| The Earth's Agricultural Biodiversity Is Being
Threatened By Biotech Giant Monsanto
The gigantic biotech corporation Monsanto is threatening to destroy
the agricultural biodiversity which has served mankind for thousands
of years. The endless list of genetically modified seeds sold
and controlled by Monsanto are putting at enormous risk age-old
agricultural patterns under the presumptuous slogan of aiming
at solving the huge problem of hunger in the world.
On March 11 a new documentary was aired on French television
(ARTE French-German cultural tv channel) by French journalist
and film maker Marie-Monique Robin, entitled 'The World According
to Monsanto'. Starting from the Internet over a period of three
years Robin has collected material for her documentary, going
on to numerous interviews with people of very different backgrounds.
She traveled widely, from Latin America, to Asia, through Europe
and the United States, to personally interview farmers and people
in influential positions.
As an example of pro-Monsanto interviews, she talked at length
with Michael Taylor who has worked as a lawyer for Monsanto and
also for the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), where he had great
influence on the legalization of the genetically modified bovine
growth hormone (BGH). It also became FDA policy during Taylor's
tenure that GM seeds are declared to be "substantially equivalent
to non-GM seeds, hence proclaiming proof of the harmlessness of
GMs to be unnecessary. Michael Taylor is a typical example of
technocrats employed via 'the revolving door policy'. He is now
head of the Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation.
The gospel according to Monsanto is that their patented GM seeds
and their bovine growth hormone (BGH) will increase worldwide
production of agricultural, dairy and meat products and Bt cotton
to the extent that worldwide hunger and poverty will be eradicated.
The actual truth is rather the opposite. GMOs are creating serious
damage all over the world and artificial BGH injection in cows
cause numerous health problems, and even death.
Monsanto is not held back by any considerations of ethics and
it hides the reality of its sordid machinations behind a wall
of secrecy. Everything Monsanto does is exclusively with the intent
of increasing its own profit everything else be damned.
If left to its own devices it will most certainly destroy the
livelihood of millions of farmers a process begun a decade
ago in India and certainly in many other countries as well. The
planet's ecosystems will be seriously threatened by unnatural
ways of changing agricultural patterns. The dangers of GMO
cultivation to the environment come in many forms:
- Switching from age-old biodiverse crops that can tolerate low-level
amounts of water to industrial monocultures of crops such as GM
cotton, sugarcane, etc. that require large amounts of irrigation.
- Inundating cultivated lands with toxic herbicides, in particular
the dangerous Monsanto product Roundup, to which the GMO seeds
have been made biotechnically resistant. Any other growth should
succumb to Roundup, were it not for the fact that weeds to a very
large extent become Roundup resistant.
- Putting an end to biological farming and poisoning non GM cultures
through pollenization from GM crops and accidental exposure to
- Deforestation to make more land available for the culture of
the GM seeds Monsanto sells at high prices to poor farmers.
On top of all these dangers to biodiversity and biological farming
comes the fact that Monsanto has patented its products and farmers
are legally bound not to save seeds for replanting for the following
year. They must buy new seeds from Monsanto every year and the
company has a sizeable staff that just deals with prosecuting
farmers suspected of illegally using one year's seeds for the
planting of the next year's crop.
Globalization and Poverty
Biological farming is adapted to existing ecosystems. But age-old
biological farming has had to give room to industrial monocultures
that enrich the few and cause poverty and despair for millions
of small farmers. Now there is soil erosion, destruction of biodiversity
and social/economic disasters in tow. Contrary to Monsanto promises
that GM seeds and Roundup would reduce production cost, farmers
now have to pay skyrocketing prices for herbicides, pesticides
The destructive effects of genetically engineered crops are worldwide,
but the extensive damage done in India has been widely documented
by Dr Vandana Shiva. She is a physicist and environmentalist as
well as a tireless activist and author of many books concerning
the nefarious consequences of GM farming as opposed to the wisdom
of traditional family and biological farming. She is currently
based in New Delhi.
"Economic globalization has become a war against nature
and the poor" says Dr. Vandana Shiva.
"Recently I was visiting Bhatinda in Punjab because of an
epidemic of farmers suicides. Punjab used to be the most
prosperous agricultural region in India. Today every farmer is
in debt and despair. Vast stretches of land have become waterlogged
desert. And, as an old farmer pointed out, even the trees have
stopped bearing fruit because heavy use of pesticides has killed
the pollinators the bees and butterflies." she added.
Disastrous health problems caused by GMO products
In spite of the reassurances from Monsanto and its own lawyers
and scientists that GMO cultures and Roundup herbicide are not
health hazardous, it has been proven in their own research that
rats have developed different forms of tumors and other health
problems. However, instead of pushing the research further, they
put a complete stop to it.
"As farmers know there is a cancer epidemic in America's
heartland partly resulting from exposure to chemicals like
Roundup, and partly from ingesting contaminated food and drinking
water." (Economic, health & environmental impacts of
Roundup-type chemical and Roundup Ready soybeans)
Particularly when Roundup is applied by aerial spraying the risk
of drift of the herbicide to close-by crops and trees is considerable.
Both trees and nutritious and medicinal herbs have been proven
to be killed or producing severely damaged fruit and leaves from
the effect of Roundup being sprayed on nearby cultures, by air
as well as by ground spraying.
According to new research on the impact of GMOs on health, "Although
some GMOs have been approved and marketed for several years, there
was no body of scientific research on their impact on the biology
of living organisms. This is partly because animal feeding trials
are not required in the current safety approval process for GMOs
in the EU or USA. Only now is a body of evidence starting to emerge
from a small number of animal feeding trials into the health effects
and progress in the new science of epigenetics. This indicates
that genetic engineering is much more unpredictable and risky
than traditional breeding."
Various health problems from GMO products have been identified,
from serious skin problems in humans in Argentina at soya plantations
(documented by Marie-Monique Robin in her film The World
According to Monsanto), to allergies in humans as well as tumors,
damage to internal organs and internal bleeding in rats fed with
genetically engineered potatoes.
From a lack of sufficient research and the fact that many health
hazards develop over a long period of time, there is still no
complete list of real health hazards to humans caused by GMO products.
Monsanto who provides 90% of the world's long list of genetically
engineered products (having bought up 50 smaller companies during
the last decade) does their business with such complete secrecy
that there are still sold-out individuals out there who praise
the complete revolution of agriculture achieved by the culture
of GMO crops. These corrupt people seem to be totally unaware
of the health hazards and the drive to despair and ruin of small
farmers caused by GMO products. They seem to still believe that
genetically engineered seeds can save the world's food problems.
Or worse yet, they don't care.
A high representative for Monsanto has openly admitted that "We
want to control the world's food supply." It is also very
clear that they have no concern for health hazards or human disasters
caused by the callous decisions of world leaders to give up on
biological farming and opt for genetically engineered food production
and monoculture industrial farming.
The proofs that GM huge industrial monocultures and Roundup herbicide
are destroying the earth's environment and human health are completely
censured and ignored, due to intense lobbying and pressure from
sold-out individuals at the United States Department of Agriculture
and the Federal Drug Administration.
Once again, only corporate profit counts and people as well as the
environment are of no importance. And the neocon puppets are playing
the game with great gusto.