On Saturday May 27, almost two million people in 436 cities across the world marched against what they believe is ‘corporate greed’ and an attack on human health.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), believed to be helpful in growing (more) crops to help feed millions of people in future, have always been surrounded with controversies and researches that confirm their harmful effects on human health. Increasing information about the adverse effects of GMOs, however, has had no effect on the growth and profits of the companies that are manufacturing these products.
People gathered in different cities of the world over the weekend against Monsanto Company which is the leading producer of Genetically Engineered Seeds. The company has often been the target of controversies in many countries of the world because of its inappropriate business practices such as use of harmful pesticides and herbicides and for negligence towards the health of farmers.
In February this year, in a landmark case against Monsanto, a French court found the company guilty of chemical poisoning of a French farmer Paul Francois. The farmer had alleged that he suffered from neurological disorders including memory loss and stammering after inhaling Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller in 2004. Francois blamed the biotech giant for not providing adequate warnings on the product label.
Just days after this historic case in France, a movement on Facebook started off calling on people from all around the world to march against the company’s corporate corruption and genetically modified food manufacturing on May 25.
March Against Monsanto believes:
- Research studies have shown that Monsanto’s genetically-modified foods can lead to serious health conditions such as the development of cancer tumors, infertility and birth defects.
- Monsanto's GM seeds are harmful to the environment; for example, scientists have indicated they have contributed to Colony Collapse Disorder among the world's bee population.
The social media gathering turned into successful protests and peaceful demonstrations on the day it was planned. People in huge numbers took to the streets demanding their right to ‘real’ and safe food.
The movement has also highlighted a question against the government of the United States. According to their website, the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama collectively passed the nicknamed “Monsanto Protection Act” that bans courts from halting the sale of Monsanto’s genetically-modified seeds. The company has also been accused of political favoritism. March Against Monsanto also states that ‘organic and small farmers suffer losses while Monsanto continues to forge its monopoly over the world’s food supply, including exclusive patenting rights over seeds and genetic makeup.’ Even the Food and Drug Administration of the U.S. has been accused of being run by ex-Monsanto corporate executives.
Anti-Monsanto activists believe that the company’s GMOs are a clear violation of the basic human right and that is access to food- safe food. They believe that the profits Monsanto and related corporations and companies are making will endanger the health of their future generations.
This protest is the first ever global and unified protest for such a cause. It may not cause immediate results and effective action against the company, since it enjoys political support, but it is a start towards highlighting the issue.
Do you support the anti-Monsanto movement? Have you been a part of the protest? You can share your opinions in the comments section.