The one consistent theme throughout ecological issues is the need for diversity. The Monsanto Company is set on destroying the diversity of edible plants through a global agricultural monopoly.
Monsanto is considered an agricultural biotechnology corporation. With this company's long history, one would assume the corporation understood the necessities of health, safety, and diversity. However, history paints quite a different picture. The first 'agricultural' product created by Monsanto was saccharin. The purpose of this chemical was to replace the use of nature's sugarcane plant. Scientifically, saccharin was shown to contain carcinogenic properties that were hazardous to human health and yet it remains on the market.
Monsanto's 'agricultural' contributions continued with product creations like the lethal chemical known as Agent Orange, which was used in the Vietnam conflict. Upon creation, Agent Orange was categorized as an herbicide and its results were devastating. This chemical cocktail forever wiped out 10 million hectares of agricultural land and rendered it barren and unusable. Its carcinogenic properties killed millions of humans. Females who managed to survive exposure had children with deadly birth defects. One would expect that to end this company's story. Yet, Monsanto continued to profit and thrive from selling death.
In efforts to secure an agricultural monopoly, Monsanto created an artificial bovine growth hormone (BST), which promised cattle growers' bigger cattle sizes for larger beef and milk production. BST is commercially known as Posilac. The United States is the only country to allow its animals to be injected with this synthetic derivative. It is strictly banned throughout Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, and is rejected as a useful enhancer by the rest of the world. This chemical is linked to obesity, memory loss, and autoimmune diseases. Monsanto has gone so far as to back whistle-blower bills to keep their BST experiments a secret.
Nevertheless, genetically modified agricultural animals were a tougher global sell than the company would have liked. Therefore, Monsanto turned its attention to genetically modified crop seed production. Found throughout America, Monsanto's seeds generate half the corn and soybeans in the country to feed both humans and animals. It also happens that their genetically altered corn and soybeans are classified as toxic pesticides, but remains on the open market for consumption.
Monsanto patented their genetically modified seeds, planted them, and waited for nature to take its course, which subsequently led to crop contamination. The effects in America were destructive both financially to farmers and to plant diversity.
Monsanto sends out scouts to illegally collect plant samples from random farms and tests the plants to see if their genetically modified seed has merged with natural plant species not of their design. The company then provides the courts with evidence that the original non-genetically modified crops were now genetically altered. Farmers are then charged with theft because plant modification was patented. This allows the company to sue farmers who want nothing to do with Monsanto's products, forcing farmers into either losing their land or "voluntarily" growing Monsanto crops. This has been the legacy of Monsanto's agricultural monopoly practice around the world.
After Haiti's devastating earthquake in 2010 that claimed 220,000 lives, Monsanto attempted to interject their seeds into surviving farm fields. Haitians took every seed, burned them to ash, and sent the clear message that the country would rather starve than put their future into the hands of Monsanto. But, it was the actions of Mexican farmers that attracted the attention of the United Nations.
Owners of small farms in Mexico rallied when Monsanto pushed the Mexican agricultural department to amend their laws on plant varieties to regulate crop biodiversity. The implementation of the "Monsanto Law" would allow the company full rights over produced crops for the next 25 years. The diligence of Mexican farmers was successful in shutting down the proposed amendment. Their concerns reached the United Nations, which conducted an investigation. The conclusion was Mexico should clarify its laws on the right to food and incorporate a moratorium declaration on genetically modified foods in the country. The Mexican government is presently taking the United Nations' suggestion under advisement.
Perhaps farmers united around the world will do what battle worn Asia could not and release society from Monsanto's agricultural stronghold; allowing small farmers, organic farmers, and nature's abundant diversity to remain free from biochemical hijacking.
For those interested, sign the Keep Monsanto Out of Mexico Initiative.