A highly anti-Bayer and Monsanto statement was issued by a spokesperson for SumOfUs, a European-based activist organization, that is extremely critical of the possibility of Bayer Ag and Monsanto merging.
The negative opinions and attitudes expressed appear to be more common than those in U.S. agriculture might be aware. The statement is provided to give AgPro readers insight into the negative statements being issued that are quite often picked up by mass media as the general opinion of consumers.
The statement came from Anne Isakowitsch, a Berlin-based campaigner for SumOfUs. The organization claims it is an international consumer corporate watchdog. SumOfUs says it has collected 500,000 signatures of persons against the two companies merging. It is obvious from the statement that SumOfUs is as much anti-conventional farming as it is concerned about anti-trust enforcement. The statement is as follows:
“Bayer’s latest bid for Monsanto is a desperate attempt to make a potentially illegal deal more palatable for Monsanto shareholders and global consumers—but if this deal goes through it would spell disaster for our food supply and farmers, ushering in a new era of sterile crops soaked in dangerous pesticides.
“This new corporation would be the biggest seed maker and pesticide company in the world— defying important antitrust protections that would allow it to control critical aspects of our food supply in a way that would undermine consumer choices and the stability of farmers worldwide.
“Nearly 500,000 SumOfUs members around the world oppose this dangerous merger and will continue to work to make sure that this deal never happens.”
According to SumOfUs, the proposed merger would:
- “Consolidate corporate control of global food systems, undermining choice and raising prices for farmers and consumers alike. If a Bayer-Monsanto merger goes through, the new mega-corporation would have annual revenues of over $67 billion and would dominate a third of global markets in seed sales and crop protection. Monsanto seed traits are already found in 80% of corn and 90% of soybeans grown in the US. A Bayer-Monsanto mega corporation would add cotton seeds to this list, together controlling 70% of the U.S. cotton market.
- “Threaten critical pollinators like bees and butterflies. Both Bayer and Monsanto are facing significant public opposition for pushing profits in the face of the environment and public health concerns. Bayer’s neonic pesticides are harming bee populations worldwide and Monsanto’s Roundup kills the main food source for Monarch butterflies, which are now at risk of extinction, and contains the pesticide glyphosate, which has been named as a probable source of cancer in humans by the WHO. Together, these controversial products would be backed by coordinated and well-funded lobbying tactics and a virtual monopoly on the development of marketable alternatives.
- “Run afoul of antitrust laws designed to protect the public. Merger regulations in the European Union prohibit mergers, which would significantly reduce competition in the EU, for example if they would create dominant companies that are likely to raise prices for consumers. And U.S. law bars mergers when the effect ‘may be substantially to lessen competition or to tend to create a monopoly.’ Given the consolidation already occurring in the first two links of the industrial food chain—seeds and pesticides—this merger is likely to violate antitrust statutes.”