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Bayer and Monsanto finally agreed to say “I do” yesterday (September 14), striking a $66-billion deal that Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant tried to sell as a move to improve “the lives of growers and people around the world.”
Wall Street Journal reporter Jacob Bunge painted the news in a different light. Bunge implied that behind the Bayer-Monsanto buyout, a similar proposed merger between Dow and Dupont, and the recently approved ChemChina-Syngenta deal, runs the story of an industry in trouble.
“The dominance of genetically modified crops is under threat,” wrote Bunge on Wednesday. Bunge interviewed Ohio farmer Joe Logan who told him:
“The price we are paying for biotech seed now, we’re not able to capture the returns,” said Ohio farmer Joe Logan. This spring, Mr. Logan loaded up his planter with soybean seeds costing $85 a bag, nearly five times what he paid two decades ago. Next spring, he says, he plans to sow many of his corn and soybean fields with non-biotech seeds to save money.
With farmers giving up on biotech seeds, a global public wise to the destruction wrought by poisons like glyphosate (Monsanto) and neonicotinoids (Bayer), and a food industry increasingly under pressure to remove GMO ingredients, the Gene Giants figure all they need to do is get bigger—and more powerful—and they’ll be able to use their clout to step up the bullying of farmers, governments, scientists and the media.
Outraged consumer and environmental advocacy groups are already calling for regulatory agencies to block the Bayer-Monsanto match-up. Agency officials will no doubt go through the motions, solemnly promising a “thorough review” before they do what they almost always do—hand multinational corporations a blank check.
As soon as the media frenzy dies down and officials think the coast is clear, the Bayer-Monsanto “marriage made in hell” will likely be blessed by the powers that be.
Two of the world’s most foul corporate criminals will be one. Monsanto will pack up its headquarters and head overseas. The much-maligned Monsanto name will be retired.
But a corporate criminal by any other name—or size—is still a corporate criminal.
This merger only heightens the urgency, and strengthens our resolve, to hunt down the corporations that are poisoning everything in sight. We will follow them to the ends of the earth, if need be. We will expose their crimes. We will end the toxic tyranny.
We will become the Billions Against Bayer. And we will need your help.
Monsanto (and Bayer) are on trial. You be the judge.
Last year, The American Egg Board (AEB) was caught in the act trying to sabotage Hampton Creek, a company that markets a plant-based egg-free alternative and a product called “Just Mayo,” an egg-free mayonnaise. According to a report in the Guardian, AEB board members viewed Hampton Creek as a threat to the $5.5-billion-a-year egg industry.
A series of emails, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) revealed the details of AEB’s vendetta against Hampton Creek and its CEO, Josh Tetrick.
Maybe you've never heard of groups like AEB, the Cattleman’s Beef Board, the National Pork Board, National Dairy Promotion & Research Board and others like them. But you’re probably familiar with their work. They’re responsible for marketing slogans like “The incredible, edible egg,” “Beef. It’s what’s for dinner,” “Pork: the other white meat,” and “Got milk?”
These groups, which operate under the Promotion & Research—or checkoff—program, are funded by farmers and producers who are required to participate. But they’re overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture—which is why they are required to turn over documents under FOIA.
Now that AEB has been publicly exposed for violating checkoff program rules, the group, along with some of the largest U.S. food producers and their lobbyists, want Congress to shield them from FOIA requests. With help from their friends in the U.S. House of Representatives, they’ve attached a rider to the House agricultural appropriations bill that would exempt groups like AEB from FOIA requests.
Big Ag now officially joins the growing number of federal agencies trying to stifle freedom of information. According to this recent article by USRT.org’s Carey Gillam:
. . . mounting evidence shows that many of our federal agencies are actually working to stifle that freedom by wrongfully withholding information from the public. In June, President Obama signed a bill presumably aimed at strengthening FOIA. But while the law offers a range of new procedural improvements, the provisions do little to actually prevent the continuation of common abuses and excuses we see from agencies reluctant to turn over information about their activities.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Your Representative to Stop Big Food’s 'Secrecy' Rider!
