My Way of Thinking: Comments against GMO and Monsanto are twisted

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Rich Keller, AgProfessional MagazineRich Keller Two topics spur the most comments on our website time after time—GMOs and Monsanto.

I do nothing to encourage those against genetically modified organisms to visit or comment on our website, but they show up anyway. They complain about my interpretation of their anti-GMO comments, their anti-biotechnology events and their pseudo-science that stretches the truth.

There have to be dedicated anti-GMO people who do nothing but search out articles that promote biotechnology so that they can warn their whole circle of friends—something like a hive’s guard bees who sound the warning.

The anti-GMO crowd is one of the most vocal minority groups in the nation and world from what I’ve seen—as we even receive comments from overseas. Those who agree with my interpretations I know are in the majority but are less driven to comment. It is like everyone realizes debating with the anit-GMO crowd is like trying to smash through a brick wall with a Hot Wheels toy car.

An article I wrote for our website that explained what happened when anti-GMO, anti-biotechnolgy protesters showed up at the appeal of the Organice Seed Growers and Trade Association et all v. Monsanto lawsuit, which was dismissed in district court, spurred quite a few comments.

The plaintiffs filed suit against Monsanto originally because they wanted Monsanto to be prevented from ever taking legal action against organic seed producers if genetically modified plant traits crossed over into organic fields. The case was originally dismissed because the whole claim was based on speculation rather than any action ever taken by Monsanto.

I noted how a group, that might have totaled 300 persons, marched to Lafayette Park to protest the ‘Obama administration’s pending approval of 13 new biotech crops and AquaBounty’s ‘Frankenfish,’ a genetically engineered salmon,’ according to Food Democracy Now!.

I wrote, “The activist group is demanding the President not allow any more GM animals or plants, including GMO salmon, into the environment until more red tape, independent long-term safety tests are conducted. The activists are wanting a whole new procedure for approval of GM modified crops.”

Monsanto has detractors within different segments of agriculture. Some of the complaints began more than 15 years ago when genetically modified tech fees were added to the price of seed. It seemed that growers would have preferred Monsanto charge seed companies for use of its traits and pass higher prices for seed along, not require a separate fee.

Strict enforcement of no planting of traited soybean seed harvested by farmers also ended a procedure that had been followed for years by soybeans farmers, even though the certified seed industry had advertised against replanting harvested seed to achieve maximum yields. More than 15 years after the first enforcement, a current court case about replanting saved seed is still being judicated.

Monsanto is only one of many companies and universities involved in genetically modified organism research and product sales, but Monsanto still is the focus of worldwide protests. But support of the company has evolved to be stronger than in its earliest days, from the way I see it.

That brings me to a United Kingdom website reader’s unusual comment. “I agree; the science and crop varieties they (Monsanto) have provided for farmers and consumers are a wonderful gift to the world, and they have born the brickbats thrown at them, by the mainly ignorant opponents, with considerable patience. Keep at it Monsanto, one day the world will recognize your contribution to the world. In the UK we have great difficulty obtaining GMO foods but I buy them whenever I can and avoid 'organic' produce if at all possible.”

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February, 11, 2013 at 07:29 PM

We already recognize Monsanto's contribution to the world. As of 2012, Monsanto is associated with 11 "active" Superfund sites and 20 "archived" sites in the EPA's Superfund sites through pollution and poisoning. A UK government report showed that 67 chemicals, including Agent Orange derivatives, dioxins and PCBs exclusively made by Monsanto, are leaking from the Brofiscin quarry, near Groesfaen in Wales, an unlined porous quarry that was not authorized to take chemical wastes. It emerged that the groundwater had been polluted since the 1970s In 2002, the Washington Post carried a front page report on Monsanto's legacy of environmental damage in Anniston, Alabama, related to its legal production of PCBs. Plaintiffs in a lawsuit pending at that time provided documentation showing that the local Monsanto factory knowingly discharged both mercury and PCB-laden waste into local creeks for over 40 years. NY Times reported Monsanto had dumped 45 tons of PCBs into Snow Creek, a feeder for Choccolocco Creek which supplies much of the area's drinking water and that the company buried millions of pounds of PCB in open-pit landfills located on hillsides above the plant and surrounding neighborhoods. Monsanto also has admitted to paying bribes to a number of high-ranking officials between 1997 and 2002. I don't know how you deny the facts, keep up the good cheerleading for one of the most disgusting companies on the planet - it says quite a bit about yourself.

