The Most Evil Corporation in the World
A quick guide to MONSANTO
A few fast facts:
- Established in 1901 by John Francis Queeney
- First product was saccharin, a sugar substitute (aka Sweet ‘N Low)
- 1982 – Monsanto became the first to genetically modify a plant cell.
- 1985 – Monsanto acquires GD Searle, which discovered and manufactured aspartame artificial sweetener. Creates subsidiary NutraSweet Company.
- 1996 – GE soybeans, canola and cotton, as well as corn and soybeans are introduced.
- 1998 – Roundup Ready corn is commercialized.
- 2011 – Drought-tolerant GE corn and GE soybean are approved by USDA.
- 2012 – Opposes Proposition 37 in California that would require labeling of foods with GE ingredients. Contributed $8.1 million as top donor in a $45 million campaign.
- Used by US military as chemical warfare during the Vietnam War from 1961-1971.
- Almost 19 million gallons of defoliant were sprayed to clear vegetation around military bases and to obliterate hiding places used by the Viet Cong.
- Estimates from Vietnam reported 400,000 people were killed or maimed and 500,000 children were born with birth defects.
- Veterans who served in the war have increased rates of at least 50 illnesses and diseases, including various cancers and nerve, digestive, skin and respiratory disorders. This does not include the children born to Vietnam Veterans.
- Approximately 99 percent of the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) used by U.S. industry were produced by Monsanto until it was banned by Congress in 1976.
- PCBs were found to be carcinogenic, and to cause detrimental effects to the liver, endocrine system, immune system, reproductive system, developmental system, skin, eye and brain.
- They continue to be illegally leaked or dumped and do not break down easily in the environment and continue to cycle through air, water and soil.
- Genetic engineering modifies the genetic material of crops to display specific traits. Most commercial biotech crops are developed to be either herbicide tolerant, allowing herbicides to kill weeds without harming crops, or insect resistant, which protects plants from destructive pests. Monsanto creates many of both types.
- They also use licensing agreements with other companies and distributors to spread its traits throughout the seed supply.
- Roughly 382 million acres in the United States are used for crop production, that means that Monsanto’s products constitute approximately 40 percent of all crop acres in the country.
- Throughout the 1990s, Monsanto rapidly acquired multiple seed and agricultural companies, shifting its identity from a chemical company to one that produced GE (genetically engineered) crops and linked agrochemicals.
- Monsanto’s most popular herbicide accounted for 27% of their total net sales in 2011.
- Monsanto engineers its GE seeds to resist Roundup and Roundup alone, so that the sale of the herbicide is absolutely necessary for those who buy Roundup Ready seeds.
Influence on Government
- Monsanto has a long history with former and current employees of the U.S. government, public universities and industry and trade groups.
- U.S. Government – EPA, Supreme Court, White House (Deputy Assistant), Social Security Administration, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Department of Commerce, U.S. Trade Representative, Dept. of Defense, Dept. of State, Food and Drug Administration.
- Companies – Procter & Gamble, DuPont, Microsoft, Cisco, Morgan Stanley, Sara Lee, McDonalds, amongst others.
- Universities – Arizona State U, U of Missouri, St. Louis U, Cornell U, South Dakota State U, Washington U in St. Louis
- Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), also called recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST), is a drug that is injected into cows to increase milk production.
- In 1993, the FDA approved the first genetically engineered product.
- Studies have shown rBGH has caused reproductive problems in cows, including lower birth weight, infertility and an increased risk of cystic ovaries.
Monsanto vs. Farmer
- Monsanto is known for litigation against individual farmers for patent violation claims on GE seeds.
- Any farmer who buys Monsanto’s seed is bound to it (licensing agreement on every bag of GE seed), either by signing a contract or simply opening the bag, and it stipulates that farmers must not save any seed (a thousands-year-old tradition) and are responsible for following all procedures included in Monsanto’s Technology Use Guide.
- Monsanto goes to all lengths to defend its patent rights and stands behind the claim that it should be able to collect damages from anyone who violates them (thousands of dollars in damages and legal fees).
The Monsanto Protection Act
- Bill written by Monsanto and signed into law by President Obama, gives companies that deal with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered (GE) seeds immunity to the federal courts.
- The bill states that even if future research shows that GMOs or GE seeds cause significant health problems, cancer, etc, anything, that the federal courts no longer have any power to stop their spread, use, or sales.
Videos to watch:
The Future of Food
The World According to Monsanto