2 Million People In 52 Countries March Against Monsanto

Monsanto’s Arguments Debunked

2 million people in 52 countries protested against Monsanto today. (Pictures here.)

In response to the protest, Monsanto’s spokesperson said:

Among the challenges facing agriculture are producing food for our growing population and reducing agriculture’s footprint on the environment. While we respect each individual’s right to express their point of view on these topics, we believe we are making a contribution to improving agriculture by helping farmers produce more from their land while conserving natural resources such as water and energy.

Is this true?

The Independent noted in 2008:

Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis.

The study – carried out over the past three years at the University of Kansas in the US grain belt – has found that GM soya produces about 10 per cent less food than its conventional equivalent, contradicting assertions by advocates of the technology that it increases yields.

Professor Barney Gordon, of the university’s department of agronomy, said he started the research – reported in the journal Better Crops – because many farmers who had changed over to the GM crop had “noticed that yields are not as high as expected even under optimal conditions”. He added: “People were asking the question ‘how come I don’t get as high a yield as I used to?’”

***

The new study confirms earlier research at the University of Nebraska, which found that another Monsanto GM soya produced 6 per cent less than its closest conventional relative, and 11 per cent less than the best non-GM soya available.

***

A similar situation seems to have happened with GM cotton in the US, where the total US crop declined even as GM technology took over.

***

Last week the biggest study of its kind ever conducted – the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development – concluded that GM was not the answer to world hunger.

Professor Bob Watson, the director of the study and chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when asked if GM could solve world hunger, said: “The simple answer is no.”

Scientific American reported in 2009:

Proponents argue that GM crops  can help feed the world. And given ever increasing demands for food, animal feed, fiber and now even biofuels, the world needs all the help it can get.

Unfortunately, it looks like GM corn and soybeans won’t help, after all.

The Union of Concerned Scientists wrote the same year:

For years the biotechnology industry has trumpeted that it will feed the world, promising that its genetically engineered crops will produce higher yields.

***

That promise has proven to be empty …. [A UCS report] reviewed two dozen academic studies of corn and soybeans, the two primary genetically engineered food and feed crops grown in the United States. Based on those studies, the UCS report concludes that genetically engineering herbicide-tolerant soybeans and herbicide-tolerant corn has not increased yields. Insect-resistant corn, meanwhile, has improved yields only marginally. The increase in yields for both crops over the last 13 years, the report finds, was largely due to traditional breeding or improvements in agricultural practices.

***

The report does not discount the possibility of genetic engineering eventually contributing to increase crop yields. It does, however, suggest that it makes little sense to support genetic engineering at the expense of  technologies that have proven to substantially increase yields, especially in many developing countries. In addition, recent studies have shown that organic and similar farming methods that minimize the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers can more than double crop yields at little cost to poor farmers in such developing regions as Sub-Saharan Africa.

The report recommends that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, state agricultural agencies, and universities increase research and development for proven approaches to boost crop yields. Those approaches should include modern conventional plant breeding methods, sustainable and organic farming, and other sophisticated farming practices that do not require farmers to pay significant upfront costs. The report also recommends that U.S. food aid organizations make these more promising and affordable alternatives available to farmers in developing countries.

“If we are going to make headway in combating hunger due to overpopulation and climate change, we will need to increase crop yields,” said Gurian-Sherman. “Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down.”

Mother Jones pointed out in February:

Washington State University researcher Charles Benbrook has demonstrated that the net effect of GMOs in the United States has been an increase in use of toxic chemical inputs.

***

And in a new paper (PDF) funded by the US Department of Agriculture, University of Wisconsin researchers have essentially negated the “more food” argument as well. The researchers looked at data from UW test plots that compared crop yields from various varieties of hybrid corn, some genetically modified and some not, between 1990 and 2010. While some GM varieties delivered small yield gains, others did not. Several even showed lower yields than non-GM counterparts. With the exception of one commonly used trait—a Bt type designed to kill the European corn borer—the authors conclude, “we were surprised not to find strongly positive transgenic yield effects.” Both the glyphosate-tolerant (Roundup Ready) and the Bt trait for corn rootworm caused yields to drop.

Then there’s the question of so-called “stacked-trait” crops—that is, say, corn engineered to contain multiple added genes—for example, Monsanto’s “Smart Stax” product, which contains both herbicide-tolerant and pesticide-expressing genes. The authors detected what they call “gene interaction” in these crops—genes inserted into them interact with each other in ways that affect yield, often negatively. If multiple genes added to a variety didn’t interact, “the [yield] effect of stacked genes would be equal to the sum of the corresponding single gene effects,” the authors write. Instead, the stacked-trait crops were all over the map. “We found strong evidence of gene interactions among transgenic traits when they are stacked,” they write. Most of those effects were negative—i.e., yield was reduced.

Overall, the report uncovers evidence of what is known as “yield drag”—the idea that manipulating the genome of a plant variety causes unintended changes in the way it grows, causing it to be less productive.

