“Agricultural biotechnology will find a supporter occupying the White House next year, regardless of which candidate win the election in November”
– Monsanto Inhouse Newsletter, 2000
What can I say about a company that has its way in the American government It’s obvious that they have politicians in their pocket and former employees in government power. I am all for liberty and the pursuit of happiness but the gay rights thing blinded the majority of us citizens from seeing this horrible act taking place.The Section 735 of HR 933, a spending bill signed into law by President Obama on Tuesday effectively shields large biotech companies, like Monsanto, from the federal courts in case something is found to be harmful in their genetically modified seeds. Because of Section 735, federal courts would be powerless to stop Monsanto from selling their product.
The President did nothing to stop it, either. On Tuesday, Obama signed HR 933 while the rest of the nation was fixated on gay marriage, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument about California’s Proposition 8. But just because most of the nation and the media were paying attention to gay marriage doesn’t mean that others were not doing their best to express their opposition to the “Monsanto Protection Act.” In fact, more than 250,000 voters signed a petition opposing the provision And Food Democracy Now protesters even took their fight straight to Obama, protesting in front of the White House against Section 735 of the bill. He signed it anyway.Senator Roy Blunt and those who knowingly passed the Monsanto Protection Act (including President Obama who signed it into law just last night) have chosen to serve corporations over people. Ironic, really, as corporations legally are people — a legal area commonly used to avoid real jail sentences for major CEO’s and executives who knowingly were involved with the deaths of consumers around the world.
Monsanto has used lawsuits or threats of lawsuits for 20 years to force unlabeled genetically engineered foods on the public, and to intimidate farmers into buying their genetically engineered seeds and hormones. When Vermont became the first state in the nation in 1994 to require mandatory labels on milk and dairy products derived from cows injected with the controversial genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone, Monsanto’s
minions sued in Federal Court and won on a judge’s decision that dairy corporations have the first amendment “right” to remain silent on whether or not they are injecting their cows with rBGH – even though rBGH has been linked to severe health damage in cows and increased cancer risk for humans, and is banned in much of the industrialized world, including Europe and Canada.
A Farmer Commits Suicide by Pesticide Every 30 Minutes in India the statistics are staggering. According to a publication from the New York University School of Law, in 2009 alone (the most recent year for which official figures are available) 17,638 Indian farmers committed suicide—that’s one farmer every 30 minutes. A great number of those affected are cash crop farmers, and cotton farmers in particular.Cotton exemplifies India’s general shift toward cash crop cultivation, a shift that has contributed significantly to farmer
vulnerability. The cotton industry, like other cash crops in India, has been dominated by foreign mega-corporations that promote genetically modified seeds and exert increasing control over the entire agricultural industry. Most farmer suicides are a direct result of overwhelming indebtedness. And the suicide numbers may be grossly underestimated.
According to the authors of the NYU report:
“While striking on their own, these figures considerably underestimate the actual number of farmer suicides taking place. Women, for example, are often excluded from farmer suicide statistics because most do not have title to land—a common prerequisite for being recognized as a farmer in official statistics and programs.”
The general trend over time is increasing suicides, despite the generally decreasing numbers of Indians performing farming each year, which makes the statistics even starker: It’s estimated that more than 250,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide so far. But this problem is not limited to India, as the suicide rate for farmers is higher worldwide than for the non-farming population.In the Midwestern U.S., suicide rates among male farmers are twice that of the overall population. In Britain, one farmer commits suicide every week. For every Indian farmer who takes his own life, a family is hounded by the debt he leaves behind, typically resulting in children dropping out of school to become farmhands, and surviving family members themselves often committing suicide out of hopelessness and despair. The Indian government’s response to the crisis—largely in the form of limited debt relief and compensation programs—has failed to discuss the magnitude and scope of the problem or its underlying causes.