Rebecca Riggle    
Manchester, NH  |  February, 11, 2013 at 08:09 PM

So, I gather that the basic thrust of the article is "Anti-GMO people are annoying and post their viewpoints on our page, which bothers me." (Sorry, but I stopped caring after the first few lines or so). My response: "good." I'm proud to demand that this garbage food be labeled. If you are so proud of it, then you eat it!

February, 12, 2013 at 08:50 AM

How many other countries ban GMO food or at least label it? Look that one up please.

MidWest  |  February, 12, 2013 at 09:07 AM

Thank you for posting something positive for once. I love all the anti-gmo blog posts and protests that are based on completely incorrect information and misinterpreted science. I really wish people would educate themselves before supporting a cause for something they truly know nothing about! I work in the agriculture industry and I see on a daily basis how much Monsanto actually gives back to communities across the world. Not to mention that without their seed technology a vast majority of the population in India would starve. It doesn't matter that the majority of the vegetables that are bred by Monsanto don't contain GMO's and actually have more nutritional value than organic varieties, the activists are going to protest them anyway because again that are the misinformed minority.

R Andrew Ohge    
Belmond IA  |  February, 12, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Since there isn't much releasable science from Biotech (Most of what there is belongs to the "Proprietary" variety, and is therefore only available to the FDA, USDA and EPA, who assure us "they're okay"-this of course requires us to swallow our misplaced lack of faith in the ex-Monsanto Employees that head and run these "Consumer Protection" Agencies...AHEM), it now appears incumbent to simply attack the Commentors & the Anti-GMO groups for the unconscionable act of not liking the Products. It's starting to look a little desperate out there-but then, that's just me buzzing warnings to the rest of the hive. (Try to ignore the rising buzzing sounds from the Consumer Bees.)

GEO Joe    
Ohio  |  February, 12, 2013 at 04:49 PM

Well, here they are Mr. Keller, just as you expected...

Billy Baroo    
Urbana, IL  |  February, 18, 2013 at 09:52 PM

Not a word about what is made possible by such a great penetration of Round Up Ready product, and by not following recommended Integrated Pest Management, that the greater agriculture community is creating new monsters: Round Up Resistant Weeds and bT resistant grubs. It's only a matter of time before these products are obsolete and we're dealing with super weeds and super bugs. Nature does not succeed by being monotonous. Variety breeds longevity, and is very much needed to progress. Uniformity may breed success, but also is just as capable of being a catastrophic failure....hopefully we won't have to learn the hard way. We need both GMO's and Organics/Unmodified to succeed and survive, they both deserve protection...but since the wind is capable of blowing pollen over hundreds of miles, it is very hard to draw the line in the sand.

USA  |  April, 06, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Can you supply a bibliography for your statements. Where is the scientific data showing the high nutritional value of monsantos food? Thank you

USA  |  February, 22, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Wow ... you don't care much about truth. Your education seems to be entirely from the corporate mafia. Don't question your masters. I hope you see the light soon because somewhere along your way you seem to have lost any semblance of humanity. So monsanto really cares about people, they are doing it for the world, they only want to help in India... really... how come the Indians don't feel that way? Also, what about all the family farmers who don't want monsanto's poison and are being sued when it 'mysteriously' shows up on their property. You can eat all the gmo poison you want but don't take away my right to avoid the poison. That is exactly what monsanto is doing. They don't care about feeding the world... it's all about power, control and their almighty bottom line.

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