Finally, there is more movement building to bring the profligate greed and arrogance, damage to the environment, bullying of farmers and state government, and conscienceless abuse of "fair market" practices of this wretched company to a halt.
This morning there appeared in my emailbox an invitation from our friends at CREDO action to sign a petition to instigate anti-trust action against Monsanto. Here's the basis.
Massive seed corporation Monsanto -- through acquisitions and cut-throat business practices -- has cornered 90% of the soy, 65% of the corn, and 70% of the cotton market, and has a rapidly growing presence in the fruit and vegetable market, all without government anti-trust officials raising an eyebrow.
Not only that, but in order to be productive, the entire line of Monsanto's seeds all but require the use of Roundup herbicide, trapping all of their customers into buying it. And who owns Roundup? You guessed it, Monsanto.
Monsanto has, it seems, cornered the market on abusive monopolistic practices as well. In the middle of a recession, while farmers' incomes are dropping, Monsanto recently announced a 42% price hike on its most popular genetically modified seeds. When in many areas of the country distributors carry nothing but these seeds, this sure looks like evidence of a monopolist abusing its market position.
The President's antitrust chief, Christine Varney, has been charged with vigorously enforcing antitrust regulations. Not only has Monsanto cornered large portions of the market for basic foods in America and around the world, but they have been ruthless and relentless at instituting lawsuits against states that attempt to enforce their own food purity laws and inform citizens of just what is in the food that they are buying for themselves and their families. You can encourage Christine Varney to take action by signing this petition:
Further, the Obama administration, as part of the G8, has handed a huge advantage to companies like Monsanto. The US is drafting legislation designed to implement the G8 shift in policy away from providing direct food aid to developing nations and helping local farmers to produce more of their own food. This is, of course, a laudable goal, except that mandated use of GMOs is part of that effort. According to CREDO:
They hope to accomplish this by promoting genetically modified seeds and chemical inputs as tools to fight hunger through an exclusive focus on increasing crop yields. One powerful Senate committee has already passed a bill, sponsored by Senators Casey (D-PA) and Lugar (R-IN), that requires GMO technology to be part of the U.S. agricultural research agenda abroad. We need to tell them not to use our tax dollars to market Monsanto's products abroad!
Despite all the hype, GMOs have simply failed to deliver: there is no evidence that exporting this technology to the developing world will actually boost productivity. A recent analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that GMOs have had almost no impact on crop yields in the United States. Further, GMOs have little to offer drought-prone regions like Africa. Simply put: there are no drought-tolerant GMOs currently on the market. The only two GMO seed traits available -- sold by the biotechnology giants Monsanto and Bayer CropScience -- are herbicide tolerance and pest resistance for a handful of commodity crops like corn, soy and cotton. And not only are the existing seeds expensive but the use of these seeds would also tether poor farmers to the synthetic pesticides and fertilizers GMOs require.
Dedicating millions of dollars in aid money to biotechnology companies also reduces the funding available for proven agro-ecological systems and infrastructure improvements that are more appropriate for small and limited-resource producers.
Please sign this petition here: http://act.credoaction.com/...
On a personal note, when I was farming organically in Maine, I saw a friend driven out of business because of wind drift from a neighboring farm's GMO cornfield that pollinated his organic corn. Monsanto also launched a massive bullying campaign and lawsuit against the State of Maine's efforts to inform people about what they were consuming by allowing milk to be labeled whether or not it contained BGH, but with a strong push back from consumers, they failed. Success against Monsanto doesn't happen very often.
These people are ruthless. They have to be stopped. Please let's make this happen.