FOOD SUPPLY :
BUSINESS: CORPORATIONS: NAMED CORPORATIONS: BAYER, MONSANTO :
With Help From ALEC and Bayer, Monsanto Is Poised to Take Over the Global Food System
With Help From ALEC and Bayer,
Monsanto Is Poised to Take Over the Global Food System
A massive portion of the planet’s seed stock could soon be in the hands of a single company.
By Jamie Corey, Lisa Graves
Center for Media and Democracy
October 18, 2016
A shorter URL for the above link:
Bayer announced last month that it plans to purchase Monsanto, the controversial chemical corporation that has been sued around the world over its products. Nowadays, Bayer has a more consumer-friendly corporate reputation, but has a checkered past too. (Bayers history as a German company during the Nazi era is well documented.)
According to Vox, if regulators approve the $66 billion deal, the merger would create the largest agribusiness giant in the world, selling 29 percent of the worlds seeds and 24 percent of its pesticides.
Selling nearly a third of the worlds seeds actually means owning a huge portion of the seed stock on the planet. And, Monsanto has spent decades genetically modifying seeds to make them compatible with its chemical pesticides and herbicides, as with Roundup-ready corn. Those are the kinds of chemicals and modifications that cant be washed off.
In the U.S., citizens have been waging major campaigns to try to get GMO products labeled and/or to prevent the use of GMO crops in their communities. These efforts have been attacked by Monsanto and other chemical corporations, which have worked to defeat citizen democracy through subterfugeas with the deceptive ads that beat back Californias proposition on GMO labeling and with a preemption bill in Oregon to trump local ballot measures that passed overwhelmingly in two Oregon counties that banned GMO crops.
That preemption bill was similar to other anti-local democracy measures peddled by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
From fracking bans to minimum wage and GMO labeling, ALEC and its politicians have successfully driven preemption efforts with its model legislation throughout different parts of the country at the behest of giant corporations.
An Oregonian who leads a group with ties to Monsanto claimed he authored the bill, but as Lisa Arkin of the Pesticide Action Network North America noted both the Oregon bill and the ALEC bill share the same name and have the same core operative language and effect: A local government may not enact or enforce a . . . measure, including but not limited to an ordinance, regulation, control area, or quarantine, to inhibit or prevent the production or use of agricultural seed, flower seed . . . or vegetable seed or products of agricultural seed, flower seed . . . or vegetable seed.
After the Oregon bill was introduced in 2013, it was taken to ALECs 40th anniversary meeting in Chicago, as the Preemption of Local Agricultural Laws Act, which is known as the Monsanto Protection Act, by its foes.
At the Agriculture Subcommittee meeting of ALECs Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Forcewhich was co-chaired by CropLife America, a trade group for the industrycorporate lobbyists and politicians voted to make that bill a new ALEC model to push across the country. It also passed to become binding law in Oregon, as CMDs Rebekah Wilce documented this in her June 2014 story, Oregons GMO Sellout. As she wrote in a story published by The Progressivemagazine:
All six of the worlds biggest pesticide and GMO companiesBASF, Bayer, Dow, DuPont,Monsanto, and Syngentadonated $455,000 to the effort to overturn the ballot initiative.[I]t was more than eight times more than any other county ballot measure has ever received. [Oregons Willamette Valley grows a] majority of the sugar beet seed for the country, and as of 2010, 95 percent of sugar beets grown in the United States are GMOs engineered to be resistant to heavy applications of Monsantos Roundup glyphosate. [So local citizens] filed an initiative that establishes certain rights to a local food system while banning GMO agriculture, according to attorney Ann Kneeland. The initiative, she says, would prevent corporations from eviscerating local law-making. Their commercial rights should not trump the communitys right to protect residents health, safety, and welfare, she says. [But] not every state has bowed to Monsanto and GMOs. In April , Vermont passed a law requiring the labeling of GMOs. It marked a huge victory.
The connection to ALEC in all this is perhaps unsurprising given that both Monsanto and Bayer have been financial supporters of ALEC over the years, with Monsanto providing major funding and Bayer sending more than a half-dozen lobbyists to ALEC meetings to advance its legislative agenda among pliable ALEC politicians.
Monsanto is a known funder of ALEC and Bayer previously sat on ALECs corporate Private Enterprise Board, where the companys VP of Public Policy and State Government Affairs served as Treasurer. Bayer has also been listed as the ALEC State corporate co-chair of Massachusetts, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Texas.
Also, as CMD reported in 2013 that Monsanto along with several other companies and trade groups spent more than $50,000 in the span of fourth months, as legislators considered bills to override various county laws in Hawaii that banned GMOs and required disclosure of pesticide use and GMO crops.
Monsanto also produced Agent Orange (known as Herbicide Orange), which was contaminated by an extremely toxic dioxin compound (2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, or TCDD). In the 1960s and early 1970s , Monsanto manufactured the product for the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. As a result, millions of Vietnam citizens suffered from health problems and disabilities.
Today, Monsanto is more widely known for its weed killer Roundup and its efforts to modify human food crops, like corn, to tolerate massive quantities of that herbicide. As a result, Monsanto has poured numerous resources into blocking GMO regulation at both the federal and state level.
Those regulations are very popular with consumers but loathed by Monsanto. As retired Environmental Protection Agency scientist Ray Seidler has said: Genetically engineered food affects more than the bottom lines of the agriculture industry. The majority of genetically modified food is altered in a lab to increase tolerance to huge quantities of herbicides, or to produce its own pesticides that cannot be washed off. The public has a right to know whether or not they are participating in the degradation of our natural environment.
The complete article may be read at the URL above.
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