Monsanto just wants to help poor people gain access to food, and all opponents to the GMO-infused crops are merely elitists. No, I have not been drinking while writing, nor do I think the statement is the least bit accurate; yet the sentiment is exactly what Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant wants the American people to believe.
The mega-biotech company is apparently trying to turn the negative press coverage about their pesticide resistant crops into a new direction. During an interview with Bloomberg News, Hugh Grant states that those who loathe GMOs are simply not at all concerned about poor folks from around the world. According to the Monsanto CEO, the staunch opposition to genetically engineered crops (which have been potentially linked to a whole host of health problems and developmental issues) is stopping the poor from garnering access to cheaper food. Grant went on to indicate that the attempts to thwart increased GMO crop production are thwarting efforts to feed the poor.
The Monsanto CEO’s comments sound a lot like a snippet from a Barack Obama speech. The similar mindset is not likely just a coincidence. President Obama has appointed a plethora of Monsanto executives to influential agriculture positions. Although Michelle Obama reportedly has only organic food stocked in the White House pantry, the rest of America is forced to search high and low for affordable non-GMO produce.
The elitist attitude stems not from those who do not want to ingest genetically engineered crops, but from those who think the rest of us will be just fine eating cheap pesticide-resistant food while they munch on pricey organic carrots for lunch themselves.
The Monsanto CEO also had this to say during the interview about GMO opponents:
“There is this strange kind of reverse elitism: If I’m going to do this, then everything else shouldn’t exist. There is space in the supermarket shelf for all of us. I’d feel a whole lot better if it was marinated a little on where is that extra chicken going to come from or who is going to grow the new bushel. This place is getting busier and more crowded,” Grant said. “As long as you’ve got money in your back pocket and you drive your station wagon to the supermarket on weekends, then it’s out of sight out of mind, so far. I think we’re going to look back on this period and say, ‘How on earth did that ever become the fight that it became.’”
Hugh Grant’s prediction is delusional at best. Numerous reports about the decline in American farming, closing organic farms in both the Midwest and the Rocky Mountain states, clearly illustrate the impact GMO crops are having on the agriculture industry. Since the mid-1990s, a total of five mega-biotech companies have virtually seized control of agribusiness – and by extension, our food supply. Consumables from China and GMO crops have invaded the grocery store shelves at an alarming rate.
Secret Garden of Survival author and homesteading expert Rick Austin had this to say when asked about Grant’s elitist comments by Off The Grid News:
“Right, while his company makes billions in the USA alone, and creates a monopoly to control the world’s food supply. While at the same time suing small farmers who don’t use their products to put them out of business.”
Growing and raising your own food or trading with those who do, are rapidly becoming our only options to put healthy food on the table. Shopping at local organic stores or farmers markets are also great places to purchase fresh and healthy produce – but for how much longer? It is nearly impossible to walk into a garden center or farm supply store and find heirloom seeds, thanks to companies like Monsanto. The shrinking number of organic farms/stores and family farmers further erodes the chances of finding an affordable alternative to GMO produce.
Genetically modified crops opponents frequently questions reports from agencies such as the National Research Council. With so many former Monsanto executives and attorneys now in positions of authority at governmental agencies, it is no wonder the validity of health studies are called into question. The majority of such studies defy common sense and claim that pesticide-resistant crops and GMOs do not pose any more health risks than when conventional growing techniques are used.
The US Department of Agriculture recently decided to initiate an environmental impact statement of herbicide-tolerant crops instead of a more brief study; perhaps the federal agency has finally and begrudgingly decided to listen to agriculture and environmental experts about GMO dangers. More than 400,000 Americans recently signed a petition in opposition of Dow Chemical’s 2,4-D tolerant soybeans and corn. The petition, along with 31,000 form letters opposing Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybeans, were presented to the USDA.
The Monsanto CEO also claims that GMO crops will help farmers meet the rising food supply demand. The GMO crops have been blamed by some agriculture experts for reducing the bee colony population. Good luck getting a strong crop yield with bee pollination. Grant stated that genetically engineered crops withstand herbicide, tolerate disease and kill insects. The Monsanto executive actually tried to make killing insects sounds like a positive thing. No one wants bug bites on their tomato plants, but all insects perform a vital role in nature, killing even pesky mosquitoes off will have a negative impact.
Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources Professor Charles Benbrook feels that while GMO crops may make farmers jobs easier, they also increase American’s expose to chemicals, some of which have been linked to reproductive problems. Dow Chemical’s 2,4-D is among the chemicals used in GMO crops which have reportedly been linked to reproductive issues.
Professor Benbrook also had this to say about genetically modified crops:
“Most of the people that become motivated to engage the political issues have become convinced that going down the road of genetically engineered foods is not the way to meet the needs of a food insecure population.”
Benbrook has authored multiple studies opposing Monsanto and Dow Chemical crops approvals. Despite the mounting and vocal opposition to GMO crops, Hugh Grant still feels confident that the USDA will ultimately see things his way. He feels that dicamba-tolerant crops will garner USDA approval by “mid-decade” which fits in with the existing Monsanto production timeline. Grant also feels that USDA scientists will review the request “objectively.” The Monsanto CEO believes that since the US has a “systems that works” pesticide-resistant crop usage will continue. If America still truly has a system that works, citizens will remain vocal and push the USDA to terminate the production of GMO crops.