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March 9, 2009

Monsanto's dream bill, HR 875

By Linn Cohen-Cole

HR 875 is a Monsanto driven bill introduced by Rosa DeLauro whose husband works for Monsanto. Michael Taylor, a Monsanto lawyer, waits in the wings to take control our food again, but this time it would be with frightening power over our farmers, our only protectors of our food. This article contains quotes to give only a small idea of what is at stake in stopping HR 875, a dream bill for Monsanto.

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To begin reversing GM contamination will require ending the power biotech companies such as Monsanto exert over our government and through that, over our food.  

HR 875, was introduced by Rosa DeLauro whose husband Stanley Greenburg works for Monsanto.

The bill is monstrous on level after level - the power it  would give to Monsanto, the criminalization of seed banking, the prison terms and confiscatory fines for farmers, the 24 hours GPS tracking of their animals, the easements on their property to allow for warrantless government entry, the stripping away of their property rights, the imposition by the filthy, greedy industrial side of anti-farming international "industrial" standards to independent farms - the only part of our food system that still works, the planned elimination of farmers through all these means.  

The corporations want the land, they want more intensive industrialization, they want the end of normal animals so they can substitute patented genetically engineered ones they own, they want the end of normal seeds and thus of seed banking by farmers or individuals.  They want control over all seeds, animals, water, and land.

Our farmers are good stewards.  That is who is threatened by Rosa DeLauro's bill (and because of that, we all are).  At a time in this country when wise stewardship and the production of anything real - especially good food - is what is most needed, it is our best stewards whom Rosa DeLauro threatens, under the cruelly false name of "food safety."

And now Monsanto wants its own employee, Michael Taylor back in government, this time to act with massive police power as a "food safety tsar" from inside the White House.  This is the man who forced genetically engineered rBGH on us (unlabeled, and without warning) when the Clintons placed him over "food safety" in the 90s.  HR 875 would give him immense power over what is done on every single farm in the country and massive police state power to wield over farmers and punishments to break them at will.

The following quotes show Monsanto and its biotech ilk are not "stewards" at all.  Their inhuman focus on profit has led to inhuman, insane, sickening products that require intense corruption of democracy and science institutes and media, to foist them on country after country which don't want them.  

It is our farmers who stand between us and this outrage which masquerades as science, as food, as normal business, as government.  And it is our farmers who need not only protecting but actual freeing from government intrusion, control and harm.

Vegetarians and vegans do not identify with farmers who raise animals but what is at stake here is critical for all of us.  "First they came for the Jews" is an apt reminder of what matters in standing with each other because the overwhelming bureaucratic burdens, the record requirements, the warrantless inspections, the end of farmers' markets, the criminalization of seed banking, the ten years in prison for stepping out of line in any way -- this will next be applied not to animals breaking out of fence onto a neighbor's farm, but for such things as not spraying pesticides on an organic farm to eradicate earthworms (now listed as an invasive species) because the government's "food safety tsar" has deemed it necessary. 

HR 875 is the beginning.  This time, it is about handing over control of our food supply to enhance profits of the chemical industry. This time it is aimed with ferocity at farmers who keep animals.  Next time it will be totalitarian control. 

Rosa DeLauro and Stanley Greenburg have a great deal to account for in attempting through a mislabeled bill with hidden intent to wipe out our farmers and harm all of us.  HR 875 gives Monsanto greater power and opens doors wider to the following ...

GM and non-GM crops cannot coexist 


"OK, we know that cross-pollination will occur but we’ve got thirty years of experience to say we know how far pollen will travel. And therefore what we’ve done is we’ll grow a GM crop at a distance away from a non-GM crop, so the people that want non-GM can buy non-GM, and the people that want GM can buy GM. The two will not get mixed up. Everybody will have the right to choose."
Paul Rylott, Seed Manager for Aventis CropScience, and later chief spokesperson for the agricultural biotechnology industry in the UK, "Matter of fact”, BBC2 Eastern Region, broadcast 12 October 2000


"Global incidents of genetic contamination from genetically modified (GM) crops are on the rise, while the companies responsible ignore the consequences. Since 2005, the GM Contamination Register has recorded 216 contamination events in 57 countries since GM crops were first grown commercially on a large scale in 1996. While companies claim they can control the use of GM crops, the reality is very different." 
Greenpeace International, “Biotech companies fuel GM contamination spread”, 29 February 2008


"If some people are allowed to choose to grow, sell and consume GM foods, soon nobody will be able to choose food, or a biosphere, free of GM. It’s a one way choice, like the introduction of rabbits or cane toads to Australia; once it’s made, it can’t be reversed." 
Roger Levett, specialist in sustainable development, “Choice: Less can be more",Food Ethics, Vol. 3, No. 3, Autumn 2008


"The hope of the industry is that over time the market is so flooded [with GMOs] that there’s nothing you can do about it. You just sort of surrender."
 
