Over 93% of Americans support GMO labeling laws. Here is how money is winning over our voices.
Great turnout at SF March Against Monsanto. In fact, great turnout all around the world as 2 million protestors in 436 cities across 52 countries rose simultaneously against the most evil corporation on this planet. We will not stand for such greed, malevolence, and ignorance. We stand for the people’s rights to know what they are eating and thus be able to avoid the environmental and health hazards that Monsanto wants to feed us. You are not a Santo, but rather the Diablo.
Consumers, farmers, & activists prepare to fight “Monsanto Protection Act” passed by the U.S. Senate
April 1, 2013
You most likely haven’t seen this story on your nightly news or on the front pages of most mainstream newspapers, but there is a huge battle underway that’s pitting angry consumers, organic farmers, small farmers and the natural food industry and others against bio-tech giant Monsanto and its large agriculture supporters.
The fight is centered around growing outrage over passage in the U.S. Senate of what critics are calling the “Monsanto Protection Act,” which President Obama signed into law on Tuesday.
Anthony Gucciardi in piece on naturalsociety.com describes what’s happening this way:
“There truly is no rest for the wicked, and Monsanto is at war once again against health conscious consumers with the latest ‘Monsanto Protection Act‘, managing to sneak wording into the latest Senate legislation that would give them blanket immunity from any USDA action regarding the potential dangers of their genetically modified creations while under review.
The USDA would be unable to act against any and all new GMO crops that were suspected to be wreaking havoc on either human health or the environment….it all started in the late hours of Monday night (March 11), when lobbyists working for the Monsanto-fronted biotechnology industry managed to slide a ‘rider’ (through the deceptively worded Farmer Assurance Provision, Sec. 735) into the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill.”
The left-of-center NationOfChange reports that Monanto’s lawyers and lobbyists pulled off a major coups with this rider and right under the eyes of even the most knowledgeable players along The Beltway:
“In the typical slippery nature of Monsanto’s legislation-based actions, the biotech giant is now virtually guaranteed the ability to recklessly plant experimental GM crops without having to worry about the United States government and its subsequent courts. The Monsanto Protection Act buried deep within the budget resolution has passed the Senate, and now nothing short of a presidential veto will put an end to the ruling.
In case you’re not familiar, the Monsanto Protection Act is the name given to what’s known as a legislative rider that was inserted into the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill. Using the deceptive title of Farmer Assurance Provision, Sec. 735, this bill actually grants Monsanto the immunity from federal courts pending the review of any GM crop that is thought to be dangerous. Under the section, courts would be helpless to stop Monsanto from continuing to plant GM crops that are thought even by the US government to be a danger to health or the environment.”
In essence, say the critics, rider gives “backdoor approval” for any new genetically engineered crops that could be potentially harmful to human health or the environment.
A lobbyist monstrosity
The legislation has been described as a, “Lobbyist-created recurring nuisance that has been squashed in previous legislation thanks to outcry from not only grassroots but major organizations. Last time we saw The Center for Food Safety, the National Family Farm Coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists all come out against the Monsanto Protection Act from the 2012 Farm Bill,” says a report in NationOfChange before Mr. Obama signed the bill into law.
“This time, there was a swift resistance…however sadly the Senate acted so quickly on this and almost entirely ignored the issue that it has now passed despite thousands of fans signing the old petition…the reality is that the bill is actually seen as a positive one by most politicians, which is where Monsanto lobbyists were so deceptive and slippery as to throw in their rider (the actual Monsanto Protection Act into the bill). This makes it very unappealing to veto the bill, but also we must remember that Obama actually promised to immediately label G Mos back in 2007 when running for President,” concludes the NationOfChange story.
The rider in the bill allows farmers to plant, harvest and sell “genetically engineered plants” even if the crops have been ruled upon unfavorably in court.
A Center for Food Safety statement called the rider “an unprecedented attack on U.S. judicial review of agency actions” and “ a major violation of the separation of powers.”
Yahoo News goes a step further saying this legislation rider, “Threatens the health and well-being of the public by undermining the federal courts’ ability to protect farmers and the environment from potentially hazardous genetically engineered (GE) crops. The rider was slipped into the bill while it sat in the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Maryland Democrat Barbara Mikulski. According to the Center for Food Safety, the committee held no hearings on this controversial biotech rider and many Democrats were unaware of its presence in the larger bill.”
Hidden backroom deals
Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety said in a statement, “In this hidden backroom deal, Senator Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental, and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto…this abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Senator Mikulski or the Democrat Majority in the Senate.”
Food Democracy Now is calling on concerned citizens to call Congress and petition President Obama to remove Section 735 from the Continuing Resolution bill. There is an online petition sponsored by Food Democracy Now located here .
The International Business Times (IBT) says of the Monsanto rider in the bill, “The provision’s language was apparently written in collusion with Monsanto. Lawmakers and companies working together to craft legislation is by no means a rare occurrence in this day and age. But the fact that Sen. Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, actually worked with Monsanto on a provision that in effect allows them to keep selling seeds, which can then go on to be planted, even if it is found to be harmful to consumers, is stunning. It’s just another example of corporations bending Congress to their will, and it’s one that could have dire risks for public health in America.”
The IBT says there are “five terrifying facts about the Farmer Assurance Provision — Section 735 of the spending bill — to get you acquainted with the reasons behind the ongoing uproar.” Those five things can be found here .
More than 100 organizations and businesses have come out against this section of the bill, including the National Farmers Union, American Civil Liberties Union, Sierra Club, Environmental Working Group, Stonyfield Farm, Nature’s Path, Consumers Union, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and Public Citizen.
The passive American consumer, sitting down to a meal of pre-prepared or fast food, confronts a platter covered with inert, anonymous substances that have been processed, dyed, breaded, sauced, gravied, ground, pulped, strained, blended, prettified, and sanitized beyond resemblance to any part of any creature that ever lived.
Monsanto’s GM seeds contributing to farmer suicides every 30 minutes
October 28, 2012
In what has been called the single largest wave of recorded suicides in human history, Indian farmers are now killing themselves in record numbers. It has been extensively reported, even in mainstream news, but nothing has been done about the issue. The cause? Monsanto’s cost-inflated and ineffective seeds have been driving farmers to suicide, and is considered to be one of the largest — if not the largest — cause of the quarter of a million farmer suicides over the past 16 years.
According to the most recent figures (provided by the New York University School of Law), 17,638 Indian farmers committed suicide in 2009 — about one death every 30 minutes. In 2008, theDaily Mail labeled the continual and disturbing suicide spree as ‘The GM (genetically modified) Genocide’. Due to failing harvests and inflated prices that bankrupt the poor farmers, struggling Indian farmers began to kill themselves. Oftentimes, they would commit the act by drinking the very same insecticide that Monsanto supplied them with — a gruesome testament to the extent in which Monsanto has wrecked the lives of independent and traditional farmers.
To further add backing to the tragedy, the rate of Indian farmer suicides massively increased since the introduction of Monsanto’s Bt cotton in 2002. It is no wonder that a large percentage of farmers who take their own lives are cotton farmers, the demographic that is thought to be among the most impacted. Dr. Mercola, an osteopathic doctor that has been educating the world about natural health for many years, recently saw the destruction of traditional Indian farmers first hand. Dr. Mercola found out about the notorious ‘suicide belt’ of India, where 4,238 farmer suicides took place in 2007 alone.
Many families are now ruined thanks to the mass suicides, and are left to economic ruin and must struggle to fight off starvation:
‘We are ruined now,’ said one dead man’s 38-year-old wife. ‘We bought 100 grams of BT Cotton. Our crop failed twice. My husband had become depressed. He went out to his field, lay down in the cotton and swallowed insecticide.’
In India, around 60 percent of the population (currently standing at 1.1 billion) are directly or indirectly reliant on agriculture. Monsanto’s intrusion into India’s traditional and sustainable farming community is not only concerning for health and wellness reasons, but it is now clear that the issue is much more serious.
Monsanto has EU in its pocket, ignores study connecting GMOs to cancer
October 4, 2012
The European Food Safety Authority has rejected a controversial study by French scientists linking GM corn to cancer. Many in Europe are already calling for stricter controls on GMOs, as farmers weigh the lucrative crops against health concerns.
