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Meet the Activists Who Just Humiliated Monsanto

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

Last Thursday, an intriguing press release from "Monsanto Global" was sent out to to the email inboxes of media organizations all over the world. According to the press release, Monsanto had received approval from Mexico's SAGARPA (Secretariat of Agriculture) to plant a quarter of a million hectares of GMO corn in Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Durango. This was coupled with the announcement of two new Monsanto-funded institutions: a seed bank preserving Mexico's 246 native strains of corn, and a museum of Mexican culture, to be established such that "[n]ever again will the wealth of this region's culture be lost as social conditions change."

This was certainly interesting, and indeed, the SAGARPA was in fact considering a permit to allow Monsanto to plant the corn. Still, it seemed fishy, and totally unlike Monsanto to admit (even obliquely) that their corporate practices could possibly change Mexican culture and wipe out indigenous corn strains.

Within hours, the domain name linked to in the press release (monsantoglobal.com) was no longer available, and a second Monsanto-branded press release denouncing the earlier announcement went out. This one, sent from an email at a different domain name (monsanto-media.com), claimed that the Monsanto Global press release was the work of an activist group called Sin Maiz No Hay Vida.

The highlights of the strongly-worded message included the following:

"The action of the group is fundamentally misleading," said Janet M. Holloway, Chief of Community Relations for Monsanto. "The initiatives they put forth are unfeasible, and their list of demands is peppered with hyperbolic buzzwords like 'sustainability,' 'culture,' and 'biodiversity.'"

"Only ecologists prioritize biodiversity over real-world concerns," said Dr. Robert T. Fraley, who oversees Monsanto's integrated crop and seed agribusiness technology and research worldwide. "Commercial farmers know that biodiversity means having to battle weeds and insects. That means human labor, and human labor means costs and time that could be spent otherwise."
     


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