Monsanto Refuses to Support U.S. Constitution - Why?
1.Monsanto Refuses to Support U.S. Constitution - Why?
2.Farmers' Guide to GMO Contracts
3.Monsanto's oppression like that of Medieval Church
4.GE crops prohibited in county
5.Hormones dwindling in milk
EXTRACT: In 2005, HII submitted a resolution that called for the formation of an ethics oversight committee in response to Monsanto being fined for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. (item 1)
1.Major U.S. firm - Monsanto - Refuses to Support U.S. Constitution
News Blaze, October 21 2008
*Agri-business giant Monsanto refuses proposal to 'defend' U.S. Constitution against enemies of the U.S.; investment firm asks why.
NAPA, Ca - Monsanto - one of the world's largest agri-chemical and biotech companies with several locations in the Bay Area - is refusing to "support and defend" the U.S. Constitution against the nation's enemies, according to a Napa-based investment company here which is questioning Monsanto's loyalty.
Harrington Investments, Inc.(HII) has introduced a binding amendment to Monsanto's corporate bylaws requiring its directors to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." But, Monsanto is fighting the proposal.
"Monsanto is chartered, traded, and headquartered in the U.S. It is guaranteed certain rights and privileges under the United States Constitution. Americans should also want to be assured that Monsanto's directors are not antagonistic to the ideals and principles the Constitution espouses," said John Harrington, president of HII.
Monsanto is among the world's largest agri-chemical and biotech companies. It reported $8.5 billion in 2007 revenues and is the dominant player in the seed industry, boasting a major market share of sales of genetically modified foods. United Nations officials recently said Monsanto has tremendous influence over food security in every nation.
This resolution is the latest in Harrington Investments' longstanding ownership-advocacy relationship with Monsanto management. In 2005, HII submitted a resolution that called for the formation of an ethics oversight committee in response to Monsanto being fined for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Monsanto has a dozen locations in California, including ones in Martinez and Salinas, and three in the Sacramento area.
Harrington Investments, Inc. corporate HQ Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. 1001 2nd Street, Suite 325, in Napa
2.Open at your own risk
If you've opened a bag of Genetically Modified seed, you've agreed to the terms of the seed company's licensing agreement or contract - so read the small print. Those are two of the many warnings and highlights released by the Rural Advancement Foundational International in its Farmers' Guide to GMO Contracts.
The guide serves as a pocket-size complement to the Farmers' Guide to GMOs, a lengthier joint publication of RAFI and the Farmers' Legal Action Group. The brochure explains the terms of the Monsanto contract (Monsanto is one of the world's largest developers and manufacturers of GM seeds). Grassroots organizations are invited to distribute the brochure to their own constituencies and can add their contact information to a blank space on the back panel.
You can view the brochure at the RAFI's Web site (under the New Publications section), http://www.rafiusa.org.
3.Paper's position on GMO missed several points
By Stacie Lucas
Letters to the Editor, Record Bee, 21 October 2008
Your recent opinion piece expressing a pro-GMO stance and inferring that all who don't support the GMO industry are akin to the Inquisitors of the Middle Ages Church is ignorantly misleading at best. There is no better analogy to the oppression wreaked by the Church in the Middle Ages than the current GMO industry led by Monsanto.
Over the past few decades Monsanto has slowly tried to gain a monopoly over access to seeds much the same way the early church did over access to alternative approaches to understanding the universe. Monsanto has done this by bullying and intimidating anyone who has gotten in its way of making its patented seeds the only source of seeds for the farming industry. Monsanto is known by many farmers in this country as the secret "seed police." This seed police watches for opportunities to sue farmers for things that farmers have historically always done, like harvesting seeds from their current crops for next season's planting.
Monsanto has a track record of harassing independent-minded farmers in order to try to gain complete control over the use of seeds so that no one (Monsanto hopes) will be able to plant crops without first buying Monsanto's patented seeds. They have even sued farmers for unauthorized use of their patented seeds when Monsanto seeds have been blown by the wind or carried by small animals into a farmer's fields. We wouldn't characterize giant, profit-driven corporations such as Monsanto as progress-oriented benefactors of the human race.
Not only do GMO seeds put the sources of our food into a very small number of hands, they have a detrimental effect on our environment by encouraging the use of herbicides and pesticides. GMO plants often raise an herbicide or pesticide threshold limit, leaving native plants and animals at risk from herbicide- and pesticide-laden fields. Lastly, the health effects of using GMO crops has not been well studied and may be subtle, taking years of clinical studies to observe increases in cancer populations and other such heath risks. True progress is coming from the organic and biodynamic farming industry, where protecting native plants, animals, and soils is an important goal.
