Occupy World: Five Million and Counting Against Monsanto
By Hwaa Irfan
When governments forget the people after the elections, and make the law irrelevant, it is time for the people to make justice overcome the law. Companies like Monsanto only serve to advance a government agenda, overt and covert, disregarding sovereignties, the voters, the citizens and the needs of the earth. They blindly believe that this world is made for them, while destroying everything in their pathway.
The U.S-based multi-national, agricultural biotechnology Monsanto, one of the leading causes of the fall in the global bee population, hence drop in food production. The 2nd largest producer of genetically modified seeds, foods, the originator of the dangerous chemical Agent Orange, and the world’s leading producer of the chemical glyphosate faces yet another battle against 5 million farmers! Responsible for a farmer suicide every 30 minutes, 5 million Brazilian farmers have taken a lawsuit out against a company that believed itself to be above the law, above the rights of man, and above the laws of nature.
The lawsuit worth 6.2 billion euros (U.S7.7bn) claims that Monsanto has brought these farmers to financial ruin via means of taxation and royalties, meaning once one used a Monsanto GM seed one pays for life as a farmer uses the seeds from the previous harvest, so Monsanto profits!
“Monsanto gets paid when it sell the seeds. The law gives producers the right to multiply the seeds they buy and nowhere in the world is there a requirement to pay (again). Producers are in effect paying a private tax on production.” – Jane Berwanger, the farmer’s legal representative.
The 17,683+ Indian farmers can swear to this, but instead some of these farmers committed suicide by drinking the very same Monsanto insecticide that had made their crops fail!
It was established back in 2006 that Bayer CropScience glufosinate and Monsanto’s glyphosate reduces crop yields, burns and deforms the rice plants that do survive.
In 2007 and 2008 field studies by the University of Arkansas had established that rice yields were reduced by as much as 80% as a result of glufosinate and glyphosate, and mutated and burned the surviving rice crops.
2008, represented the year of the highest trade in GM crops globally, as well as the 1st year of the global economic collapse. It was also the year that the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it would no longer publish information about the amount, and the type of agrochemicals used on crops.
The law was on the side of the 5 million Brazilian farmers, as a Brazilian court ruled in their favor, making Monsanto liable to pay the farmers – but that was in 2004. Monsanto has been dragging out the whole process typically through appeals.
However, the problem began with the zeal of farmers wanting to increase their soy crops as a result of GM soy being smuggled into Brazil from Argentina. It was at a time of a national ban by Brazilian authorities becuase the seed is designed to be resistant to Monsanto glyphosate based Roundup herbicide. Once the ban was lifted, GM seeds flooded the Brazilian market with a resulting 85% of Brazil soy crop genetically modified, GM.
Monsanto’s arrogance goes unabated as leadig manufacturer of the synthetic bovine growth hormone. Used to increase milk production by injecting cows, in their defense Director of corporate communications for Monsanto, Phil Angell commented to the New York Times in 1998
“Monsanto should not have to vouch for the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is FDA’s job.”
Well in 2010, Monsanto no longer has that problem, as their former CEO, Michael R. Taylor is the Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, and Linda Fisher, former Vice President of Government Affairs for Monsanto Company freelances for the Environmental Protection Agency for example.
By 2011 the Public Patent Foundation filedsuit for 270,000 plaintiffs including organic producers that would invalidate Monsanto GMO patents! The suits also take on:
- For prohibiting independent research on GMO seeds
- For using its lobbying power to prevent labeling of GMO products
- The false claim that GMO seeds improve yeild and reduces the need for pesticides
- That all GMO seeds fail to past the test of patenting law
- Monsanto is double-patenting to offset the fact that the first patents have expired (1990)
How often do the sins have to be repeated in order for a comprehensive action takes place to protect the helath of consumers and the health of our Earth?
The process is slow, but in process. Shareholders/investors only help to perpetuate the problem like:
Top Institutional Holders
•The Vanguard Group, Inc. – 21,361,249 shares
•State Street Corporation – 20, 096, 055 shares
•T. Rowe Price – 17,442,437 shares
•PRIMECAP Management Company – 14,933,282 shares
•Jennison Associates LLC – 14,526,041 shares
•BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. – 12,775,828 shares
•Davis Selected Advisers, L.P. – 11,426,858 shares
•FMR LLC – 11,118,244 shares
•Marsico Capital Managements, LLC – 11,079,586 shares
•AllianceBernstein, L.P. – 9,876,978 shares
Top Mutual Fund Holders
•Vanguard / Primecap Fund – 6,707,060 shares
•Market Vectors ETF Tr-Agribusiness ETF – 6,624,107 shares
•Davis New York Venture Fund – 6,600,196 shares
•Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund – 6,204,474 shares
•Fidelity Growth Company Fund – 4,789,978 shares
•Vanguard 500 Index Fund – 4,771,300 shares
•Vanguard Institutional Index Fund – Institutional Index FD – 4,378,112 shares
•SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust – 4,182,071 shares
•College Retirement Equities Fund – Stock Account – 4,045,420 shares
•Mainstay Large Cap Growth Fund – 3,857,600 shares
With the issue of labeling to confuse consumers more, there will come a point in time, if not already that those who help to promote the use of GM seeds/crops at whatever level, will unknowingly, meet the same end as those who are experiencing debilitating health conditions because they will have no way of evidencing what they are eating – a kind of justice that serves no one!
“Seeds of Doubt: Brazilian Farmers Sue Monsanto.” http://www.rt.com/news/monsanto-brazil-seed-soy-908/
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