Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dow and Monsanto: The Invincibles Against Consumers

From the Heartland, Margot McMillen writes: As I wrote yesterday, HJR 7 and 11 have been dubbed the “Monsanto/CAFO protection act.” That’s the Missouri law that would “forever” guarantee “modern” farming methods in our state, regardless of what “modern” means. Robots caring for animals in confinement? Poisons sprayed all over the land to kill weeds? We don’t know. But, now, I see that maybe citizens should call HJR 7 and 11 the “Monsanto/Dow/CAFO protection act.” Because last week, Dow and Monsanto announced a “cross-licensing” deal that would stack the world’s largest chemical company and the world’s largest seed company in a ruthless “next generation” coalition. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch lined it out: “The world’s biggest seed company and the country’s biggest chemical company announced Thursday a cross-licensing deal intended to bring next-generation seeds and chemical mixes to farmers combating increasingly stubborn weeds and insects in the field. Creve Coeur-based Monsanto Co. and Dow Agrosciences, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co., said Thursday that Monsanto will allow Dow to use a corn technology Monsanto is developing to kill corn rootworm, a major agricultural pest. In exchange, Dow will give Monsanto access to its new Enlist brand corn technology, which enables crops to survive applications of the chemical 2,4-D. The deal is the latest move in an emerging pattern that has seen major rivals in agricultural biotechnology license technologies to one another. The existing SmartStax corn product, for example, already contains eight biotechnology traits developed by Dow, Monsanto and Bayer CropScience.” That, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is a “response” to the problems farmers are having in the battle against increasingly chemical-resistant pests and weeds. I guess “response” is one way to put it, but to be honest the problems are due to increasing amounts of chemicals on the land to grow the seeds that the biochemical seed companies are creating. What’s really crazy about all this is that nobody has tested the “traits” on consumers, so if you buy these weird products, you’re ingesting the “traits,” whether they’re good for you or not. And, to make matters more complex, scientists can’t get permission to run tests on lab rats or even on worms or bugs because the “traits” are protected by patents. So who are the lab rats? Well, if you’ve eaten anything today made with corn, canola, soy, sugar beets or cotton seed, you can raise your hand now.

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