Products like the genetically modified golden rice, said to provide Vitamin A, are spun as charitable efforts to feed the world. Yet they are widely seen as publicity stunt to "humanize" Biotech while getting a foot in overseas markets for billions to be made by herbicide, pesticide, and chemical fertilizer makers. The "very concept of relieving suffering throughout the developing world with a monoculture of genetically altered 'super gruel' at face value is both undignified and untenable," writes geopolitical researcher and writer Tony Cartalucci. Biotech companies also preempt traditional, localized food systems and development programs Cartalucci points out.
Now Elanco, Eli Lilly's animal drug division, is launching a campaign to make Biotech look like a new arm of the UN/WHO. It is exhorting activists to "feed the world" through supporting Biotech food technology and becoming "an advocate for a food secure future." What? Activists who join the "ENOUGH" movement, rolled out on the web site Sensible Table will get a T-shirt, "tool kit" and the glow of knowing they are making the world a better place.
If you have never heard of Elanco, you are not alone. Animal Pharma companies tend to fly under the radar because their end customers are not food consumers but food producers. Unlike human Pharma, Animal Pharma's livestock drugs seldom make the news or force hearings on Capitol Hill. (Nor do its antibiotics, growth producers, hormones, vaccines, wormers and anti-parasite and fungal drugs appear on the food labels.)
Elanco is the "Monsanto" of animal-based agriculture. Even as U.S. food chains renounced Monsanto's recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) milk drug Posilac, Elanco bought the drug in 2008, redoubled marketing and built a new production plant for it in Augusta, Georgia. Elanco is the reason most U.S. pigs, and many cows and turkeys are now grown with the unlabeled and dangerous asthma-like drug ractopamine.
Elanco recently went on a drug company acquisition binge, acquiring Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Animal Health and Heska Corp., (which makes veterinary diagnostic and specialty products) in 2011 and, this year, Novartis Animal Health and Lohmann Animal Health which makes poultry vaccines and feeds. The Novartis acquisition added 3,000 new employees, 600 new products and nine manufacturing sites making Elanco the second largest Animal Pharma company in the world.
Elanco is now doing the heavy lifting for Big Biotech trying to pry open markets in Europe, Africa and Asia by pretending it is addressing world hunger.