In September, French scientists from the University of Caen released a study claiming that rats fed on a diet containing NK603 – a corn seed variety made tolerant to amounts of Monsanto’s Roundup weed-killer – or given water mixed with the product at levels permitted in the United States died earlier than those on a standard diet.
The study elicited calls for stricter controls on already unpopular genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe. France had already issued a temporary ban on another Monsanto corn seed (MON810) in May due to a similar study.
However, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) claimed the study lacked enough specific information on Friday, and asked the scientists who conducted it to provide more details on their testing methods. The move adds to the constant back and forth in the debate over genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The “design, reporting and analysis of the study … are inadequate,” the EFSA said in its review, concluding that it could not “regard the authors’ conclusions as scientifically sound.”
The EFSA took issue with the type of rat used in the study, specifically the albino Sprague-Dawley strain of rat. Sprague-Dawley rats have a tendency to develop cancers naturally over the course of their two-year life span, which was also the duration of the study.
“This means the observed frequency of tumors is influenced by the natural incidence of tumors typical of this strain, regardless of any treatment. This is neither taken into account nor discussed by the authors,” the EFSA said.
Gilles-Eric Seralini, the French researcher who conducted the study with his colleagues and published the results in the journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology in London was incredulous at the EFSA’s decision, and stated that he would not release any more information to the EFSA unless it provided justification for its conclusion.
“It is absolutely scandalous that [the EFSA] keeps secret the information on which they based their evaluation [of NK603],” he said.
“In any event, we will not give them anything. We will put the information in the public domain when they do,” Seralini said in an AFP report.
Please pass the GMO?
The French study caused waves of alarm across Europe, and even prompted a ban on the NK603 corn in Russia. A group of Russian scientists who oppose GMOs are hoping to conduct their own rat experiment, set to begin in March of 2013. They expect that their year-long experiment will show whether the controversial cultivation process has effects as dangerous as the French study claims.
In an effort to conduct their study as publicly as possible, Russian researchers from the National Association for Genetic Safety (NAGS) came up with the idea of web cameras installed in cages with the test rats, which will broadcast all stages of the experiment online. The unique reality show will be available on the internet 24/7 worldwide.
“This is a unique experiment,” project author Elena Sharoykina told RT. “There hasn’t been anything like it before – open, public research by opponents and supporters of GMO.”
Many GM crops are banned or controversial throughout Europe. France has strict regulations of GM crops, while GMOs are completely banned in Germany, Greece, Austria, Luxembourg, Hungary, and the UK over health concerns. GM crops are altered to be resistant to pesticides, a development which has caused an increase in the use of chemicals that have been linked to cancer and birth defects.
Still, the crops are attractive to farmers, Arkady Zlochevsky, president of the Russian Grain Union, told RT. For example, the Monsanto GMO NK603 corn in question has been modified to be resistant to Monsanto’s “Roundup” weed-killer, making the product easier and cheaper to grow with delivering better yields.
“The seed may be more expensive, but the development is significantly cheaper,” he said, stating that European GMO farmers find a 20 per cent increase in profit combined with a highly-marketable, top-quality product.
Study versus study
The EFSA’s criticism of the French study echoed that of numerous other experts across Europe that refuted the results. But as more and more studies emerge on both sides of the issue, the harder it becomes to identity where fact meets fiction.
Zlochevsky told RT that “There is no reliable proof of the ills of GMO; so far there have only been attempts to prove it.”
Monsanto’s study published in 2002 on corn strain NK603 concluded that “NK603 is as safe and nutritious as conventional corn currently being marketed,” and the specific proteins in the corn genetically altered to make the corn pesticide resistant “are not toxic to non-target organisms, including humans, animals and beneficial insects.”
But a study published recently in the UK by a genetic engineer from London’s King’s College of Medicine signaled that GM foods pose a more serious threat than advocates of research would have the public believe.
“GM crops are promoted on the basis of ambitious claims – that they are safe to eat, environmentally beneficial, increase yields, reduce reliance on pesticides and can help solve world hunger,” said Dr. Michael Antoniou, author of the report, which claims that research into GM crops is incomplete and tests on the effect of their consumption are not comprehensive enough.
Regulatory industries worldwide rely on companies selling GM products rather than independent testing, stipulates the paper.