I’m always a little late to educate myself on the controversial goings-on in the world, and after years of listening to my sister and niece harp about Monsanto, it’s now become a company I’m reading a lot about.
I started reading about Percy Schmeiser, and about the other 140 farmers or so that Monsanto has sued. Admittedly, the information swirling around from both sides of the argument are so drastically different, so we’ll never know what the real story is. However, if the movie Erin Brockovich taught me anything, it’s that giant corporations equipped with highly paid PR agents aren’t to be trusted, and you have to dig below the surface to find the ghastly factoids and agendas murking. No company is ever going to be forthcoming about the things they do that they know will make the world go, “Pardon me?”
Two things strike me as eerily similar to the PG&E lawsuit – bullying and threatening behaviour, and cocky attitudes. Percy testified that he was receiving threatening anonymous phone calls, and had mysterious cars parked across from his farm with unknown people inside, watching him for days – scaring him and his family to the point where he had to buy a shotgun and keep it with him at all times. Just as easily as Monsanto would dismiss this, any logical person who knows how corrupt corporations can be can dismiss Monsanto’s defense. After all, who’s the more likely to have integrity? A small town farmer trying to make a living, or a multi-billion dollar business that doesn’t really have anything to lose? I’ll risk ignorance and place my bet on the individual.
From a consumer standpoint, that’s enough of a reason for me to intentionally bypass any Monsanto-owned/affiliated products. If that’s your approach with people, then you’re not worth my money. I’m but one of millions of people who feel this way about Monsanto, and I’m one of millions who Monsanto won’t be profiting from. You would think that if they have to spend millions of dollars on improving their image when they’re one of the world’s most hated corporations, that they’d start with altering their attitude. I mean, just read the blurb on their website regarding the Schmeiser case, and you’ll be equally disgusted. I think I prefer the corporations that at least pretend they’re not smug.
But, on to other conclusions I came to…
The very fact that Monsanto is paying people right now for giving them cancer and kidney failure from their chemical plant is enough for me to know they’re not an environmentally conscious company. A farmer in France successfully sued them because of health problems he suffered after accidentally inhaling the fumes from their pesticides. And this is the company splicing genes and altering the DNA of what we eat, coating seeds with pesticide and telling us it’s safe and we’re supposed to believe them?
As I’m getting older and understanding corporations on a different level, I’m generally starting to reject supporting them. I’m far more supportive of local business. Our communities need each other – what they don’t need are big box stores that make every town and city identical. Monsanto is no different, because they’re trying to corner the market so they can eventually control it entirely, and we can kiss natural food bye bye. It wouldn’t at all surprise me if their influence eventually extended to laws that forbid us to have our own veggie gardens. In fact, that’s already happened in New Zealand. In Michigan (around Detroit, I believe) residents are being imposed upon by bylaws that prevent them from having livestock of their own in their backyard – such as chickens or goats. Things like this undoubtedly all trace back to biogenetic companies like Monsanto, because they exert such a strong pressure on the industry and governments, that they are able to twist arms into making sure profit all pools back to them. That’s why every major name brand makes their products with GMOs. Try shopping at your local grocery store and stocking up on non-GMO items… or try doing it affordably.
Another dubious control mechanism they use is lawsuits. Now here’s what gets me: Monsanto absolutely INSISTS that they never have and never will sue farmers who have “trace” amounts of GMO crops in their fields. Ok… what exactly is a “trace amount”? I’ve seen people on the internet infer that it’s less than 1% of the total crop. Ok, speaking with common sense and a lot of experience with weeds, it doesn’t take much for plants to multiply. My neighbours’ yards are infected with sumac, stonecrop, poison ivy and multiple beach weeds. I can clean my beach until I’m red in the face, and leave it unattended for a couple weeks, and guess what – the weeds come back. The rate at which they spread is unbelievable, and the percentage of weeds that take over is a lot higher than 1%. And we’re talking within 200 feet.
So how can Monsanto possibly measure “trace amounts”? It’s entirely reasonable to consider that a neighbouring farm using GMO seeds will cross-pollinate with an organic farm, or that seeds will be carried on the wind into an organic property. Then, once they’re established and they start to grow, they’ll multiply. Unless you go around intentionally spraying your own crops with RoundUp Ready, how would you know what’s a GMO and what isn’t? And what if those crops established themselves and multiplied over a couple years? If you’re a farmer who harvests his own seeds for the next year, and you don’t know the difference, then who the fuck is Monsanto to come along and prosecute you for it? Most farmers don’t have a degree in biochemistry. The very fact that judges repeatedly say to the farmers, “You had to know those were Monsanto seeds” really shows how far Monsanto’s dick is up the government’s ass. Where is Amnesty International in all of this? There’s no arguing that a person’s rights to sustain themselves are being violated.
And where is law enforcement preventing Monsanto inspectors from going on someone’s land without a warrant? Because that’s allowed to happen, that’s a dead giveaway of how far the connection between the government and big business goes. All because money can be made by allowing it. No regular person can just walk on someone’s property, so why can Monsanto? Where’s the legislation that shows that that’s acceptable?
On an ending note, PG&E thought they were invincible too. They lied about hexavalent chromium to the people whose bodies they contaminated. They actually hired their own doctors to assess folks and lie to them about which chromium they were dealing with, and tell them how good the chromium was for them as their spines rotted and their livestock became genetically mutated. All it took was a class action lawsuit and some smart people. And, there are smarter people out there that Monsanto just hasn’t seen yet, because the power in numbers hasn’t happened yet, because people are afraid of the financial implications of taking them on. As one of their trolls wrote on an article I was reading, “this will be yet another bandwagon that rolls off into the sunset.” Since when has food in its natural state been a ‘bandwagon’? GMOs come rolling in like the bubonic plague, and all the naturalists who want their food the way nature intended it, are the ones chasing a trend?
Monsanto is trying to play god by changing the genetic makeup of something we all need to survive, not once considering that things are the way they are for a reason. They naturally evolved that way and have been feeding us for millennia, so why do we need GMOs?