My Beef with Monsanto’s GMO Alfalfa and Why They Get My Goat (or want to)

I’m not an opponent of GMO’s per se.  After all, from a literal perspective, all deliberate hybridization of flowers, fruits and vegetables is a kind of Genetic Modification.  It’s selective breeding of flora rather than fauna.  As a long time breeder of sled dogs, and now livestock, I understand hybrid vigor.  It’s much easier with animals than with plants, but the idea has the same potential.

Unfortunately, when it comes to cash and commodity crops, and now forage crops, we’re not talking about hybridization to build a better cantaloupe.  In its normal connotative usage, the phrase GMO is about creating pesticide resistant plants. 

The genes of a plant, let’s say Soy, are altered by inserting roundup resistance into the organism.  This is not selective breeding, it’s genetic manipulation.  And it’s kind of scary.

The technology and science is amazing.  The consequences are potentially horrifying.  For example, it is well documented that super weeds and pathogens are appearing as nature fights back against human chemistry.  This, in turn, will ultimately result in additional manipulations, stronger pesticides, more super weeds, etc.  Where will the cycle end? 

What the long term effects of GMOs on livestock and humans are is still anyone’s guess.  We need not worry, of course, because the laboratories of the big Pharmaceuticals are hard at work creating medicines and drugs to help us cope with whatever ill effects may arise.

A chilling report in 2001 indicates that the DNA of marketed soy did not match what had been sent to the labs for approval. There were additional inserts.  While these may or may not be harmful or even intentional (hmm…), the potential for abuse is obvious. For further research check out this publication, http://www.greenpeace.to/publications/Unidentified%20DNA%20-%20backgrounder.pdf.

In addition to soy beans, Monsanto’s GMO corn is widely used by farmers.  The potential issues are identical.  Since soy and corn are rotational crops in most places and are the most important ingredients in animal feeds as well as their prominence in the human diet, we should pay very close attention to what’s going on.  You’re eating this stuff and so are your children.

The potential problems are exacerbated by cross pollination with the non GMO crops of nearby farmers.  It’s impossible to keep the wind from blowing or bees from flying (though it looks like we’re trying hard to kill off all the bees, but we’ll save that rant for another day.), so the pollen from one field makes its way into another field and the corn or soy has hybridized babies.  Perhaps we could say, infected babies.

The non GMO farmer doesn’t want the cross pollination, but knows you can’t fight Mother Nature, so he/she deals with it.  Monsanto has figured out that while it’s not possible to fight nature it IS possible to patent it.  And this is where the moral outrage really begins.

Monsanto has legally, and rightfully, patented their GMO corn and soy.  There is nothing wrong with that.  They made it; they have a right to it (and to all its consequences).  In their contracts with farmers, the seed giant forbids their customers from saving seeds.  Again, perfectly legal, if not altogether occupying the moral high ground.  Farmers are intentional participants in the agreements. Caveat Emptor.  Not content, though, with the huge profits they make from the sales of their abyss born products, Monsanto has gone after farmers whose fields have been contaminated with their GMO pollen, demanding royalties/penalties and that the farmers cease and desist in saving their polluted seed.

I know you’re thinking, ‘so let them sue.  There’s no court in the land that would uphold such a claim.’

Common sense and every moral fiber in every civilized society of all time would think the same way; however, Monsanto has won multiple court cases enforcing their demands.  Some of these cases have gone all the way to the Supreme Courts in the USA and in Canada.

How can this be?  Simple. Follow the money.  From donations to Congressmen of both parties, to a Secretary of Agriculture with close ties to the company, to a Supreme Court with justices who represented them in the past, Monsanto’s fingerprints are all over the system.  It is corruption of the highest order.  And it goes virtually unnoticed, because agriculture flies way under the radar.  The company knows how few Americans pay any attention to food related issues other than what’s happening at the checkout register.  Monsanto also knows just how far their money goes inside the beltway and in State Governments all over the country.

