Will They Get Our Bellies?

| July 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

Will They Get Our Bellies? P.M. Bhargava. Tehelka, 31st July 2010, pp.60-61.

Marie-Monique Robin has laid bare the criminal DNA of Monsanto. Enough reasons to throw it out, says PM Bhargava

FOOD BUSINESS is the biggest business in the world and whoever controls it controls the world. That this is what Monsanto and its patron, the US Government, want to do is the message that comes out strongly in this extremely wellresearched book. The route to food domination will be through genetically manipulated (GM) seeds, pesticides and weedicides..

Historically, this is a logical follow-up of a host of dangerous toxic chemicals that Monsanto has been making one after the other — polychlorinated biphenols that cause cancer, dioxins that lead to chloracne, the deadly weedicide Round-Up (glyphosate), GM bovine growth hormone that produce painful mastitis in cattle, and genetically modified organisms such as GM corn, GM soya and Bt cotton, of which a variety of health hazards are now being increasingly documented in reliable scientific literature.

All this was preceded by Agent Orange, the defoliant used extensively by the Americans in Vietnam, contaminating more than 3,000 villages and defoliating between five and 10 million acres of plants and trees. I saw the consequences of this in 1982 while directing, under UNESCO, the first international scientific course after the war in Hanoi. I was taken several hundred kilometres south by Vietnam’s health minister. The surrealistic picture of mile-after-mile of denuded trees still haunts me.

Robin clearly brings out the cocktail of techniques that Monsanto has used to incur often irreversible damage to plant and animal life, including humans, and done so under the garb of humanitarian action such as making the world produce enough food to take care of its bourgeoning population. This deadly cocktail, all to maximise the company’s profits, includes lies, falsification of data, suppression of information, false advertising claims, shady scientific work, contamination of the environment, bribery, threats to whistle-blowers, controlling the media, victimisation of farmers, and control of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in its own country through collusion of the US Government.

Monsanto’s propensity for criminal and unethical acts is built into its genes

In fact, we in India have evidence of it all — evidence that has inexorably led to an indefinite moratorium on the release of Monsanto-Mahyco’s Bt brinjal.

This book gives us enough reasons to throw Monsanto out of India in national interest and freeze the assets of such companies if they don’t behave — which, as the book brings out, they are unlikely to do. The propensity to indulge in criminal, illegal and unethical acts, like the ones I have mentioned above, is built in their genes. With its corruption status, India is unlikely to fare better than Indonesia where Monsanto bribed more than 140 government officials to have its Bt cotton released without an environmental risk assessment. Yet, there is hope with what we did with Monsanto-Mahyco’s Bt brinjal, and the fact that even the US could not have Monsanto market its Round-Up Ready wheat.

If our government does not learn a lesson from Robin’s book, it must lose the right to govern the country.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *