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Sunday, December 29, 2002

War on Food
Monsanto vs Food Supply

Subject: Thanks for comments
Date sent: Fri, 27 Dec 2002 00:29:58 EST

Thanks for the comments. The seed saving issue is something I have been
very passionate about and I am happy to have had the chance to inform more
people of it.

Here is a link which talks about Monsanto's "revolving door." that being,
many former Monsanto employees are now government officials and vice
versa. The list is by no means complete.

For example, even Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas worked for Monsanto,
though only briefly for a few years in the late 70's

However, when the Court ruled in favor of patents on seeds December 2001,
Thomas wrote the majority opinion, and I do not think it was a mere
coincidence that he happened to be the one to do so.

USDA Secretary Veneman used to work for Calgene, a company Monsanto
bought. And even our top lawman, Ashcroft, though not a direct Monsanto
employee, nevertheless did a Monsanto subsidiary, Searle at the time, a
monumental favor worth a few hundred million dollars by helping three
other legislators sneak in midnight legislation granting Searle a patent
extension on a popular drug.

I forgot to mention that when I first heard of GMO crops, I was enthused
about them. But when I heard we were losing exports to Europe because of
them and that Monsanto was prosecuting farmers for saving seed, I started
to wonder why we should be planting them.

So, I called up the National Corn Growers Association and asked them why
we planting GMOs. And, I didn't like what I heard. "Why, the Europeans
were just being hysterical and we have to educate them" I was told. Well,
that's not what I thought was a way to do business, I always thought that
one should provide what the customer wants.

A friend had told me about another corn growers organization, the American
Corn Growers Association, and said that it represented farmers better
because it had a policy of taking no corporate contributions. So, I talked
to the ACGA and I liked what I heard a lot better. It was concerned about
lost exports and so forth, and at least had an official neutral position
on GMOs, and tried to inform farmers of the problems associated with GMOs,
rather than to blindly promote them like the NCGA.

Anyway, I'm now on the ACGA board of directors.

Corporate contributions to farm organizations are a big problem and, as
such, some of our more prominent farm organizations aren't much more than
paid lobbyists for the big corporations. Some organizations, such as the
American Soybean Association, receive over a million dollars per in year
in contributions.

Moreover, Monsanto, Syngenta, etc., like to send state and national
leaders of these organizations on five day all-expense-paid trips to
company headquarters for leadership training (follow the corporate leader)
and then to DC so they can learn how to lobby (for the corporations).

It even gets worse. Monsanto has prosecuted over four hundred farmers in
the US for saving seed. Most settle out of court. Monsanto, not wanting to
look bad, gives the money to Farm Bureaum which it gladly takes. And
though it uses the money for scholarships, an honorable end, it still does
not justify taking the money.

Anyway, keep up the good work. Like a friend tells me, we'll just keep
fighting the good fight."

Best wishes,
David Dechant

posted by Vetzine


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