Folks, they are patenting LIFE and not only patenting what their hands have produced, but are patenting its offspring.  We have crossed a moral line that man has no right to cross. 

Now Monsanto have turned their attention to Alfalfa. Earlier this year, Secretary Vilsack withdrew the Dept. of Agriculture objections to the introduction of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Alfalfa.  Holy cow, what have we done?

Alfalfa is hugely important to the dairy industry.  As the owner of a small herd of dairy goats and the occasional dairy cow, I know just how important alfalfa is to us.  We feed it to all our lactating animals. It has a high percentage of protein and is loaded with additional nutrients and micronutrients.  We don’t feed corn, so alfalfa is even more important to us than to grain fed dairies.

Alfalfa is wonderful nitrogen catcher.  It grabs the nitrogen from the atmosphere and plants it firmly into the soil beneath its feet.  It has none of the risks normally associated with soy, making it a great rotational option and fertility builder.  Oh, and since it’s a forage crop, alfalfa doesn’t particularly need to be weed resistant (Roundup Ready) and the fields don’t need to be sprayed.  Simply put a few goats or donkeys in the field after cutting and your weed problems are eliminated naturally. But again, I digress.

What is going to happen when this GMO alfalfa contaminates nearby farms? What will that mean? Is there going to be some long term benefit for Monsanto?  You can bet your last peso they’ve been looking down the road and see a pot of gold somewhere.  Perhaps it will be that they will introduce the suicide gene that will render an already poor reproducer even less sustainable, requiring more frequent replanting.  That makes some sense for the farmers using their product, but I can’t help but wonder if there is a more sinister end game.

For some time now there has been a persistent rumor that Monsanto wishes to apply for claim to the animals and meat from animals that ‘benefit’ from their products.  For example, if my pigs eat Monsanto corn, the company would be entitled to Royalties from the sale of said pig, or the pork products that come from the pig.  Don’t think it’s so farfetched. Remember they already stop farmers from saving seed from fields they’ve contaminated and they claim compensation from the sale of those seeds. The courts have upheld this outrage.

Track with me.  Let’s suppose the bought and paid for politicians and courts eventually allow the application for entitlement to products that ‘benefit’ from GMO alfalfa.  Monsanto would virtually control the food chain.  We know their alfalfa will contaminate nearby fields and they’ve already established precedence in the courts.  So if they can establish that my goats have been eating alfalfa that contains their genetic material, even if I didn’t sow it or want it, then they would have recourse to royalties or penalties from the milk, meat or sale of my goats. The prospect is beyond Orwellian, it’s Apocalyptic. 

On their website, The Monsanto Company vehemently denies this desire, but the denials reek of ‘methinks he doth protest too much’.  I have no confidence in an organization that has demonstrated the depth of depravity Monsanto already has shown. 

My ‘beef’ with Monsanto is that they profit from a vile from of immorality.  They have stacked the political and judicial system with their own purchased players who will enable them to use natural forces to first line their pockets and ultimately gain power over the food chain.  Be vigilant, America. Speak up. The Europeans see it.  India sees it.  Speak up? Heck, WAKE UP!

 

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2 thoughts on “My Beef with Monsanto’s GMO Alfalfa and Why They Get My Goat (or want to)

  1. I’ve had a fundamental dislike for Monsanto for years now ever since I learned of their GMO crop practices and attempts to patent animals that benefit from those crops… I wish more people could see the levels to which these greedy corporate-types will sink!

  2. I actually think this a fairly balanced approach to Monsanto, not GE, however. I believe that along with aquaponics and vertical farming techniques in urban areas, Genetically Engineered grains in rural areas with poly-culture will ensure the Malthusian trap isn’t tested. Genetically Engineered crops can be water, drought, and pest ect. resistant which will allow the survival of communities in drought and variable climate communities–as well as the food system in general. Anyways, the point about getting money out of politics is valid and must be addressed. Good post, look forward to more.

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