Hundreds of thousands people have united across the world to voice concern over the spread of GMO foods and crops and to raise awareness over the biotech giant Monsanto’s growing grip on the global food supply chain.
It was not only the fear of genetically modified organisms in foods that knows no boundaries. Activists on five continents around the globe, comprising of 52 nations joined the fight under the March against Monsanto umbrella.
Organized worldwide, peaceful family protests spoke out for the need to protect food supply, health, local farms and environment. Activists also sought to promote organic solutions to food production, while “exposing cronyism between big business and the government.”
With anti-GMO rallies having taken place in around 400 cities across the globe it’s still hard to estimate how many people participated in the event. Last year over 2 million people in 436 cities in 52 countries worldwide marched against the largest producer of genetically engineered seeds.
All the events were listed in an open document online, which made it easy for people to find the protest action nearest them.
The agrochemical giant Monsanto, founded in 1901, is often blamed for masterminding the majority of the pesticides and genetically engineered seeds used around the world.
The company's track record has been scrutinized after Monsanto aided US herbicide warfare during the Vietnam war. Agent Orange was manufactured for the US Department of Defense primarily by Monsanto Corporation, the use of which is estimated to have killed and maimed around 400,000 while causing birth defects for 500,000 children.
Scientific studies have linked the chemicals in Monsanto's pesticides to Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer’s disease, autism and cancer. Birth defects, organ damage, infant mortality, and sterility are just some of the side-effects GMO is believed to cause, as Monsanto exerts vast control over the seed industry.
Monsanto issued a response to Saturday's global marches claiming their commitment to food and agriculture.
“The 22,000 people of Monsanto are committed to having an open dialogue about food and agriculture – we’re proud of the work we do, and we’re eager for people to know more about us,” said Charla Lord, spokeswoman for Monsanto.
Monsanto says it is ready engage with farmers to save the environment and provide for health needs.
“We’re also proud of our collaboration with farmers and partnering organizations that help make a more balanced meal accessible for everyone. Our goal is to help farmers do this using fewer resources and having a smaller impact on the environment. We know people have different points of view on these topics, and it’s important that they’re able to express and share them.”
A statement that people in India will find difficult to accept as Monsanto controls about 95% of the cotton seed market trapping the country's small farmers in unpayable debt.
“284,000 farmers have committed suicide in India because of debt linked to seed and chemicals,” Vandana Shiva, an Indian environmental activist and anti-globalization author said.
“Monsanto have claimed more than 1500 climate resilient patents, and are hoping to use the climate crisis to make even bigger profits,” Shiva says claiming that “Monsanto wants super profits through total control over nature and humanity.”