by Danny Cross
You poison one little
French farmer and all hell breaks loose. Giant chemical-maker
Monsanto yesterday announced it plans to appeal a Monday ruling that one
of its herbicides in 2004 poisoned French farmer Paul Francois, who
says inhaling a Monsanto weedkiller led to “memory loss, headaches
and stammering”(coincidentally, these are the same symptoms of the
In addition to the French
farmer being pissed enough at the company for giving him a hangover
when he was trying to work his farmland, there are about a million
other people officially declaring themselves as against Monsanto via
“Millions Against Monsanto,” an organic consumers association
that campaigns for “health, justice, sustainability, peace and
democracy.” If you accept the possibility of Monsanto obstructing
even a majority of these five concepts, it’s easy to believe the
company has enemies from a lot of different backgrounds.
That’s why Monday’s
ruling by a French court finding Monsanto legally responsible for
poisoning Francois and ordering it to compensate him has enlivened a
bunch of angry activists.
Monsanto offers a wealth of content documenting the agricultural
biotechnology corporation’s government ties, tendencies to take
small dairies to court, refusal to compensate veterans for Agent
Orange and getting their nasty chemicals in normal people’s water
supplies. (Wikipedia is hilariously filled with references to things like dumping toxic waste in the UK, Indonesian bribing convictions and fines for false advertising.) Even 'ol boy Obama has gotten caught up in the mix with
charts like this one circulating on Facebook: The latest news out of
Millions Against Monsanto is the moving forward of a California ballot initiative to
require mandatory GMO labeling that polls show has 80 percent
support. According to the site:"A win for the California
Initiative would be a huge blow to biotech and a huge victory for
food activists. Monsanto and their minions have billions invested in
GMOs and they are willing to spend millions to defeat this
initiative. California is the 8th largest economy in the world.
Labeling laws in CA will affect packaging and ingredient decisions
nation-wide. The bill has been carefully written to ensure that it
will not increase costs to consumers or producers."
Back in France, our
friendly farmer will have to wait a while for whatever compensation
poisoning amounts to, as Monsanto says it will appeal the ruling.
According to The Washington Post: Monsanto spokesman Tom Helscher
says the company does not think there is “sufficient data” to
demonstrate a link between the use of Lasso herbicide and the
symptoms Francois reported.
"We do not agree any
injury was accidentally caused nor did the company intentionally
permit injury," Helscher said. "Lasso herbicide was ... successfully used by farmers
on millions of hectares around the world."