I don’t have a problem with GMOs, but I do have a problem with Monsanto.
First I heard about the multinational agricultural biotech firm was in high school, when my dad told me about how they’d sue farmers for having crops that contain traces of their patented plant genes—including threatening their neighbors, for simply having their farm nearby a farmer who used Monsanto seeds, the genetic traits of which could get transmitted through pollen that floated or carried over to them by bees. I just did a quick search to find out about their other evil doings, and found these:
- They’ve continued to sue farmers for having “improperly reused their patented seeds.” Yes, they have invested millions into their R&D for their products, but it’s perverse for them to go after farmers for reusing seeds when that’s what farmers have done for literally thousands of years. Farmers are under ever-increasing pressure to yield more and more crops (esp. corn and soy beans), and making these farmers dependent on Monsanto’s products to remain competitive seems dangerous and unsustainable..
- Given that their signature Roundup herbicide probably causes cancer, according to the WHO, and it’s the most widely used one in the world.
- They patent seeds derived from conventional breeding. ‘Nuff said.
- They developed the hormone used in cows to make them produce more milk—which they have since sold to Eli Lilly, which happens to be another evil patent company. Apparently there isn’t yet any conclusive evidence that the consumption of milk from rBGH cows leads to higher cancer risk (oh hm i’m sure the fact that there isn’t solid research on this has nothing to do with privately-funded research nope). But those cows are at a higher risk of getting udder infections, which are then treated with antibiotics, thereby exacerbating the whole problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Sooo on Saturday, I ended up going to the March Against Monsanto in San Francisco. Food safety and anti-pesticide activism isn’t one of my fights, but I deeply respect those who’ve taken up the cause. It also happened that one of the dances that my political-dance-flash-mob does, Toxic, fit perfectly with the demo’s message. On some level, I felt bad that I suddenly showed up to perform (which as I said in an earlier post, feels more like activism-cheerleading than anything else) and join their protest. But I think it’s actually okay to be peripherally involved in a cause like this, especially if you’re already focused on a different one.
There’s only so much anger one can muster in a week. My day job is to wrangle with a massive trade agreement that could obligate its signatory countries to various bad awful digital regulations, and really threatens to upend public interest policies from across the board. It’s already been a struggle for me to try and stay positive and focused on the things that we can do to stop the TPP, so I have to be okay with letting others lead and fight in those trenches to do what they can on issues I also care about.
Anyways, I’ll just end this post with this awesome video on Youtube, “Lobbyist Claims Monsanto’s Roundup Is Safe To Drink, Freaks Out When Offered A Glass.”
And a photo of me in a gas mask, which was really fun dancing to Britney Spears with. 🙂