MONSANTO AND THE EVILS OF GMO
BY RICK COUPLAND
From "Thy Kingdom Come" - a publication of The Association of the
Covenant People, Burnaby, B.C. Canada.
Ever since the beginning of man, there has always been a conflict
between good and evil. "Good" always seems easy to identify
whereas "Evil" is sometimes more difficult to spot. "Good" does
the work of God and "Evil" does the work of Satan. I suppose
there are some that don't even realize they are in league with
Satan and this goes for the individual and the corporation.
Much has been written on a company known as Monsanto. Let's look
at some of its activities and then decide whether these represent
evil. The company has been in existence for over 100 years, and
has primarily dealt with chemicals, in one form or another. Their
first claim to fame was the artificial sweetener saccharin, and
later aspartame, sold under the brand name NutraSweet. Monsanto
later became major manufacturer of industrial coolants known as
PCBs, the very deadly insecticide DDT and the herbicide commonly
known as Agent Orange. All of these became pollutants to our
environment, yet despite growing public controversy and mounting
scientific evidence, Monsanto found ways to continue their
A search on the Internet shows Monsanto was also involved in the
creation of the first nuclear bomb, and operated a nuclear
facility for the federal government in Miamisburg, Ohio, called
the Mound Project. Beginning in the 1980s, Monsanto began to get
in volved with biotechnology, and concentrated their efforts on
genetically modified organisms (GMO). This is the process of
altering genes of seeds and plants to create, in theory, superior
plants. Their goal was to make plants less susceptible to pests,
more resistant to drought and just generally stronger overall;
ultimately representing the cure for world hunger.
In the years to follow, Monsanto furthered its development by
buying up all of the smaller seed companies. They are now the
world's largest seed company, which has greatly limited
agricultural diversity and freedom. By patenting genetically
modified seeds that no one else owns, they not only are making
billions of dollars from them, but are also taking over the world
supply of food.
Genetically modified corn and soybean are in approximately 90% of
the fields in America today. It is becoming increasingly
difficult for farmers to obtain natural seeds. Many farmers feel
they have no choice but to go with the flow.
The next step to weaken the farmer is the development of the
"terminator" seed, known technically as GURTs (Genetic Use
Restriction Technologies). Rather than the usual practice of
farmers saving and re-planting harvested seeds, terminator seeds
could be genetically modified to "commit suicide" after one
harvest season. That would automatically prevent farmers from
saving and re-using the seed for the next harvest. These seeds
have not yet been commercialized or field-tested, but tests are
currently being conducted in greenhouses in the United States.
Literally thousands of farmers from across Canada and the United
States have been sued by Monsanto's legal team. When farmers
fields not containing GMO seeds become crosspollinated with GMO
seeds (birds dropping seeds, blown in from neighbour's fields,
etc.), Monsanto takes action. The "guilty" farmer must pay
retribution for the selling of a crop grown from GMO. While most
farmers reluctantly pay the fee, (rather than the legal costs to
fight it), Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser turned the tables and
counteredsued, launching a $10 million lawsuit against Monsanto,
accusing the company of a variety of wrongs, including libel,
trespass and contamination of his fields. In an out of court
settlement finalized on March 19, 2008, Percy Schmeiser settled
his lawsuit with Monsanto. Monsanto has agreed to pay all the
clean-up costs of the canola that contaminated Schmeiser's
fields. Also part of the agreement was that there was no
gag-order on the settlement and that Monsanto could be sued again
if further contamination occurred. Schmeiser believes this
precedent setting agreement ensures that farmers will be entitled
to reimbursement when their fields become contaminated with
unwanted GMO plants.
So are GMOs as good as promised? Well, not everyone is thrilled
with them. According to David Murphy, founder and Executive
Director of "Food Democracy Now!", "None of Monsanto's original
promises regarding genetically modified seeds have come true
after 15 years of wide adoption by commodity farmers. Rather than
increased yields or less chemical usage, farmers are facing more
crop diseases, an onslaught of herbicide-resistant super-weeds
and increased costs from additional herbicide application".
To date, there has never been a single, verifiable safety study
proving that any GMO is safe for people or for the environment.
David Suzuki says, "Because we aren't certain about the effects
of GMOs, we must consider one of the guiding principles in
science, the precautionary principle. Under this principle, if a
policy or action could harm human health or the environment, we
must not proceed until we know for sure what the impact will be.
And it is up to those proposing the action or policy to prove
that it is not harmful." How concerned is Monsanto for our health
and wellbeing? A Monsanto official told the New York Times,
October 25, 1998, that the corporation should not have to take
responsibility for the safety of its food products.
"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech
food," said Phil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate
communications. "Our interest is in selling as much of it as
possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA's job."
Several countries have now banned the import of GMO crops.
Headlines such as "Mexico Rejects Monsanto's GMO Corn",
"Brazilian Farmers Declare War on Monsanto" and "India Files
Biopiracy Lawsuit against Monsanto" are appearing more frequently
in our daily newspapers. Last year, shares of Monsanto's stock
have plummeted 40%, primarily due to the fact that GMO crops are
yielding less, not more produce, as promised. Earnings for the
fiscal year were well under projection. The Justice Department is
investigating Monsanto for possible antitrust violations.
This company represents one of the biggest threats to your future
health, and that of the planet. Try to avoid all GMO foods where
possible. In Canada and the U.S., demand is growing for the
labelling of all GMO produce sold in stores. When buying your
produce in bulk, check the PLU code that may have been placed on
the food. Numbers beginning with a 9 are deemed to be organically
grown. If the PLU begins with an 8, it is a product of GMO. Be
sure to check these codes if you are concerned about GMOs.