by Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins
(This piece courtesy of the Organic Consumers Organization. To take action visit www.organicconsumers.org)
Don’t believe Monsanto’s greenwashing. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), aren’t meant to feed the world or survive the evermore frequent droughts and floods brought on by global warming – they’re designed to sell Monsanto’s patented Roundup resistant or Bt seeds and pesticides now spliced into millions of acres of corn, cotton, soy, canola, sugar beets and alfalfa.
A 2009 study showed that, over the last 13 years, Roundup Ready crops have increased herbicide use by 383 million pounds! In addition, once GM alfalfa and other Monsanto crops are planted in the open environment, they contaminate non-GMO and organic varieties as well as plant relatives. So if you are operating an organic dairy, feeding your cattle organic alfalfa, a nearby farm growing GMO alfalfa will almost inevitably contaminate your alfalfa fields, causing you to lose your organic certification.
During the Bush administration, the movement to stop GMOs was making progress. Reflecting public concern over GMOs, in 2007, a Federal court ruled that the Bush USDA’s approval of Roundup Ready alfalfa violated the law because it failed to analyze risks such as the contamination of conventional and organic alfalfa and the development of “super-weeds.” The court banned the planting of GM alfalfa until USDA completed a rigorous analysis of these impacts. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals twice affirmed the national ban on Roundup Ready alfalfa planting, but Monsanto is appealing. They’re taking producers of organic alfalfa seed all the way to the Supreme Court!
Barack Obama, despite promising us “change we can believe in,” is unfortunately turning out to be just as pro-GMO as the preceding Bush and Clinton administrations, packing the USDA and other government bureaucracies with Monsanto men and biotech cheerleaders such as former Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack, named “Biotech Governor of the Year” in 2001, now serving as USDA Secretary. Vilsack, notorious for flying around in a Monsanto company jet during one of his previous election campaigns, is now busy trying to get the court-ordered ban on Roundup Ready alfalfa lifted by issuing a new draft environmental impact statement (EIS) that denies or downplays the obvious environmental (genetic pollution and creation of herbicide-resistant superweeds) and human health hazards of GM alfalfa.
Alfalfa is the fourth most widely grown crop in the U.S. and a key source of dairy forage and hay. The first perennial crop to be genetically engineered, GM alfalfa can regenerate itself from its root-stock. It is open-pollinated by bees, which can cross-pollinate at distances of several miles, spreading Monsanto’s patented, foreign DNA to non-GMO and organic crops. Widespread GMO-contamination of organic alfalfa is inevitable if the Obama Administration successfully distorts science and ignores public opinion and allows Monsanto’s GM Roundup Ready alfalfa to be planted across the U.S. READ MORE at www.organicconsumers.org