzerland.
This Saturday, May 24, hundreds of thousands of people around the world are taking a stand against the mega corporation once again, in the second annual March Against Monsanto.
Last year AlterNet ran an article outlining some of the most horrifying Monsanto facts. Over the last year, thanks in part to the spotlight March Against Monsanto has pointed at the company, even more atrocities have come to light.
Here is an updated list of the most distressing Monsanto crimes against humanity.
1. Spurring thousands of farmer suicides.
In India, more than 250,000 farmers have taken their own lives after Monsanto’s Bt cotton seeds didn’t perform as promised. Monsanto has established a seed monopoly when it comes to Indian cotton. Seeds used to be the property of the farmer, but Monsanto patents the seeds it has genetically modified—even second-, third- and fourth-generation seeds are considered to be “Monsanto-owned.” Monsanto has created a monopoly in the country and its GMO seeds the only ones available, so farmers are forced to purchase the seeds from Monsanto, often on credit. When those seeds don’t perform as promised, or sometimes even if they do, the farmers are left trapped in severe poverty and debt. Some farmers have turned to drinking Monsanto’s poisonous pesticides in an attempt to free their families from that debt.
In a 2013 Al Jazeera article titled “Seeds of Suicide and Slavery Versus Seeds of Life and Freedom,” Vandana Shiva wrote that Monsanto’s PR is in stark contrast to reality. Of Monsanto India’s website, she wrote, “All the pictures are of smiling prosperous farmers from the state of Maharashtra. However, we see that the reality on the ground is completely different. Farmers are in debt and in deep distress, and have become dependent on Monsanto's seed monopoly.”
She wrote that what was once the cotton belt in India is now the suicide belt: “The highest suicides are in Maharashtra. Monsanto's talk of 'technology' tries to hide its real objectives of ownership, where genetic engineering is just a means to control seeds and the food system through patents and intellectual property rights.”
2. Releasing rogue GMOs without testing or government approval.
GMO seeds are approved for three of the four major US crops: soybeans, corn and alfalfa. But not wheat. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean you're not eating genetically engineered wheat.
In summer of 2013 a farmer in Oregon discovered that unapproved GE wheat was growing in his field. After testing, scientists confirmed the wheat was of a strain tested by Monsanto that was not approved due to concern other countries would not import the GE wheat.
The Washington Post reported:
Japan, the largest market for U.S. wheat exports, suspended imports from the United States and canceled a major purchase of white wheat on Thursday after the recent discovery of unapproved genetically modified wheat in an 80-acre field in Oregon.
Investors drove down the price of Monsanto shares by 4 percent on May 31 as South Korea joined Japan in suspending imports of U.S. wheat after an unapproved strain of genetically modified wheat was discovered in a field in eastern Oregon.