By April Short, Alternet
"...Monsanto is the conglomerate mastermind behind many of the pesticides
and genetically engineered seeds that pervade farm fields around the
produces the world’s top-selling herbicide; 40 percent of US crops
contain its genes; it spends millions lobbying the government each year;
and several of its factories are now toxic Superfund sites.
1. Profiteering poisonous chemical company posing as agribusiness.
the horrors of Operation Ranch Hand during the Vietnam War, when the US
military designed a chemical warfare program and used the herbicide and
defoliant Agent Orange to kill and maim 400,000 people (estimated by
the Vietnam government), and ultimately cause birth defects for 500,000
children? Monsanto made that possible.
Monsanto began as a chemical company
in 1901 and was responsible for some of the most damaging toxins in US
history, like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s), and dioxin. Consumer
advocacy group Food and Water Watch (FWW) released a report
on APril 3 detailing Monsanto’s role in chemical disasters, Agent
Orange, and the first genetically modified plant cell. The report shows
that the “feed-the-world” agricultural and life sciences company
Monsanto markets itself as today is only a recent development. The
majority of Monsanto’s history is involved with heavy industrial
chemical production, including the supply of Agent Orange to the US for
Vietnam operations from 1962-'71
Ronnie Cummins, executive director of the Organic Consumers Association told Common Dreams
, in response to the FWW report:
2. Building a monopoly, putting farmers out of work
its various marketing incarnations over the years, Monsanto is a
chemical company that got its start selling saccharin to Coca-Cola, then
Agent Orange to the U.S. military, and in recent years, seeds
genetically engineered to contain and withstand massive amounts of
Monsanto herbicides and pesticides. Monsanto has become synonymous with
the corporatization and industrialization of our food supply....
is nothing more quintessentially American than the independent family
farmer; and there is nothing more un-American than stomping out that
farmer’s livelihood to bolster your corporate monopoly. Monsanto is
attempting this as it sues small farmers out of their livelihoods time
In the article, “Monsanto's Earnings Nearly Double as They Create a Farming Monopoly”—originally published in Al Jazeera and reprinted
on AlterNet on January 16—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
company also uses its power to coerce seed dealers out of stocking many
of its competitor products....
3. Controlling the food, privatizing the water.
Half of the Earth’s population will live in an area with significant water stress by 2030, according to estimates
from the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development.
Corporations like Monsanto (along with Royal Dutch Shell and Nestle) are
vying for a future in which free water supply is a thing of the past,
and private companies control public water sources.
According to a government report titled "Intelligence Community Assessment; Global Water Security
by 2025, the world's population will likely exceed 8 billion people,
and the demand for water will be 40 percent higher than sustainable
water supplies available, with water needs of around 6,900 billion cubic
meters due to population growth.
Private corporations already own 5 percent of the world's fresh water
Billionaires and companies, including Monsanto, are purchasing the
rights to groundwater and aquifers. In an even more ominous twist,
Monsanto is accused of dumping its plethora of toxic chemicals,
including PCBs, dioxin and glyophosate (Roundup) into the water supply
of various nations worldwide. Then, seeing a profitable market niche, it
has begun privatizing those water sources it polluted, filtering the
water, and selling it back to the public.
4. Running the FDA, writing its own protection laws.
executives run the United States Food and Drug Administration, the
agency tasked with ensuring food safety for the American public.
obvious conflict of interest could explain the lack of government-led
research on the long-term effects of GM products. Recently, the U.S.
Congress and president together passed the law that has been dubbed
“Monsanto Protection Act.” Among other things, the new law bans courts
from halting the sale of Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds.
pro-Monsanto “Farmer Assurance Provision, Section 735,” rider was
quietly slipped into Agricultural Appropriations provisions of the HR
933 Continuing Resolution spending bill, designed to avert a federal
government shutdown. It states that the department of agriculture
“shall, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, immediately grant
temporary permits to continue using the [GE] seed at the request of a
farmer or producer [Monsanto].”
Obama signed the law on
March 29. It allows the agribusiness giant to promote and plant GMO and
GE seeds free from any judicial litigation that might deem such crops
unsafe. Even if a court review determines that a GMO crop harms humans,
Section 735 allows the seeds to be planted once the USDA approves them.
Public health lawyer Michele Simon told the New York Daily News
the Senate bill requires the USDA to “ignore any court ruling that
would otherwise halt the planting of new genetically mengineered crops.”