‘No Monsanto!’: World marches against GMO food
People hold signs during one of many worldwide “March Against Monsanto” protests against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and agro-chemicals, in Los Angeles, California October 12, 2013. (Reuters / Lucy Nicholson)
Thousands took to streets across the world’s cities on Saturday to protest the use of GMO products, with Giant Monsanto being the main target. Over 50 countries have been taking part in the march for world food day, and across 47 different US states.
Berlin, Strasbourg, Chicago, London, Sydney and Mumbai are just a few of the 500 cities worldwide involved in the rallies, with each one drawing hundreds.
The demonstrators have been calling for the permanent boycott of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and “other harmful agro-chemicals,” according to March Against Monsanto’s official webpage. Protesters wielded large banners denouncing GMO products, and donned fancy dress: In Washington DC a group dressed as bees to highlight the impact of insecticides on bee populations.
Protesters in Washington told RT’s Anissa Naouai that Monsanto lobbyists were hard at work even though the government was shut down. March organizers also said that Saturday’s event was just the beginning, and that the momentum for the protests would build.
The rallies come four days ahead of World Food Day on Oct. 16 and are a direct attack on what the organizers term Monsanto’s “predatory business,” genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other harmful pesticides, which threaten “health, fertility and longevity.”
In Berlin, people expressed displeasure at the food giant for a number of reasons, ranging from long-term health concerns to the chemicals used in Monsanto products.
“There a Smartstax corn that Monsanto has made…it is a corn that resists six different types of herbicide, so you can spray it with six different chemicals and it won’t die,” Heidi Ostermannm, a nutritionist participating in the Berlin march told RT.
“It also produces two insecticides in its own kernels and you can’t wash it off – I don’t even know if technically that’s food. In my mind as a nutritionist, that’s no longer food,” she said.
Dietrich Wittel, vice president of the True Food Foundation cited experiments conducted on rats, bringing a large poster with him showing the tumors suffered by the animals subject to being fed Monsanto corn.
“There are subtle signs of organ damage even in 90 days. But in two years, the lifetime of a rat is shortened – they have massive organ damage, massive breast tumors in the female rats, and that is really, really frightening,” he said, going on to discuss the effects on larger animals.
“Recently, a study from Australia has shown that pigs that are fed these corn products get massive stomach ulcers…. we have a much longer lifespan that a rat. If we are waiting for cancer to show as a result of GMOs, we’ve got to wait,” he said.
October is a particularly significant month for US protesters, as Agent Orange Awareness Month is being promoted by the Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance (COVVHA).
“Monsanto was one of the seven chemical companies who manufactured Agent Orange which was laced with one of the most deadly chemicals known to man, dioxin. Monsanto, the other six companies, and the U.S. government, are responsible for the slow burn genocide of Vietnam Veterans, their children and grandchildren,” March Against Monsanto alleged.
A previous anti-Monsanto protest was held in May. It started as a small event, but turned into a global campaign with over 2 million people in 436 cities, across 52 countries, joining the rallies.