Sunday, August 31, 2008


THEY’LL EAT ANYTHING: The outrage that is genetically modified organism (GMO) foods is surpassed only by added insults to the injuries perpetrated by Monsanto and other GMO purveyors.

And Kaua`i is the center of the “end of food” universe where the dastardly seeds of the bastardly owned and operated Pioneer and Sygenta are grown

The lack of scientifically verified safety by “federal regulators”- a term that’s all but a joke after 8 years of dismantling- is undebatable. There is none.

Rather they ask others to prove GMO’s are harmful- while rejecting the scientific evidence and ecology-based science that shows the harm- in a direct and absurd assault on the scientific precautionary principle that guides real scientists- as opposed to the pseudo-scientist shills hired by the GMO companies before they go one to work for the US Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture

We’re not just fed foods that have not been proven safe but are forbidden as consumers from finding out we’re eating the stuff by alowing GMO labling.

Even the premise of the industry is horrendous- the destruction of genetic diversity within a crop species alone is reason enough to forbid the ubiquitous spread of a single genetic strains.

But perhaps worse than the potential and real scientifically-based horrors of Frankenfood is the way Monsanto has invaded organic and even just non-GMO-crop-growing farms by not just intentionally destroying the genetic sanctity of their crops but then suing the farmers and taking away their farms after they have invaded them by spewing pollen from neighbors growing GMO crops.

Anyone who has read the papers, magazines and seen the TV reports and documentaries has been outraged by Monsanto’s actions in harassing farmers who want to use the traditional method of saving seeds from their harvest for the next year’s planting.

Monsanto’s agents have been shown stealing some of the crop, analyzing its DNA and claiming the farmers are growing Monsanto’s product after Monsanto conspired to spew their poisonous product on the sustainable, traditional-methodology farms.

When combined with the fact that Monsanto will not allow their GMO products to be replanted, causing farmers to have to buy all their seeds every year, this provides not just a recipe for disaster when the introduction of genetic diversity is eliminated, but insures that, if humans are to “feed the world” as GMO industry giants laughably claim is their goal, they will make money off every bite of food eaten by not just people but the domesticated animals we eat too.

Here on Kaua`i it’s almost impossible to grow corn on the Westside. We spoke to some people yesterday at the stop-GMO booth at the Kaua`i Farm Fair and found out for instance that Grove Farm will not lease ag land to anyone growing non-GMO corn, with a specific ban being part of every lease. Same goes for state controlled land and other ag land owners, especially on he Westside where the GMO seed corn is grown.

But a ray of hope is on the horizon.

The California legislature has passed a model bill that, if signed by the governor, will insure that Monsanto’s attempt to control our food future will, if not end, at least be controlled.

Bill number: AB 541, according to its Legislative Counsel's Digest says

Existing law provides that everyone is generally responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.

This bill would provide a protocol for obtaining and testing a crop sample to determine whether a contract has been breached or a patent on a genetically engineered plant has been infringed by a farmer who is planting, managing, or harvesting a crop, as specified. The bill would provide for agreed or court-ordered sampling, with provisions relating to notice to the parties of sampling and results, protective orders against intentional destruction or damage to crops, and fees for sampling by or under agreement with the Secretary of Food and Agriculture. The bill would provide that a farmer is not liable based on the presence or possession of a patented genetically engineered plant when the farmer did not knowingly buy or otherwise knowingly acquire the genetically engineered plant, acted in good faith and without knowledge of the genetically engineered nature of the plant, and when the genetically engineered plant is detected at a de minimis level, as specified. This bill would limit the applicability of its liability provision, as specified.

This bill would state the intent of the Legislature, as specified, in enacting this act.

That the Hawai`i state legislature could legally pass this bill is certain. It also appears that there is no state law forbidding the institution of this on a county level.

But just ask the local candidates what they would think about a ban on all GMO crops on Kaua`i and you’ll have to search long and hard to find anyone willing to even limit them.

The drumbeat of jobs jobs jobs jobs jobs for the Westside has never been a discriminating one.

The Navy’s missile range that makes us a nuclear target is the biggest Westside employer. The GMO corn seed growing operations- done here only because it would, by GMO proponents own claims, be too ecologically dangerous to do it near major population or farming communities on the mainland- makes sustainable agriculture a joke for the island,.especially on the unproductive-ag-land-rich Westside..

Yet those employed there think that because it puts a roof over their families’ heads and food on their families’ tables it doesn’t matter how horrendous their products are

We’ve asked before how bad it has to be for people to wake up. We’ve asked- not as facetiously as some may assume- whether if these people lived in Germany in the 1940’s they would cling to the jobs at the concentration camps because the economic benefit was too great.

But passing this law here on Kaua`i it isn’t going to happen if we keep electing people whose campaigns are funded by the seed companies and their supporters whose voodoo economic models are way too kow-towing to the wider business community.

Ask this year’s candidates about this bill and the Eco-Roundtable’s proposed ban on all growing of GMO products on the island. Their answers will certainly be indicative of whether they put the public interest over the special and private interests.


Katy said...

People interested in this should check out the new book "Red State Rebels." There is a fascinating essay about the very successful fight against GM wheat in North Dakota by family farmers, called "The New North Dakota Populists: The Red State Rebellioin Against Corporate Hegemony." Their efforts have paved the way for the California measure you mention.

Those North Dakota farmers are hardcore.

Kolea said...

The passages from the CA law look good, but only seem to prtect the farmers from being sued if the DNA infects their crop. What about their right to sue the GMO manufacturers if the GMO seed contamination causes economic damge to a farmer's non-GMO crop?

Organic produce has a higher market value than GMO produce, so "downwind" contamination of organic crops through careless "upwind" practices constitute a very real potential harm.

I believe the Hawaii legislture was hoodwinked into exempting GMO companies from the normal standards of civil liability a few years ago, though I wonder if such an exemption could withstand a legal challenge.

There is a need for organic farmers, united with consumers, to organize and demand the legislature protect our rights. In California, the huge rice industry is worried about damage to their crops due to GMO "contamination"-- toe Japanese market does not want GMO rice. SO they are a major agribusiness counterweight to ADM, Dow, and the other GMO prirates. Can the consumers and organic farmers band together here to exert enough influence?

Andy Parx said...

One of my thoughts is that even if it only stops the intimidation tactics of Monsanto it’s a good first step toward some restricting legislation and would at least spur discussion of the drift in the other direction. Do you have a link to the liability law Kolea?