“This is one celebration you don’t want to miss!”
That’s the message leaders of the Organic Trade Association (aka the Organic “Traitors” Association) sent their members recently, in an email inviting them to the OTA’s 2016 Leadership Awards Celebration at Expo East in Baltimore.
Here’s one thing that OCA and organic consumers will not be celebrating—the fact that the OTA’s “Organic Elite” conspired with Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) to overturn Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law, and ensure that food companies will never be required to reveal GMO ingredients in their products, using clear, on-package labels.
As consumers, we think a lot about food brands and food companies, and pay little if any attention to the associations and lobbying groups that represent those brands and companies. If we think about them at all, we aren’t surprised when groups like the infamous Grocery Manufacturers Association spend millions, illegally, to block GMO labeling laws so they can protect the profits of junk food manufacturers.
We expected better of the OTA. But at the end of the day, when Monsanto’s minions in Congress were on the verge of losing, and consumers were on the verge of winning, it was the bureaucrats at the OTA who stabbed us in the back.
Here's what happened.
Read the sign-on letter to the OTA
TAKE ACTION: Contact your favorite organic brands and ask them to stand with you—not Monsanto and Big Food, and not the back-stabbing bureaucrats of the Organic 'Traitors' Association!
Monsanto’s products are devastating forests all over the world, especially in Paraguay.
And when forests are devastated, so are the people whose lives depend on them.
Simone Lovera is executive director of the Global Forest Coalition, an international coalition of NGOs and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations defending social justice and the rights of forest peoples in forest policies. In this video, she explains why she is a patron of the International Monsanto Tribunal, and what she believes the tribunal means to the world’s indigenous cultures.
From a recent article in YES! Magazine:
No matter how different our lives look in far-apart places, climate change affects us all. A new report by the World Resources Institute and the Rights and Resources Initiative offers compelling evidence of this, showing clearly that one of the best ways to slow global warming is to give traditional communities the right to manage the forests where they have lived for generations. It is by far the most comprehensive assessment to date, drawing on 130 previous studies, as well as recent satellite data.
If only we could see the forest for the trees.
Watch the video
Endorse the Monsanto Tribunal
Want to organize a Monsanto Tribunal house party? Email email@example.com
Read the latest Monsanto Tribunal press release
Monsanto is on trial. You be the judge.
Want to experience Mexico’s Día de los Muertos? Join our October-November Vía Orgánica Eco Tour!
Día de los Muertos —Day of the Dead—is one of Mexico’s most important cultural events, a traditional celebration in which the living remember and honor their departed relatives with festivals and lively celebrations. You can experience this cultural phenomenon if you sign up for our October 27 – November 3 Eco Tour. Registration deadline for the October-November tour is September 27.
Vía Orgánica eco tours also include side trips to San Miguel de Allende and other World Heritage sites, trail rides and nature walks, horseback riding, and organic farming and cooking workshops—and of course, the opportunity to join in lively discussions with OCA and Vía Orgánica staff and other tour participants.
Participants stay at Vía Orgánica’s eco ranch and farm school, which serves as an educational farm and training center for farmers, students and activists in the organic food movement. The ranch includes a natural retreat center with adobe buildings, walking trails, solar power, rainwater catchment, and greywater and composting systems. Cost for accommodations and all-organic meals is $1250 per person.
Can’t make the October tour, but want to plan your winter escape? Other tour dates are also available:
• November 22-29 (Register by October 22)• December 6-13 (Register by November 6)• January 17-24 (Register by December 17)• February 15-22 (Register by January 15)• March 19-26 (Register by February 19)
Wondering what the tours are like? Here’s what one recent participant had to say:
“I not only learned about farming in a way that meets our global challenges, but I was introduced to the most amazing people who are involved with the ranch and restaurant. I came away with more excitement for life, more practical skills for living my values, a wider sense of possibility and brand new group of friends.” - Maureen Dawn
For more information or to register contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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