Once more, the big agricultural supplier Monsanto seems to have decided that the best way to keep its products selling is to control the flow of information and terrify potential critics with its legal muscle. In the past, Monsanto has sued dairies that tried to label their milk free of the recombinant bovine growth hormone it sold, which boosts cows' milk production, on the grounds that this "misled" consumers into thinking something was wrong with rBGH. When in doubt, rough up the farmer and keep the consumer in the dark.
Today, the New York Times reports that a group of agricultural scientists have complained to the EPA that Monsanto, Syngenta, and Pioneer Hi-Bred choke off research on their genetically engineered seed. Scientists cannot study insect resistance in these plants, for example, without the companies' permission.
As the Times notes, these are scientists who see value in genetic engineering. Yet they are still being bullied. I don't understand why these big companies cannot buy better public relations advice.
So, where is the political leadership in all this? Everything Monsanto does affects the commons. We all share this ecosystem. We have a right to know.Posted by Evelyn Hadden on February 20, 2009 at 4:39 am, in the category Ministry of Controversy.