***

Here’s how the authors of a major paper published in Nature  [one of the world's leading science jounrals] last year put it:

Soils managed with organic methods have shown better water-holding capacity and water infiltration rates and have produced higher yields than conventional systems under drought conditions and excessive rainfall.

Genetically engineered foods have also allegedly been linked to obesity, cancer, liver failure, infertility and all sorts of other diseases. Brief, must-watch videos here and here.

Postscript: This is a bipartisan movement. After all, polls show that a large majority of Americans want strong food safety rules, and want genetically modified foods to be labeled.

And yet Congress is – yet again – handing a big funder unlimited power.

This entry was posted in Business / Economics, Politics / World News, Science / Technology. Bookmark the permalink.
  • gozounlimited

    The United States Is In Fact An Orwellian Tyranny
    By Lt. William J. Lawler II, M.Ed

    What are you waiting for? How much more of a clarion call do you require before you wake up and before you take action? Must you literally find yourself, a loved one, or a friend, dead, nearly beaten to death, about to die, or unjustly imprisoned, before you are ready to take action, and then wishing that you had already done so because at that point it willbe too late?

    The executive branch of government has now officially partially assumed the proper and constitutionally delegated role of the judicial branch.

    Non-evidence is actually evidence, tainted evidence is reliable evidence, illegal evidence is legal evidence, violating the law is upholding the law, and usurping the Constitution is adhering to the rule
    of law! This is the definitive definition of new speak and tyranny!

    At this moment all doubts as to the Orwellian and tyrannical nature of this dictator and of the United States Federal Government have been evaporated! There is now no room for doubt on where we stand!

    “Freedom is not bestowed upon by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.” -Benjamin Franklin.

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” -Lord Acton.

    “A Republic, if you can keep it.” -Benjamin Franklin.

    read more: http://libertycrier.com/forum/the-united-states-is-in-fact-an-orwellian-tyranny-obama-statements-at-the-national-defense-university/?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BreakTheMatrix+%28Break+The+Matrix%29

    • amerikagulag

      ^5 good stuff.

      The Rothschilds are the devil. Monsanto is its pitchfork and Israel and the US government are its demons.

      There’s an app for Iphones and Droid phones which you can scan you cart to find out what products are Monasnto or Koch bros.

      http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml

      Hey, it’s a step in the right direction

    • wunsacon

      >> I remember when the People’s Government existed to solve problems?

      No, I don’t. I must be getting old. ;-)

  • Tonto

    Two-million people -marching- against Monsanto, which is literally -poisoning- billions of people, is not a very effective campaign IMHO.

    Granted, it’s a start. But, it’s not going to stop Monsanto.

    • Action Smith

      Agreed, more people went to Home Depot this weekend to buy a bottle of “kill those annoying weeds.” Multinationals have the numbers, while a signifigant number oppose their mode of destruction, their brands are right at the point of sale, and funding in the cash of lobbyists.

      On a weekend filled with somber glorification of militarism, there should be honorable mention of Agent Orange. Brutal petrochemicals to destroy people in another failed colonial war.

      • Simi

        I read somewhere weed can be killed also by apple cider vinegar, or just pull it out :) I agree as regarding veterans the mention of Agent Orange produced by GMO giant should have been critized.

    • gozounlimited

      Unhappy Green Economy: People + Planet = Profit
      Julie Beal (Activist Post)

      Something’s happening! Wherever you are in the world …. if you’re awake – then listen! it’s time to help! Moves are afoot to replace our broken economy with something altogether different, and change our world forever. This is urgent – because it’s about the future, and YOU can change the course.

      The UN’s cult of Happiness and the plan to measure our well-being are just one part of a most audacious plan – to measure and price EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF NATURE, so long as it provides a ‘service’. The new Green Economy is backed by bankers and the Fortune 500 and all members of the United Nations, and has begun to lead to the control of all resources, by financializing, and commodifying, what we hold to be sacred: nature, and US.

      This issue goes way beyond the political – it breaks a fundamental moral code, and that’s why I think it’s largely been kept out of the news. It’s also the reason we can break this.

      see video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kUnM05Mpiyw

    • http://twitter.com/MetroIssuesLou Metro Issues :: Lou

      You can only start change with one person. Starting with two million — I’d say that’s a fantastic start to real change.

  • HS

    Why didn’t my teevee mention anything about this?

    • anon1234

      the revolution won’t be televised.

    • amerikagulag

      the teevee is owned by the same people who own Monsanto. Jews

      • J_Bookly

        You made a valid comment, then invalidated it with an ethnic/religious slur. If they were Methodists, how would that affect the issue of too much concentration of ownership?

        • tsisageya

          But can you say it’s untrue, J? And to answer your question for myself, it would affect the issue greatly.

          • Charles Rader

            tsisageya, without doubt there are Jews who own stock in Monsanto and in some TV station. Why do you think this would affect the issue greatly.