True progress lies in expanding native diversity, not imposing mono-culture "from above," which decimates the healthy diversity of the earth. So rather than likening GMO opponents to the anti-progress and stake-burning Church hierarchy of the Middle Ages, the Record Bee should take a look in the mirror.
Stacie and Clifford Lucas
Editor's Note: The Lake County Board of Supervisors approved a ban on GMO 3-2 in its Tuesday meeting. See story on the Record-Bee's home page [and below].
4.GE crops prohibited in county
By Tiffany Revelle
Record Bee, 21 October 2008
LAKEPORT -- Genetically engineered (GE) crops are prohibited in Lake County after a 3-2 vote by the Lake County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. Supervisors Rob Brown and Jeff Smith voted against the ban.
The vote came after three and a half hours of discussion. The board took input on both sides of the issue from farmers, business owners and representatives from the Lake County Farm Bureau, Lake County Agricultural Department, Lake County Sierra Club, Lakeport Regional Chamber of Commerce and California Certified Organic Farmers.
"This is not taking away anybody's rights. It's just to say if you want to use GE crops, you need to have a good reason why," Chairman Ed Robey said.
The board took supervisor Anthony Farrington's suggestions that certain items should be removed from the ordinance, including a jail term for violators, a claim that GE crops bring premium price in the market and a requirement that GE growers disclose their operations to the general public. Farrington also proposed that the ordinance sunset after a year, but the ordinance was adopted without a sunset. The ordinance allows the board to grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
Lake County Farm Bureau Executive Director Chuck March said the bureau stood firm in its five-year opposition to a ban on the crops.
Genetic engineering means "the use of recombinant DNA techniques to artificially introduce genetic material from another species to create a genome that does not exist in nature," according to the ordinance the board adopted.
"We believe the process for regulating the use of the crops is sufficiently overseen by the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture. This is the most heavily scrutinized food product in the world," March said.
Supervisors Robey, Farrington and Denise Rushing expressed concerns about improper regulation at the state and federal levels and about the need for more information about the use of biotechnology. Victoria Brandon of the Lake County Sierra Club echoed their concerns.
"At the present time, there is not enough understanding of the dangers, and it has not been proven safe to let (GE) organisms loose in the environment. That would have consequences not only for agriculture but ecologically as well," Brandon said.
March said the bureau had seen no proof that GE technology is unsafe.
"What you need to do is get out of our business," business owner Kenny Parlet said. Pear shed owner Toni Scully called the ban "a real backwards step for the development of agriculture, historically."
Brown said farmers should have the right to choose what crops to grow, and said he trusts the industry to regulate itself.
Smith agreed with Lakeport Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melissa Fulton that a work group should be formed to further revise the ordinance and come up with a compromise more appealing to people on both sides of the issue.
5.Hormones dwindling in milk
*Wal-Mart, Kroger among stores selling rBST-free product*
By STEVE TARTER
Journal Star, October 20 2008 [shortened]
PEORIA ”” Maybe the new slogan for milk should be "Got hormones?"
Increasingly, the answer is no as giant retailers like Wal-Mart and Kroger now only sell milk without the artificial growth hormone rBST.
The hormone, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1993, increases milk production in cows but has come under fire from critics who cited health risks.
About 18 percent of U.S. dairy cows receive the hormone, according to industry statistics.
"In selling rBST-free milk, we are providing our customers with the milk they've requested," said spokeswoman Caren Epstein for Wal-Mart, the nation's largest grocery retailer with more than 4,000 stores.
"I put a lot of pressure on Wal-Mart about milk," said Dr. Samuel Epstein, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, generally regarded as the leader in the fight against hormone-treated milk.
In his 2006 book, "What's in Your Milk," Epstein said rBST produced high levels of insulin growth factor 1, which has been linked to higher risks of breast, colon and prostate cancer.
"The evidence is unarguable. (The hormone) also creates a wide range of toxic effects on cows," he said.
Epstein said he submitted a petition to the FDA last year calling for the agency to withdraw the hormone from the market. "I've received no response," he said.
Fred Rosenbohm, a Peoria dairy farmer with 120 cows, has watched the hormone controversy for years. "When Monsanto brought it out, it was sold as a way to get cows to make more milk. A lot of people used it. We never used it. I thought my cows were doing fine," he said.
"We have a lot of tours here," said Rosenbohm of Linden Hill Farms, located near the Gen. Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport. "The first thing the mothers ask is whether we use hormones or not," he said.
"It's a consumer-driven product and people don't seem to want it," said Rosenbohm.
After years of marketing the hormone as Posilac, St. Louis-based Monsanto recently sold the product to Elanco, a division of Eli Lilly Co. Monsanto spokesman Darren Wallis denied that the company got tired of defending its position.