Don Westfall, biotech industry consultant and vice-president of Promar International quoted in, “Starlink fallout could cost billions”, Toronto Star, 9 January 2001


"The industry is in reality making serious efforts, whether legally or illegally, to contaminate the cultivated species all over the world." 
Devinder Sharma, trade policy analyst, “The great genetic scandal”, Center for Alternative Agricultural Media, 1 August 2002


"[Dale] Adolphe [of the Canadian Seed Growers Association] said it's ironic that even as public protests and opposition to GM food products seem to grow and even as new regulations and controls are put in place, the total acreage devoted to GM crops around the world is expanding. That may be what eventually brings the debate to an end, said Adolphe. 'It's a hell of a thing to say that the way we win is don't give the consumer a choice, but that might be it.'"

Adrian Ewins, quoting Dale Adolphe of the Canadian Seed Growers Association in “Biotech wins by giving consumers no choice", The Western Producer, 4 April 2002


"People will have [GM] Roundup Ready soya whether they like it or not."
Monsanto spokesperson in Britian, Ann Foster, “The politics of food", Maria Margaronis, The Nation, 27 December 1999


"The US Department of Agriculture claims to know where the maize — banned from all food use globally and only recently approved for US exports — is located. Aventis, the French firm which developed the genetically modified maize sold throughout the US maize belt in 1999 and 2000, says it knows, also. So do I: StarLink maize is everywhere." 
US agricultural journalist Alan Guebert, "Another contamination scandal dents US biotech hopes", Farmers Weekly, 8 December 2000


"It's important for countries around the world to adopt a uniform standard of acceptable levels of contamination."
 
Biotechnology Industry Organization spokesperson, Lisa Dry quoted in, "Engineered DNA found in crop seeds", Rick Weiss, Washington Post, 24 February 2004


"In 2006 it was discovered that 30% of the entire US long-grain rice supply had become contaminated by experimental GM rice varieties unapproved for human consumption. Not only was this a public safety disaster, but also cost the rice industry over $1 billion. The contamination source? 'Controlled' field trials."
The Soil Association, “Government to defy critics with secret GM crop trials",Today's News, 17 November 2008


"If they can’t prevent it there, there is little chance they will avoid it in the field." 

Dr Brian Johnson of English Nature, after sugar beets genetically modified to resist one company’s herbicide accidentally acquired GM genes resistant to another company’s herbicide, despite being grown in greenhouses. “Stray genes highlight superweed danger", New Scientist, issue 2261, 21 October 2000


"Cross-pollination of the environment is an issue, and that has to be addressed. And for those countries that have very small landmass, there’s no way they can segregate GM crops from conventional crops or from organic crops, and so the likelihood of cross pollination exists." 

Prof Patrick Wall, until 2008 the Chairman of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the EU Agency mandated by the European Commission to advise on the safety of genetically modified food and animal feed for the European Union, in an interview: "We cannot force-feed EU citizens with GM food", 2 December 2008


"The cultivation of genetically modified maize [in Spain] has caused a drastic reduction in organic cultivations of this grain and is making their coexistence practically impossible."
Conclusion of research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics: “An impossible coexistence: transgenic and organic agriculture", Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, 30 June 2008


"Mexican plant biologist, Ignacio Chapela, and his student David Quist, were the target of attack for their painstaking research that established the spread of transgenes in the centre of origin of maize. Such genetic contamination would ultimately destroy the world's available genetic purity and in the very hotspots of diversity. The National Biodiversity Commission of Mexico accepted the findings. ‘It is confirmed. There is no doubt about it,’ Jorge Soberon of the Commission was reported as saying. Two separate teams found transgenic DNA in around 10 per cent of crop plants sampled in Oaxaca province, describing it as ‘the world's worst case of GM contamination’."
Devinder Sharma, trade policy analyst, “The great genetic scandal”, Center for Alternative Agricultural Media, 1 August 2002. Quist and Chapela's findings were further confirmed by a study published in 2008, see "Modified genes spread to local maize"


Submitters Bio:

Met libertarian and conservative farmers and learned an incredible amount about farming and nature and science, as well as about government violations against them and against us all. The other side of the fence is nothing like what we've been taught to assume but great people with immense decency.

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