            I have sometimes wondered how much of the anti-GMO hysteria is really anti-Semitism. Certainly a lot of the posts by people commenting on news stories are anti-Semitic. This may have arisen because at one time the CEO of Monsanto was named Shapiro.

          • amerikagulag

            Anti-GMO and anti-Semitism now??? Wow the sayanim are out in full force.
            It would be anti-semitic if Palestinians owned Monsanto, or of Iraqi’s owned Monsanto, or Afghans, but that’s not the case. So it’s not anti-semitic at all.
            Monsanto is majority owned by the Rothschilds – a NORTHER EUROPEAN Jewish family. They are not semitic, at all.
            Next they’ll be equating Anti-GMO with Holocaust denial and wanting reparations. Maybe that’s the intent.

          • Charles Rader

            gulag, the anti-semitism that obsessed Hitler was not directed against semitic people from the middle east. If you don’t want to call this particular bigotry anti-semitism, you are free to call it something else, but it’s still bigotry.

            I would ask you where you found the statement that the majority of the owners of Monsanto are the Rothschild family, but I really don’t care.

  • irracibleexaminator

    Folks

    The problem for me is not so much a generalised fear of GM food per se .
    To me it all depends on the facts and the context.
    It comes down to WHAT is modified, WHERE, HOW it’s sold/distributed and finally WHY.
    From watching first hand their activities in Northern India and the Catastrophic consequences.
    I’d conclude that the Frankenstein monster is Monsanto it’s self and its heavy handed ROBBER BARON
    rather than the ‘product’

    The surprising thing is that the Average American is surprised by the hostility to US by the poor in third word countries (Allies)… I’m not

  • Dana

    Another aspect of the GMO issue which is rarely if ever discussed is the steady decrease in the nutritional value of GMO produce, due to heavy use of herbicides / pesticides, leading to the die-off of vital microorganisms in the soil – vital to the attraction of nutrients to plant roots.

    Eventually, the micro-biological soil ecosystem is killed off, leaving dead topsoil, which requires years if not decades of expert treatment to bring back to life.

    Reliable scientific studies of these two serious consequences of GMOs: diminished nutritional value of produce, and the soil-killing effects of requisite chemical substances, really ought to be enough to put a final nail in the GMO coffin.

    If mono- and GMO- agricultural practices continue to destroy millions of hectares of topsoil per year, the danger of not being able to feed the world’s population will not only be real but close to permanent.

    • gozounlimited

      May 27, 2013 by NATASHA LONGO
      Hospitals Love To Serve Overcooked GMO Slop To Sick Patients

      Unless you’ve experienced a very acute injury requiring life-saving emergency medical attention, most hospital stays are not conducive environments for healing, especially relating to nutritional support. Hospital food is almost unpalatable and from the perspective of nutrient density and optimal nourishment of which patients require the highest levels, the food in these care facilities could be considered equivalent to, if not worse than soup kitchens for the needy.
      Take a look at some of these pictures of overcooked slop filled with genetically modified ingredients which typically fill the menus of hospitals worldwide….. http://preventdisease.com/news/13/052713_Hospitals-Love-To-Serve-Overcooked-GMO-Slop-To-Sick-Patients.shtml

  • Jdawg

    Thank you for actually links that eventually lead to real references and relevant data!

  • FPA von Dreger

    Time (high time!!) for THE ONE PEOPLE to swing into action !! (see i-uv.com )

    • gozounlimited

      Extensive List of Politicians Paid Off By Monsanto

      Democrat, Republican, it doesn’t matter. As long as you can help Monsanto slide its icy tentacles into the food chain, then there’s some financial tip available to you. Thankfully, many such ties can be exposed through some data digging, and thanks to diligent readers who send comprehensive news tips and other researchers out there, we now have an extensive list of politicians getting paid cold hard cash from GMO juggernaut Monsanto… Anthony Gucciardi

      see here: http://www.prisonplanet.com/extensive-list-of-politicians-paid-off-by-monsanto.html

  • gungho jon

    March against these guys? Group think against them? How will this change fast food, sodas, fluoride in water, nutrition less bread, raw milk laws…. The change begins in the individual: through food: http://rathbonezvizionz.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/understanding-freedom-through-food/

  • Firstname Lastname

    Monsanto must go. No question. If they won’t go, burn every field and every Monsanto building until they do. No mercy for killing our citizens, bees, and wildlife for their gain.

  • James Cooper

    From all reports I can gather the attendance was a few tens of thousands at the most. Hardly the 2 million they claimed.

  • amerikagulag

    The worst thing you could have done is imply that this is a ‘bi-partisan’ movement. The people against Monsanto have NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS. This is survival of humanity against a company who wishes to destroy humanity by way of the food supply. The term ‘bi-partisan’ taints this movement by attaching a political stink to it. A STINK that won’t go away and will be played up by politicians in order to marginalize the movement. Perhaps that’s the intent. Destroy it before it gets off the ground.

 

 

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