Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Why Monsanto always wins.
The biotech industry plays hardball in Congress as well. One week before Roundup Ready alfalfa was deregulated, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack testified before the House Committee on Agriculture, where Chairmen Frank Lucas (R-Oklahoma) led a charge to press the USDA to fully deregulate the alfalfa. A political action committee and individuals associated with Monsanto donated $11,000 to Lucas' campaign last year, and Lucas has received $1,247,844 from the agribusiness industry during his political career, according to watchdog site Since 1999, the top 50 companies holding agricultural or food patents have spent more than $572 million in campaign contributions and lobbying efforts, according to a report released last year.

The USDA does invite the American public to weigh in on controversial issues like GE crops, and the CFS reports that, last spring, 200,000 people submitted letters "highly critical" of the department's draft conclusions on Roundup Ready alfalfa. "Clearly the USDA was not listening to the public or farmers but rather to just a handful of corporations," CFS Director Anthony Kimbrell said after Roundup Ready alfalfa was fully legalized. The public comments may have fallen on deaf ears, or perhaps they were just drowned out by the booming voice of a biotech industry that refuses to take no for an answer.

No comments: