It was brought to my attention recently that Monsanto is not bad–it’s just a corporation looking to make money. At the recent MSBA meeting Monsanto affiliate Jerry Hayes spoke about the company’s desire for sustainable agriculture (you can read that post here), but if that is true then there are some seriously misguided people leading that corporate entity. In my opinion, what really demonizes Monsanto is their complete and utter disregard for man and nature, and their incessant corporate greed.
There has been little to no safety testing performed on GM foods. Biotech companies often don’t use the whole GM grain in their feeding studies–instead they use a protein extract not even from the GM plant. And then feeding tests are only done for a few weeks.
Objective scientists outside the biotech corporations have largely been unable to perform significant long-term studies of GM-foods to determine their effects on animals and humans. Because of the technology agreement companies like Monsanto insist seed-users sign and comply with, researchers are unable to study these crops.
According to Judy Carman, Ph.D. GM food safety testing is woefully inadequate, and long-term safety tests are needed to ensure the public’s health.
If advocates of GM food believe they are safe, they would be confident that researchers would not find any problems. Instead they are paranoid. What are they frightened of? What are they trying to hide? What do they know that we don’t?
Disregard for nature
Biotech companies seem to have no regard for nature’s natural processes. Their GM crops have been shown to cause unintended harm to other organisms, such as the Monarch butterfly populations. B.t. toxins kill insects indiscriminately when pollen from Bt corn is blown by the wind onto neighboring plants. In the case of the Monarch, pollen is blown onto milkweed and consumed by the Monarch’s larval caterpillar.
There are concerns of a reduced effectiveness of pesticides. That some insects and weeds may develop a resistance to GM crops, creating “super-bugs” and “super-weeds”.
Because many of the grains they are engineering into genetically modified crops are wind pollinated there is no possible way to contain these genes. One good gust of wind can carry pollen from GM crops miles away, and the nature of these genes is to assimilate and contaminate non-GM crops whether you wanted to grow GMOs or not.
In 2004 the supreme court of Canada ruled that it doesn’t matter how Monsanto’s GM seed ends up in your fields–once it’s there you no longer own those crops. This is because of the tight patent infringement laws biotech corporations have placed on their technology.
There are numerous incidents of crop pollution and contamination around the world. And companies like Monsanto seize the opportunity to drive farmers out of business by accusing them of developing GM crops and patent infringement. Most farmers can’t hope to pay the expenses incurred by litigation; forced to cave to Monsanto’s demands, they are effectively gagged, often even driven out of business.
Biotech companies have gone so far as to infiltrate government to guarantee their place in the ag-industry, and to ensure the continued profits they manage to rake in. With Michael Taylor, formerly a lawyer for Monsanto and now their company vice president, as the policy chief at the Food and Drug Administration, and a number of other biotech “yes-men”, Monsanto has been able to effectively set the policy regarding GMOs as a non-issue. And with the impending farm-bill, Monsanto has filed more lobbying reports than any other organization. One can only assume that the new bill will favor biotech companies over the family and organic farmers.
It is these examples of corporate greed and disregard for man and nature that really demonizes Monsanto. If GM foods were the cure-all for farming and humanity that the biotech companies claim, they would not need to go to such lengths to ensure their success. Their product would stand upon its own merits, and success would come naturally. The fact that corporations like Monsanto have to lie, cheat, and steal to attain success make me suspicious. Their behavior makes me wonder: What it is they don’t want me to know?