Posted March 9, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
Lead stories on most news programs these days are about the situation in Ukraine. Because Ukraine is correctly described as the “breadbasket of Europe” due to the country’s huge agricultural production, one can’t help but wonder what giant transnational corporations like Monsanto see and plan with regard to Ukraine’s endless food growing fields.
Without any knowledge about Ukraine’s agricultural sector but for the fact that it is huge, an initial perception is that Monsanto, the largest owner of seeds on Earth, would logically see those endless fields as a potentially lucrative market which can be gained. Now, to what extent, if any, Monsanto has placed Ukraine into its strategic market development plans is a matter of speculation. Given the history of Monsanto’s legal tactics designed to place their corporation in the driver’s seat against farmers who strongly oppose genetically modified organisms (GMO), combined with the power obtained in the United States government, would lead one to perceive correctly that Ukraine is on Monsanto’s radar.
Percy Schmeiser, the 82-year old Canadian farmer who has waged a decades long war against Monsanto and is a genuine hero, mentions in the video that Poland’s president recently vetoed a bill sent to his desk that would have approved GMO crops in that nation. Could it be more than coincidence that Poland borders Ukraine, and that the Polish president ended any opportunity for Monsanto to gain markets and profits in Poland? The vast farmlands in Ukraine represent a large, large market for companies like Monsanto to sell seeds, chemicals like Roundup (the largest selling herbicide on Earth), as well as obtaining legal compliance from farmers/growers through virtually one-sided contractual legalese those growers agree to/sign off on when purchasing Monsanto GMO seeds.
Mr. Schmeiser has become an icon for his family’s fierce legal battles with Monsanto, his sharing of agricultural knowledge, and his negative experiences with Monsanto around the world – gained through decades of farming in Canada.
When GMOs were simultaneously approved in 1996 by the Canadian and American governments, the biotech corporations touted GMOs as “savior” plants which would lead to higher yields (farmers will make more money), less need for chemical inputs (saving farmers money), and reductions in world hunger and starvation. After more than 17 years, every claim made about the superior “nature” of GMOs – that GMOs were “essentially equivalent” to historical crops with regard to nutrition, claims about GMOs being safe for human and animal consumption, claims that GMOs would not contaminate organic farms (essentially that GMO would not be carried by the wind, birds, insects, or transport), etc. – have all failed miserably.
GMOs have been a complete failure. Unless you own stocks in a corporation like Monsanto.
The Schmeiser family’s experiences with Monsanto are highly disturbing, and Mr. Schmeiser’s sharing of actual events drive to the core of the worldwide negative consequences of GMOs. His personal experiences, combined with his extensive knowledge of farming and the dangers of GMOs, are in effect “ground-zero” on the controversial issue of patenting life forms. He believes and states that Monsanto and other biotech companies have less concern for humanity’s health and well-being than the drive for total control of the world’s food supply. Monsanto has spent $billions to buy up traditional (and organic) seed companies, and then taking those seeds off the market leaving GMO seeds as the only option for farmers.
The families of the Ukraine who are in agriculture would be wise to fully learn from and understand experiences of the Schmeiser family from Canada. Theirs is only one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of real-life badly ending farm family stories due to legal battles with Monsanto. Mr. Schmeiser tells the audience here that hundreds of farm families in Canada alone have suffered total financial ruin from legal battles with Monsanto.
Percy Schmeiser is now 82 years old; his wife is 81 years old. Mr. Schmeiser points out that he and his wife don’t know how much time they have left on Earth. Speaking with the spirit of all genuine heroes who have lived on this Earth, Mr. Schmeiser conveys that “We’re going to go down fighting!” He shares an experience in South Africa, where after speaking to an audience there about GMOs and Monsanto, he met face-to-face with a Monsanto representative outside the hall who shook his fist in the faces of Percy and his wife, “Nobody stands up to Monsanto! We’re going to get both of you, somehow, someday – and we’re going to destroy you both!”
In the video he states, “I don’t want to sound doom-and-gloom, but seeds that have evolved and been around for thousands of years are going, and going fast.”
Mr. Schmeiser points out that in Europe, because national governments have passed laws requiring the labeling of GMOs, transnational companies like Monsanto have backed off somewhat on efforts to push their seeds and chemicals/inputs like Roundup. He points out that if Monsanto and other biotech corporations are so “proud” of their GMOs, there should be no resistance to labeling them, instead of spending $millions for advertisements to convince citizens to reject state labeling/ballot initiatives.
God bless Percy Schmeiser and all men and women who in essence simply want good healthy food for their children and grandchildren – for everyone’s children and grandchildren. Some view GMO labeling laws, and publication of independent peer-reviewed scientific GMO studies, as necessary first steps on the road to banishment of science which has not only been an abject failure, but has resulted in very substantial, real harm to the environment and the health of human beings, animals, insects, and all living things.
Others hold the view that labeling GMOs is certainly pushed for benevolent purposes, but that labeling fails to remedy the essential problem(s) associated with GMOs let loose in the environment. This analysis shows people that labeling allows for a continuation of GMO planting and cross-pollination, gene drift through the winds, the waters, and other ways in which seeds and their physical makeup/constituents have migrated since the beginning of time itself.
Those who push for labeling GMOs have earned respect and honor for caring about the health and well-being of their fellow human beings and the creation. Labeling could be seen as reaching for the moon. Banishment of GMOs from the face of this Earth is the result of reaching for the sun. The question “would you be in favor of GMO labeling or GMO banishment?” offers the most intense insight into what is truly at stake.
Everyone old enough remembers the TV commercial that says, “you don’t mess with Mother Nature”. When GMOs became approved by Canada and America in 1996 without any environmental/health impact studies from independent scientists, the largest-scale assault on life commenced – the greatest assault the world has ever seen – and a literally monstrous technology got turned loose on the planet.
The GMO monster continues to replicate and combine. The destruction has to stop. For the sake of future generations. Please do not underestimate Percy Schmeiser’s absolutely urgent message.
Nobody has the right to patent – to own – life itself.
Ban genetically modified organisms from the face of the Earth.
(Percy Schmeiser speaking at “The World vs. Monsanto”, organized by the Green Party of Canada, in Saskatoon, Canada – May 22, 2013)